How to: Pack Just the Right Amount for Vacation

Are you the person with 4 large suitcases on your trip, or are you a ruthless minimalist when packing your bags?  Packing just the right amount - not too much and not too little - is part art and part science. In this video, I'll share some smart packing tips and gadgets that might get you thinking...

Packing for a long trip is part art and part science.

Pack too much, and you’ll be burdened by heavy bags and have no room for souvenirs at the end. But pack too little, and you’ll be missing your essentials.

But here’s the thing: you can almost always buy what you need on-site. So my philosophy is that less is more.

Luggage within your luggage.

One of my favorite packing hacks is to pack a duffel bag in my luggage. When you’ve collected things along the way, you can take the duffel bag out of your main suitcase and use it as your carry-on on your way home.

Compression bags: your new best friend.

And my single favorite packing item is also super affordable: compression bags! Now, they’re not sexy, fashionable, or cool, but they are SUPER-HELPFUL!

I made another video in this blog on how to use a vacuum-sealed compression bag for packing your luggage. Check it out!

Stay plugged in with an adapater

I also never travel abroad without my universal power adapter, which allows you to use any electronic device in any country.

 Gilchrist & Soames is my  favorite  brand of hotel toiletries! Freshly scented and environmentally-friendly. I get unreasonably excited when I see these bottles in a hotel room. (toiletries courtesy  Tambo del Inka Resort & Spa )

Gilchrist & Soames is my favorite brand of hotel toiletries! Freshly scented and environmentally-friendly. I get unreasonably excited when I see these bottles in a hotel room. (toiletries courtesy Tambo del Inka Resort & Spa)

Toiletries & Haircare: bring your own or use hotel toiletries?

When it comes to toiletries, I prefer to use the good stuff from the hotels. But if you’re particular about your haircare regimen, either pack small amounts of your preferred brand or buy it locally when you arrive. I got an assortment of 5 bottles in the dollar section of Target. They comply with the TSA’s 3oz rule and are reusable, so they don’t harm the environment. I’ll usually pack a small amount of shampoo, conditioner, and liquid body soap, just in case I don’t like the hotel’s toiletries.

Pack around a single color palette

When it comes to your clothes, choose a neutral color palette, and choose just one shade - like brown or black - and then build your wardrobe around that. Then you can add in pops of color with your accessories - or better yet, go to local artisan markets and buy colorful unique accessories like jewelry, scarves, and other textiles. It’s a great way to support the local communities and get some cool stuff for your own closet!

 I love the subtle rainbow of colors in these super-soft alpaca scarves from an artisan market in Peru. They'd complement almost any outfit!

I love the subtle rainbow of colors in these super-soft alpaca scarves from an artisan market in Peru. They'd complement almost any outfit!

Trust me, you won’t even want to wear the stuff you brought from home. I even got my favorite, super-soft, warm, and comfy alpaca sweater there, which I enjoyed mixing and matching with my other pieces.

The single most-important item for people who overpack

And of course, don’t forget your luggage scale! As I’ve previously mentioned, it is super-helpful for those of us who tend to overpack. Just put it in your luggage so that you can weigh bags before you head back home - it sure beats stepping on and off the bathroom scale!

So clearly, I LOVE smart packing ideas! And I’d be interested to know your favorite travel hack. Leave a comment and let me know your best packing tip!