As I sit here taking the 11 minutes that may be required to pack my bags for Chicago this weekend, I reminisce on all the people in the past two weeks I have helped with their packing woes. Then I think about how I traveled for 17 days through Asia with just 14lbs with me. It is a HELL of a juxtaposition because some of my friends don’t know how to pack under the 50lbs for a checked bag maximum – nonetheless JUST a carry-on.
This has all lead me to one conclusion: you people can’t pack properly because you’re too vain.
VANITY. This is what keeps many of you from packing properly. In the age of Snapchat, Instagram and now Facebook stories (I guess?) you need to have a different outfit for every one of those selfies. Your contour has to be perfect. Your fitted has to match your shoes. Heaven forbid you get seen in the same pair of shorts twice in a week right? No. Stop it. You’re being ridiculous, but I’ll get back to that.
Packing lighter can make your trip both cheaper and less frustrating. I understand if you are going for just one week to Cuba, you can pack that 50lb checked-in bag and it will sit in your room the whole time so it really isn’t a nuisance. But for those traveling to multiple countries in one trip, why put yourself through that?
In 2015 my friends and I did Madrid, Barcelona, Athens, Santorini, Venice and Pula in one trip. If only I could have been a bit smarter then, oh how I wish. We ALL traveled with a carry-on and a 50lb checked in bag. Do you know how shitty it is to be lost on the narrow streets of Barcelona in 28 degree heat and pulling 50lbs with you? It sucked. On top of that, although we were lucky enough to get very good prices for airfare within Europe, it would have been cheaper if we didn’t have to pay for the checked in luggage.
I learned my lesson from this trip and when I went to Shanghai, Bali, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore this past December I carried with me a large 3lb ‘personal item’ bag and my 11lb waterproof carry-on bag. 14lbs all together for 17 days of shenanigans. And you know what? It was more than enough.
My personal bag had: tablet, charger, phone, charger, electricity converter, portable charger, passport, four currencies of money, hand sanitizer, a pen, chapstick, 3 allergy pills and my headphones.
My carry-on had: two pairs of denim shorts, one dress, two sandals, three bikinis, two tanks, two tops, a sarong, a purse, two sunglasses, undergarments, small toiletries and Melatonin and Malaria pills and a deflating pillow.
14lbs. That was all I needed. While traveling I had a pair of leggings on with a hoodie and a long sleeve shirt (airplanes are cold, Shanghai wasn’t warm) and my comfiest pair of running shoes. The heaviest items I wore while flying to avoid packing them and to be warm on the 13 hour flight across the world.
When packing all I thought about was; what was the lightest option for moving around easily, saving time not having to check in or wait for bags after landing and the smaller cost for not having to pay for a checked in bag for flights within Asia. What never crossed my mind was how I’d look in some repeated outfits or without every single piece of makeup I own.
This is where I come back to my original point of vanity being a lot of your issues with packing. You worry too much about: what if I don’t have this? what if I have to go out? what if someone sees me twice in same outfit? what if something gets dirty?
You’ll manage. I promise.
Unless it is an absolute necessity, you will find another one of whatever piece of clothing is needed when you travel. (probably for cheaper too) If you’re going out you can wear your shorts with a nice top. If someone sees you in the same outfit twice, it won’t be the end of the world. If it gets dirty, then pay the small fee in many countries to have it washed. When I was in Bali, after a week of sweating and being in my clothes I got all of my items washed for $6 to wear for the next leg of my trip. It is doable.
Also to the ladies, you do NOT need to bring your 36 pieces of makeup on a trip to a hot place. In reality, you don’t have to bring that on a trip anywhere, but especially when it is going to be hot every day and you’ll be sweating and going swimming. Makeup is heavy and will take up all your room if you let it. I’m not saying don’t bring any, but your massive contouring kits are really uncalled for.
This also goes for men and shoes, wear the shoes you will be traveling in (pick black ones, just in case) and then your sandals. There is no need for you to have 4-5 pairs of Air Max in your bag, if you don’t match once or twice with your fitted I promise it won’t be the end of the world either.
This is what I want you to think about next time you are packing and that vanity starts creeping into your head. Would you rather have a different outfit and pose in front of Scarborough Town Center OR have a similar top on in two pictures but those are at the Vatican and at the Parthenon? No one cares that you’re wearing the same top twice in those pictures, the whole point is you’re glowing because you’re on vacation and you’re somewhere that many people wish they could one day see too.
Switch to lighter travel everyone. You will not regret it and will realize how ridiculous you were lugging around massive bags or paying overage fees and how how much quicker your time in airports is.