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In Favor of Packing Light

Baggage. We’ve all got some. Maybe more than we’d like to admit.

And leaving it behind can be a real a challenge for a lot of us. But I’m a big advocate for regularly clearing out anything that no longer serves its purpose…especially when traveling. Whether you’re going on vacation or on a business trip, overpacking can often lead to disorganization and stress, and leaves less room for spontaneity.

Packing light, on the other hand, means that you carry a smaller burden, both literally and figuratively. Having fewer belongings in tow can help relieve excess mental baggage. A more streamlined suitcase also helps to save time while getting ready and leaves a little extra space for whatever you’d like to bring back from your trip. (I also find that it’s easier on the muscles, but you can ignore this if you’re a body builder or can afford to hire one.)

When packing for a trip, it’s best to stick to the essentials, or the things you will need to make your trip possible. Look at your itinerary and check out the weather, how long you will be staying, what places you will be going to, and the activities you will be doing. This information will dictate what items you will need, and help you avoid packing for “just in case” scenarios. Here are a few general tips to help make packing light and easy:

Clothes: You don’t necessarily need a whole new outfit for each day you will be away. Pack clothes in colors and fabrics that are easy to mix and match, and are versatile enough to work for different activities. For example, flowy, button-down shirts are easy to stash, and are appropriate for both work and play. It’s also a good idea to take lightweight layers in case the weather changes from day to night, and in air conditioned areas.

Accessories: Accessories, like scarves or jewelry, don’t take much weight or space, and are the easiest way to change up outfits you’ve already worn. Shoes can make the biggest difference to a simple outfit, so pack a few pairs. I like to go for chic ballet flats, sneakers, and either sandals or boots, depending on the weather.

Underwear: Since this is a “just in case” that I think can be justified, pack one or two extra pairs of underwear. It’s light enough that it shouldn’t make a difference, and you are not likely to regret having a couple backups.

Toiletries and Makeup: If you wear makeup, streamline your collection to the things you can’t live without. You can improvise by skimping on foundation and just using concealer, and going for double-duty lip/cheek products. In terms of toiletries, most things are pretty easy to find at most destinations, whether you are staying in a hotel, an Airbnb, or with a friend. Stick to what you know you will need, such as an acne treatment, and get the rest at your destination.

Electronics: We live in a day and age where it can be hard, sometimes impossible, to go without technology. If you need these with you, pack your phone, camera, and laptop/tablet. Don’t forget each of their chargers, plus a travel adapter.

Medications: Any necessary medications should definitely be packed, and taken with you in your carry-on luggage.

While what you pack will vary based on your personal preferences and what your trip will entail, challenging yourself to leave any “just in case” items behind in favor of packing light might change the way you travel for good.

Words by Tatiana Elghossain
 // Photography by Ashley Sharma.

© 2015 Reef Magazine


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