I’m in awe of people who travel light, and travel easy. They have it all down to a science: They easily manage with a carry-on (no matter how long a trip they’re taking). And they always look great and seem to have just the right things. These are usually the same people who are able to close their eyes and sleep for the entire flight, arriving refreshed and ready to go.
I’m so envious.
Although I do love to travel, it’s just not that simple for me. I like to think that I can pick up and go, be flexible, adapt to any situation. But my anxiety begins long before I have to leave. It used to be about flying…but I’m pretty much resigned to that fear.
Something has taken its place: Fear of Packing.
Attempting to figure out ahead of time what I’ll need – never mind what I will actually be in the mood to wear (yes, I dress for my many moods!)- fills me with dread. I know, I know. First-world problems. But still.
My husband travels a lot more than I do and is always so damned organized about it. He insists that all I need is a list. But he’s definitely more a list kind of guy while I’m more of a seat-of-my-pants kind of gal. Besides, whenever I do manage to make a list, I never stick to it, anyway. I sneak things in, thinking “I might need this!” or “I can’t leave this outfit behind!” This sounds ridiculous, I know. I mean, so what? Will it really make a difference?
Anyway, I could go on and on about the reasons why it’s so hard to pack, but I have a strong suspicion, according to my unofficial research of commiserating with friends, that many of you can identify.
My most recent travels took me on a Viking River Cruise through the beautiful Douro River Valley in Portugal. I knew ahead of time that I’d be staying in a small room, and there’d be limited space to store both my clothing and stash my suitcase. There’d be no room to sneak in those extra outfits that I probably would never get a chance to wear, anyway. It also didn’t help that we found it while looking at some last minute cruises so I didn’t have as much time to prepare as it would have liked!
It was finally time to approach this strategically.
News Flash! I’ve finally figured out some ways of approaching it that will help eliminate some stress.
1.Repeat outfits and add variations. Some people don’t like to wear the same thing over and over, but it’s an essential part of traveling (and not necessarily a negative one). And, if you actually like what you’re wearing, you won’t mind wearing it more than once, anyway. Pack pieces that all coordinate with each other, and stick to one or two colors (my go-to is usually black and tan; a no-brainer). By switching pieces and adding accessories, you won’t get bored, because the outfit will always have a slight variation to it. That variation can be as simple as adding a fun piece of jewelry, a scarf, or a light wrap.
2. Consider your essentials. We all have them. They’re those things that allow both function and fashion. Jeans are one example; they can be worn during the day with a casual shirt and sneakers or at night layered with a “statement” top (or even a dress). And you can wear jeans a bunch of times without having to launder them (unless you clumsily spill a glass of red wine or something equally stain-inducing). Another one of my go-to’s is black leggings. You can never go wrong with these, day or night. It may also be a good idea to pack some midi dresses from brands like Shoshanna dress as they might look chic when you pose for a picture.
3. Look for durable, quick drying light fabrics. I always like to stay ahead of the dreaded piles of dirty laundry by washing out my clothing as I go. It’s not always easy to do this, though, since so many things are not hand washable and if they are, they don’t dry quickly. After many years of searching, I’ve finally found a fantastic line of travel clothing that fits the bill. I’m absolutely smitten with Anatomie. The fit is fantastic, the tailoring superb, and the styles, with their European flair, are beautiful and flattering.
As part of my research, Anatomie was kind enough to supply me with four fabulously functional pieces to bring along on my trip. It was love-at-first-wear. I wore them repeatedly, never got tired of wearing them, rinsed them out at night (and to my delight, they were bone dry and ready to go the next morning). And, they pack down to nothing. Two pair of pants weigh less than – get this! – a banana, and you can easily pack eight assorted pieces into a small packing cube.
If you’d like to learn more, check out their website, or follow them on Instagram. And then, when you, too, fall in love, go over and visit GettingOnTravel to enter to win a pair of their fabulous cargo pants (a retail value of $225).
4. Dress in layers. Like some people’s moods, weather can be unpredictable, and unreliable as well. Be prepared for anything. One day in Portugal, the sun was super-strong, while the next, the cold rain whipped at our (now)-sunburned faces. And temps can easily drop 20 degrees at night. Easy and non-bulky layering can be achieved with things like a thin sweater, a vest, a scarf and a windbreaker or raincoat. (And speaking of sun, throw in some sunblock while you’re at it; this one from Neutrogena comes in a small stick and is especially handy.)
5. Bring comfy shoes. Travel equals a lot of walking, and as you know, if your feet hurt, all bets are off you’ll be a happy sole, er, soul. This is no time for fancy heels or stilettos. (Actually, those times are extremely limited for me, lately. You too?).
Sneakers are another essential, and I’m so happy the manufacturers have finally figured out how to make them fun and pretty while still keeping them comfy. For daytime, I packed a pair of sturdy walking sneakers that would get me through the cobbled ancient streets, like these lightweight but sturdy and cool-looking pair from Vionic.
PS. If you covet these Vionic sneakers, guess what? The nice folks at Vionic are offering one pair to a lucky reader! Just leave a comment below, including your color choice (grey or black) and size (6-10). A name will be chosen at random, and you’ll be notified by email for your mailing address. (I must hear back from you within 24 hours, or another lucky winner will be chosen.) This contest is only open to U.S.residents, and closes at midnight, 6/14/17.
(And lastly, the necessary disclosures: I am an Amazon and Anatomie affiliate, meaning I get a very small percentage of any sales generated by this post. And, my wonderful trip was sponsored by Viking. But please note: All opinions are strictly my own.)