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Travel Light: Packing Tips

Updated on August 15, 2015
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Who needs a suitcase?

I know that I most certainly don't. Thanks to the knowledge gained from Caroline, a friend of mine who is a fashion editor, I can go on a trip of several days with no suitcase, just my regular handbag.

At one time, I'd be terribly disorganised when packing for a vacation, trip or getaway. I'd take so many clothes 'just in case'. And I'd arrive back home with half - or even more - of the items unworn.

The secret, says Caroline, is to choose a colour palette and stick to it. Below, you can see that one of my favourite colour schemes includes black, white, cream, beige and orange. All these colours go well together. If I added a green garment, or a pink one, that would coordinate with some items but not with others.

The aim is to be able to wear anyone garment with any of the others.And as always, it's the accessories that really liven up the outfits.What do you think? Could you go away for a weekend or longer with just your daily handbag? Or do you have packing tips? Let me know in the comments section below.

Images © BritFlorida.

Here's where I start to pack

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I begin with just eight items. (Shown in the image above) They are:

  • Pair black pants / trousers
  • Black top
  • Beige top (long sleeves)
  • White top
  • Sarong
  • Wide black belt
  • Two coordinating necklaces

Almost everything else I need is already in my bag. Read on.

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Get ready to roll

To pack, spread out the sarong or shawl on the flat surface, such as the bed. (It may need folding in half lengthways depending on the size).Lay the clothes items, neatly folded,on top. Add the necklace and underwear. The only thing to omit is the large, wide belt.

Now neatly fold the long edges of the sarong over the clothes. Carefully roll up the sarong with the garments inside it. When the whole thing is halfway rolled, tuck in the edges. (Imagine you're making sushi, cabbage rolls or sandwich wraps).

This only takes a few minutes to do so packing is quick and easy, especially as everything else I need is already in my bag. There'll be no waiting at that horrible, dreadful luggage carousel at the airport, my 'luggage' is lightweight too.Secure the sarong 'sausage' with the belt.

Just a few of the outfits I can create with these

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Black pants with beige top and black belt. Perfect for a restaurant lunch or sightseeingBoth black garments with the sarong as a shawl. Great for dining out in the eveningThe white top worn over the beige one. Good for cooler days or eveningsThe sarong worn as a skirt. Any of the tops can be worn with this.The top shown is long so can be worn as a mini dress or beach cover-upThe necklace is long enough to be worn as a beltThe sarong as a top. This can be worn as a dress too, or used as a beach cover-up
Black pants with beige top and black belt. Perfect for a restaurant lunch or sightseeing
Black pants with beige top and black belt. Perfect for a restaurant lunch or sightseeing | Source
Both black garments with the sarong as a shawl. Great for dining out in the evening
Both black garments with the sarong as a shawl. Great for dining out in the evening
The white top worn over the beige one. Good for cooler days or evenings
The white top worn over the beige one. Good for cooler days or evenings
The sarong worn as a skirt. Any of the tops can be worn with this.The top shown is long so can be worn as a mini dress or beach cover-up
The sarong worn as a skirt. Any of the tops can be worn with this.The top shown is long so can be worn as a mini dress or beach cover-up
The necklace is long enough to be worn as a belt
The necklace is long enough to be worn as a belt
The sarong as a top. This can be worn as a dress too, or used as a beach cover-up
The sarong as a top. This can be worn as a dress too, or used as a beach cover-up
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In my bag

My mum brought me up to believe that the contents of a woman's handbag was a very personal thing. And here I am, baring all.

But these are items I keep in my bag at all times (you never know what might happen) and they take up very little room. You can see more detail here.There's still space to add a couple of extra items depending on your destination such as a bikini or sleepwear (although when travelling light,sleeping in your birthday suit makes sense.

You can always use the sarong as an emergency cover-up if room service are bringing breakfast).The first image shows everything - note the makeup bag on the bottom left; the contents are shown in the second photograph.

Incidentally, the makeup bag is nice enough to be used as a clutch when I don't want to carry the larger bag.

Do you recognise the third image? It's a ponytail elastic with a knot tied in the middle. Why? Scroll up and look at the outfit featuring the sarong. Thread two sarong ends through the two loops to keep your sarong in place.Finally, the last image shows that I sit my 'sausage roll' in between the handles of my shoulder bag.

That's all I need to go away for several nights.

This bag is ideal

Scarleton Large Satchel H106801 - Black
Scarleton Large Satchel H106801 - Black

It has a great vintage look and is very roomy. It's not leather, it's synthetic so fine if you don't buy leather for humane reasons.It has a detachable shoulder strap too. Note that it has an outer pocket 'for cellphones' but I prefer to keep my phone safety in the interior. It's a handy compartment though. If you have an iPad, this bag is the perfect size. Recommended.

 

But there's more

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This is an example of the clothes I'd wear to travel.

Simple blue jeans, a light burnt-orange t-shirt and an orange cardigan. (It looks a little more pink in the photograph than it really is - it matches really well with the sarong).Note too the cream and black woven belt and the cream/ bronze bracelet.

All these items coordinate with the garments in my 'sausage' (and the sausage itself).Any of the tops I have with me will go well with the jeans either loose or tucked in to create different looks - or I can wear a combination, for example, the white top with the cardigan over it. I can create a simple halter top from the sarong that also looks good with jeans.

The additional bracelet and belt will give a new look to any of the outfits above.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Source

But what about shoes?

Nine West Women's Ancy Flip Flop
Nine West Women's Ancy Flip Flop

After a lot of experimentation over the years, I've realised that the best shoes for a warm-weather vacation or a cruise are flip-flops with wedge or platform soles.

They are comfortable, easy to walk in and yet the height makes them elegant enough for an evening in a good restaurant.

 

More great travel products

Caroline (and this is her big secret) swears by disposable panties.

She says they are handy at home too for 'emergencies' - I haven't delved further into this.

I am absolutely devoted to the Swiss Army card you see below. This is a newer model than mine - it has an LED light (brilliant idea). I use mine at home almost every day but it's ideal for travelling. It makes a great gift too. It's the size of a credit card, just a fraction thicker.

If I'm going to be staying in a hotel, then I'm happy to use the toiletries provided. I also sometimes buy the mini products that you can get at K-Mart and Target.

Caroline though, as a perk of her job, gets free luxury creams and perfumes so she decants just enough for her trip into a few of the bottles you see below.

This is a fabulous item to keep in your purse. It's not just for travelling, you'll use it all the time.

© 2014 Jackie Jackson

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    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @kalinin1158 - husbands are always a problem :) Isn't it funny how men usually say that it's the girls who pack too much but they are usually much worse - mine is!

    • kalinin1158 profile image

      Lana Adler 3 years ago from California

      I applaud you! To me, traveling light is a way to go, I hate having a huge suitcase everywhere I go, but traveling with my husband, I don't think there is a way around that!

      We just came back from a 10-day trip (12 if you count the transit), and he had 14 (because you need 2 extra for 'emergencies'...yeah...) t-shirts, 14 pairs of socks (which he barely wore because we were at the BEACH most of the time), 7-10 shirts and 14 pairs of underwear. I used to fight with him about it, but I just gave up... Just pack whatever you want, since you're the one rolling that big bag anyway...

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      Thanks @heidithorne! I totally HATE checking in luggage.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Like you, I try to avoid checking luggage at all costs and have, so far, been successful except for maybe one occasion years and years ago. With these tips, I could even reduce my carryon bags even more. Thanks for sharing! Voted up, useful and sharing!

    • VioletteRose LM profile image

      VioletteRose LM 3 years ago

      Thanks, this is very useful to me. I always pack all unnecessary things and I always have heavy luggage bags. I love the idea of using clothes that can be mixed and match with many different items.

    • profile image

      londonremovals24 3 years ago

      Men have less items when packing than women.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 3 years ago

      Wow, I thought I travelled light - but you beat me hands down. As a student, I used to lug a large suitcase, including books back and forth between home and university lodgings.My parents also took us on a couple of holidays to Spain, travelling by car, where we were allowed only a portion of a suitcase for clothes, half of which I never wore! At that time, I developed two rules for packing for travelling: Rule#1 Never pack more than you can carry, Rule#2, when deciding whether you need an item - refer to rule#1. These two rules have saved me from many a heavy suitcase over the years. I have managed to get packing down to a haversack for two weeks, including packing my camera bag inside and a dictionary in the pocket! I also like those garments with LOTS of pockets.

    • Scindhia H profile image

      Scindhia 3 years ago from Chennai

      Less luggage, more comfort. Nice lens!

    • profile image

      angelatvs 3 years ago

      Wow! I always overpack, so this is truly enlightening.

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 3 years ago

      Packing coordinated clothes and accessories when traveling has always been my rule of thumb. Thanks for sharing more ideas.

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      I always over pack even for just a short weekend trip, great ideas, I don't know if I could do it since I don't carry a handbag!! Thanks for the ideas :)

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