You’ve reserved the days off work, done the research, booked your travel, compulsively checked the weather, posted about it on Facebook, and now it’s official: you are going on vacation. Wahoo! This is great news. We at D&D are all about work-life balance—so escape the grind, baby bird, and be free!
But here’s the catch: you have plans to eat out, walk around, sight see, hike in the mountains, chill on the beach, and visit as many museums as possible— but of course, you can’t pack every item you own to prepare you for every single potential fun-having experience. So you’re stumped. What is a girl to do?
Welcome to Done & Done’s Pack Like A Pro, a collection of wisdom gleaned from each team member to help you pack so efficiently you have what you need without heavy luggage pulling on your recently massaged neck muscles.
LIFESAVER #1: The Blessed Wheelie Bag. This is a non-negotiable. Rolling luggage is a life (and neck muscle) saver. You should always have two in your closet: one large one to check for longer trips, and one small one to carry-on for weekenders. Owning both will give you the ultimate flexibility in traveling style. Our co-founder, Ann, likes to check a bag every time she travels, because she is able to pack many outfit choices and is interminably patient about waiting for her bags at the other end. If you are a speed-walking time freak like Abby, you might not mind paring down your options to be able to carry on and walk out of the airport as soon as you land. Either way, make this decision beforehand and pick the appropriate luggage for your travel style. (Also check out the sainted and holy garment-wheelie bag, for the utmost convenience in packing for a formal event!)
LIFESAVER #2: Be Realistic. Ann says, “Know yourself and stick with what you wear.” This means don’t bring those heels you’ve always meant to wear to Paris because you can imagine how fabulous you’d look strutting down the Champs Elysees. The fact is that what you find uncomfortable and unrealistic here you will find doubly so in a place where your primary activity is to walk around. Your favorite pair of skinny jeans and a button down shirt that you can wear with comfy Birkenstocks for daytime or a smart blazer for dinner? Those are perfect.
LIFESAVER #3: Versatility is key! If you’re packing for 4 days or 3 weeks, you need at least (and sometimes only) two core oufits – one for day and one for night. For the tropics, this could be cute shorts and a tank top for day and white jeans for night. Then, pack tops around these two items that work with both: black tanks, basic white t’s, button downs, light sweaters, jean jackets, or blazers.
LIFESAVER #4: Accessorize, Ladies. You can create an infinite number of outfits with these basics if you bring the right jewelry and scarves. For the beach, a sarong that could be wrapped around the waist or thrown over the shoulders at night is a must. For chillier climes, you cannot go wrong with a black skinny, low boots, and a neutral tank. Layer colorful sweaters, scarves, and sunnies, and you’re golden!
LIFESAVER #6: Make the Most of Events. This is where it gets tricky. For example, if you are traveling to a wedding (you poor thing), you will need to pack three additional outfits for the rehearsal dinner, the actual wedding, and a brunch. While you can definitely find some cross over in these outfits (for example wearing the same shoes to all three), you may just have to bring everything.
LIFESAVER #7: Minimize. Now put back half of everything you pulled out. Do not bring multiples of any item. You can hand wash a tank top in the sink and hang dry overnight if you need to use an item twice!
LIFESAVER #8: Pack it Right. You have to fit everything into your bag, so think about every single available space you have. Stack up your bras, fold them in half and fill the cups with rolled up socks. Roll your undies up into tiny sushi rolls and tuck all delicates into a small laundry bag. Put this at the bottom of your suitcase. Lay out your shoes flat around this bag, almost in a spiral. Then, roll up any items that are wrinkle resistant, like jeans and cotton T-shirts, and fit into the small spaces around your shoes. Nothing else needs to be rolled! Any lighter or more delicate fabrics can be carefully folded into small squares and laid on top. Make sure to leave a space in the middle, directly on top of your lingerie bag, because this is where you will place your toiletries bag the morning of before closing up. And… voila! A perfectly packed bag.
Now go enjoy yourself, you rascal, and have a drink for us.