5 Tips to Travel Light

Travel Light: Pack a carry-on, leave a small carbon footprint, and return smaller (possibly thinner!) than you left! 


Less is more, especially when it comes to packing for a relaxing vacation. Let’s get right to the 5 tips you need for any trip, but first let me point out that these tips should be slightly adjusted based on location, weather, and personal preference (including lifestyle and just personal style.)

I will take my recent trips to Maui, Miami, Nantucket, and San Diego as examples since my packing list was pretty similar for all of these. The average trip length was 5 days. Please adjust accordingly to your own personal travel agenda.


Tip 1- First & foremost make sure that everything you pack is in good condition (except workout clothes, but I’ll get to that later) and make sure everything fits! (Sorry ladies, a short trip is not the time to take that unit of clothing that fit you in college, but I do recommend taking one or two slightly snug pieces to make sure you keep your waistband in check! This includes shoes… nothing is less stylish than uncomfortable shoes that yield blisters so I strongly suggest wearing your shoes around for a bit beforehand. I also recommend only 3 shoes for both men and females: tennis shoes, casual and comfortable flats / flip flops, and a dressier shoe for the evening, such as loafers for men and wedges for women. Ah yes- make sure to walk around everywhere you can, this will keep your step count high and carbon footprint low.

Tip 2- Keep things light at the airport! This a big one and 5 tips within itself.

What to wear to the airport:
1. Bring your essentials: Mask (ugh I know, but safety first), ID, credit cards, and some cash, and have your boarding pass on your phone. You may also bring your laptop if you cannot work from your phone or business center and must work on the trip as well as any chargers & such.
2. Tennis shoes, with socks… yes, even if you are TSA pre-check. You’ll be more comfortable, your luggage will have more space for other less bulky items, and your feet might bloat less from the compression. A lighter carry-on means less weight on the plane, meaning less fuel will be used, thus reducing your carbon footprint. Another reason why not to gain 5 pounds on vacation- try your hardest to stay active and keep yourself in moderation! Avoid all airport food if possible. Save it all for the local food at your destination.
3. Something bulky yet comfortable (your nicest jacket, sweater etc.) Make sure your tennis shoes are a neutral color as to not clash your outfit completely. In fact, if you are trying to pack light I suggest you live in neutrals (with one or two colorful pieces, more on this later!) 

4. Jewlery… I myself prefer only classic and sentimental pieces. Signature necklace, pearl earrings, classic watch (could be a FitBit, could be a Rolex)! I believe jewlery is a reflection of your values, so if you are aiming to integrate minimalism into your virtues, keep Jewlery simple and only bring one set, other than perhaps a different set of earrings or a unique accessory in your tote. Men- watch & wedding ring (if you are there) End of story. 

5. Beauty, wellness, and not bringing a huge bag of product/ make up/ personal hairdryers, etc. This is a huge one, I see women traveling with beauty bags just as large as my entire suitcase! My mom actual calls this bag “el neceser” in Spanish, which means “the bag of necessity.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Bring a hairbrush, drink plenty of water, and if possible give your hair and skin a break from whatever marketing you tend to lather on. If this is an impossibility, then bring only what is necessary, perhaps a small bottle of whatever hair product you need, chapstick, some lipstick or gloss, foundation with SPF, etc. Pro tip: get your hair, lashes, and nails for the day before or morning of your trip, ladies. You’ll feel light, yet put together.

Tip 3- Pack light & tight! In case you haven’t caught on yet, make sure you take pieces you can roll very tightly in order to keep packing compact. Leave bulky items at home unless you need them (cold weather, ski trip) and wear whatever you can on the plane. Pack your carry-on (mine is an Away luggage) as well as a large purse or backpack. Ladies, pack a smaller clutch or messenger bag that could double as both an evening bag and as a wallet. Keep these neutral colored unless you want to pick a color theme for the trip. For example, sometimes I pack all neutrals with pops on red (red clutch, red lipstick, red skirt) or pops of blue (blue earrings, blue dress, blue flip flops) but I never pack too many colors since it is harder to put together classic outfits (my preference) so for example, I may pack a beige Prada bag with a red YSL clutch or a brown LV tote with a beige Chanel messenger bag that holds all my ID, cash, extra pair of earrings, lip gloss, phone charger, etc.

Tip 4- Bring extra pairs of comfort clothing that doesn’t take up much room! 
So I’m talking about briefs, things, socks, etc. These are the essentials. Bring some that are not in the best condition and perhaps at the end of life so you can just throw away after wearing. So don’t throw these things away at home! Wait for the right moment. You’ll come back with an even lighter luggage! It’s also not very fun to come back with sweaty clothing, so if you work out at all, this is a game changer. If you are feeling charitable- take these clothes to a laundromat and donate it all to a new community. (If you have time!) 

Bringing a few sets of loungewear/ workout clothing is never a bad idea (even if you don’t work out!) since you can go exploring, sightseeing, and traveling in comfort as well as style. I prefer to pack mostly sports bras and leggings (shorts take up less space!) and use my running time to explore the area as well as get a bit of a tan. I tend to buy a hat in my new destination (or lately I’ve been getting free ones) and use it to cover up my face from the sun. skin cancer and wrinkles are never in fashion- this goes for men and women! Luckily my husband is very fair so he’s always buying sunscreen the second we arrive (or carries some with him since he’s TSA pre-check!- also lucky for me since I often get to venture with him through the security line). We usually grab sunscreen at a local pharmacy or the regional Whole Foods. I still have a deodorant from Nantucket that I love using! It smells like daffodils! 🌼 

Tip 5- One of the most rewarding aspects of travel is the anticipation! 
This can often bring more happiness than the actual trip (time flies, right?) so make sure to plan in advance, not just your itinerary but also your entire outfits! I like to take Coco Chanel’s style advice and keep the “less is more” vibe, so I will literally lay out my outfits and try to mix and match like a puzzle until I can no longer remove an item. At this point and at this point only, an item is truly essential. (Except for the underwear rule! Always bring extras… I got stuck in Miami during the snowstorm for a week and definitely take this rule seriously!) Otherwise, if you think you might use it or may only use it once- leave it. Plan to wear it the week you come back. Life will go on. Only bring versatile pieces that you can wear multiple times. Your luggage will thank you!

Note: Not only Chanel, but most style icons place an emphasis on neutrality with pops of color. Audrey, Jackie, you name her (or him!) I bet they are wearing neutral. 

So what do I actually pack for a 5 day trip in XYZ? 
These 10 items:

1. A neutral sweater
2. Loungewear / workout clothes in a neutral color.
3. Tons of underwear & socks.
4. A classic black dress. Always.
5. A neutral tote and a colorful / or neutral clutch.
6. Shoes: black APL, white Havianas, tan wedges.  
7. Black pants, blue or white jeans.
8. A snug piece of clothing in a bright color (red Sezane skirt)
9. A black bikini, black one-piece, or bright swimsuit.
10. A dress to impress. (Any color) 

That’s pretty much it! I don’t pack sunglasses since they are usually on my face. I also download digital books before, during, and after the trip. 📚 

Warmest regards and happy travels!


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