Hey there, I'm Jill, the founder of GrownupDish.com and your go-to gal for everything midlife. As a recovering CEO, food lover, world traveler, and self-proclaimed pop culture aficionado, I've got a wealth of experience and wisdom to share with you.
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Packing for travel is one of my superpowers. I hate checking my luggage and I love trying to figure out how to pare down and still look cute with a minimal amount of gear. Here are my 7 best packing tips for grownups.
Figure out your shoes first. Try to limit yourself to 3 pairs. That usually means a pair of comfy sandals, a pair of athletic shoes and a “wildcard” pair of shoes that will vary based on the season or activity you have planned. For an active trip the “wildcard” pair might be hiking boots, but for a winter business trip, it’ll likely be a pair of versatile boots.
Lay out all of the clothes you’re considering taking (by category) and take a hard look at them. Put all of your pants in one pile, tops in another pile, workout clothes, undergarments, etc. Make sure all of your tops and bottoms work together. Never pack any item that only matches one other item. A two-item match is a minimum (even if that means having to leave your favorite hot pink top at home.)
Use packing cubes. These are the ones I have and they’ll last forever. Packing cubes function as your “dresser drawers” when you’re away from home and they are critical for organization. I use one for undergarments, one for fitness clothes, one for regular clothes and one for my hair stuff.
Have a standard travel day outfit that includes your bulkiest shoes. I always make sure that the outfit I wear on the plane includes layers (in case I get hot/cold, pants with pockets, and usually a scarf. I also try to always wear my bulkiest pair of shoes so that they aren’t taking up space in my luggage. And on international flights, I always wear compression socks.
Roll your clothes. Don’t fold them. I’ve tested this extensively and rolling your clothes allows you to pack more clothes in the same space.
Pack an empty bag. For any trip longer than a week, I always pack an extra empty bag in my suitcase. Sometimes I don’t need to use it, but if I end up doing a lot of shopping, or have a ton of dirty laundry, I’ve been known to check it as an extra piece of luggage on my flight home.