• Phyllis Prestamo

Packing Light - The Secret to a Fabulous Vacation

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

The first time I traveled to Europe, I managed to take a large part of my wardrobe and my husband did the same. When we arrived in Milan, the Italian gentleman who picked us up just looked at us and said, "Americano?" Our huge suitcases gave us away and they barely fit into the trunk of his sleek black Mercedes. We then spent three weeks lugging around 29" suitcases and mind you they didn't even have wheels. I wanted to be prepared for every circumstance; I had dresses, slacks, shorts, jeans, various tops, several pairs of shoes and the list went on. Needless to say we have learned from that experience. On our last European trip to Scotland we went "rogue" and only took a personal item and a carry-on. It was fantastic! No waiting for luggage, no worries about lost luggage and with careful planning, we were well dressed and prepared for all the changes in the weather.

This used to be me! I would gather everything I thought I'd need and begin to stuff it into a suitcase. It of course never fit. What to do?

Well that doesn't happen anymore --never again will I throw it all in a suitcase and pick and choose when I get to my destination and in the end never wear half of what I brought. Yikes!!

That doesn't need to happen to you--Just follow these simple steps and you too can have a stress free packing experience and enjoy a fabulous trip!

  • Check out the weather - Nowadays it is very easy to check the weather the few weeks leading up to your vacation or to look up the average temperatures for the month you will be traveling. If it's going to be very hot, no need to bring long sleeve shirts. If it is usually cool at night, bring a cardigan and if there is always a chance of rain, be sure to pack a waterproof outer layer.

  • Dress for your planned activities - sightseeing = broken-in walking shoes, hiking = boots and a collapsible walking stick, beach = swim suits, cover-ups and sun dresses. You get it!

  • Plan a capsule wardrobe - What does that mean? Limit yourself to 3 colors for most of your clothes. My go-to capsule is Navy, Khaki and Black. All of my tops can go with all of my bottoms and this limits the shoes you will need. Add color with scarfs or other easy to pack accessories.

  • Buy a sturdy carry-on with wheels - Amazon stocks many brands at various price points. Be sure to check that the bag is compliant with airline rules for carry-ons.

  • Buy a multi-functional personal item (the item you store under the seat in front of you) My favorite is the Lo & Sons OMG bag. This item is pricey, but I use it often. It has multiple pockets including a shoe section at the bottom; I used this for my umbrella when traveling to Scotland and England.The best part is that the sleeve at the back fits perfectly over your luggage handle and doesn't shift around. Watch for sales, currently they are running a Mother's Day sale for the month of May.​

Lo & Sons OMG Bag

  • Buy a small purse - My favorite is the eBags Villa crossbody bag. Moderately priced, it has RFID security and pockets for everything including a passport and a phone pocket which I wear against my body. This bag is available at Amazon. It is small, but convenient and slips right into my OMG bag during the flight. It is made of sturdy nylon and available in 9 colors.

Villa Bag with RFID Security
  • Use Compression Packing Cubes - These cubes available at Amazon help organize your packing, can compress (4" to 1"), and keep clothing wrinkle free while in transit.

  • Purchase a TSA approved pouch - Don't rely on a sandwich bag. Use one of these sturdy zip pouches to store all liquids. Place in your personal bag for easy removal at the TSA desk. Available at Amazon.

If you follow these steps, you will have no trouble traveling with ease and you will have a great time on your vacation.

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