Growing up, I never travelled on holidays overseas. Like many other South African families it just wasn’t a reality for us. I remember coming back from school holidays to have my classmates in the private school I attended talk about their trips & show off those amazing tans. It was so cool but I’d also be envious.
As an adult working on the manufacturing side of clothing, I have been traveling abroad since 2012. I never imagined that this would be my life. I do multiple trips each year visiting pretty much the same locations. In 2017 I visited Dubai 3 times; China 2 or 3 times; New York once; & London twice. The above mentioned locations are the ones I frequent most often, but I have also had the opportunity to go to places like Paris. Doing 4 – 6 international trips a year has taught me a thing or two about packing & I’d love to share it with you.
Newbie traveller Brett used to pack EVERYTHING! I would pack so much clothes that I wouldn’t even get to wear them all. There was also no strategy to packing. I packed what I liked & didn’t really think about my ‘looks’ or what my plans were. And considering I shop for clothes on most trips too; packing all that clothing really wasn’t necessary. And too many options honestly made me late far too often. That was until I starting packing like an adult; which essentially means I started packing strategically.
My trip lengths vary according to destination. China is always a week at least. I used to go for up to 10 days at some point. Nowadays it’s much faster which makes me happy. My NYC, London & Dubai trips are always 2-3 days max. Dubai is sometimes just 1 weekend or 1 night if we’re passing through.
There are a few very important things to note when packing for an overseas trip:
- How long are you going for?
- What’s the weather like? I always check my weather APP when packing & often only pack the day before so I am in the know if the weather changes.
- What will you be doing? Where will you be going?
Once I figure out the above, I start planning: How many outfits do I need? I usually clear my bed & start pulling out items that are weather appropriate & that I’d like to wear. I pack an outfit for each day; night-time outfits (or change ups if I have plans to go out); travel clothes (to & from); & one extra outfit as a back up. So, on a trip to New York for 2 full days of trending, & 2 days of traveling, I would pack no more than 5 outfits including my travel looks. On a trip to NYC I don’t often go out because I’m too tired, so I will end up grabbing dinner in the same clothes I wore all day.
Clothes are only a small part of the puzzle; shoes & accessories are a key factor too. Do you really need to take 5 pairs of shoes on a 5 day trip? No. I try to pack 2 or 3 pairs of shoes no matter how long I am going for; & this always includes a pair of sneakers. If you plan your outfits according to similar colors or even keep it neutral, then you’re going to find it easy to find one or two pairs of shoes that goes with everything. And the same goes with bags. Girl, you do not need a new bag for every look. Please don’t. I often travel with a large bag that I can take on the plan, & also a smaller sling bag.
Packing smarter will not only give you a ton of extra space in your bag. But it will also save you time while you’re away. When you plan a look in advance, you won’t spend an hour trying of different pieces.
I can’t guarantee this will help you go from over-packing nightmare to packing a like a pro on your first try, but it’s a start. I still sometimes hit misses when I pack. And my Coachella packing is probably going to crappy, but I have the foundation right & that’s going to help in any packing situation I fin myself in.
If you enjoyed today’s post, let m know down below. And if you have any packing tips, please do share with everyone!