We are no stranger to the weekend getaway. Actually, it's our preferred method of travel. In 2015 alone, we have gone on 15+ trips that are 4 days long or less. For many of them, we either take a train or fly. We're able to do this because we find cheap tickets, but once you factor in baggage fees, the overall price can tend to creep up. We have been working to streamline (and by we, I mostly mean, me) our packing and find the best luggage pieces that work for the way we travel. And I think we have finally found it! On our last two trips, Aaron and I have been able to pack using one piece of luggage. Yes, one piece of luggage. I wouldn't believe it was possible had we not actually done it ourselves.
Some of you may already have this whole packing thing down. Some of you may be trying to figure out how to pack what you need and pare down, and are looking for tips and inspiration. And others may just be nosy as to what we travel with - and that's ok! So, here is how we packed for a recent weekend trip.
Let's start with the bag. We purchased the Aviator Convertible Travel Backpack by Timbuk2 a few months ago and are proud to say it has served us well. This is the updated 2015 version. We also utilize a packing cube from Eagle Creek, and the small toiletry bags you sometimes get on airplanes. These are the prefect size for carrying liquids (and we find that airport security rarely bats an eye when we use these instead of the standard quart sized zipped bags), make up, and other small items. In fact, we each keep one packed with essentials and ready for flights so all we have to do is throw it in our carry on.
Our two ''liquid'' bags each hold, obviouisly, all of our liquids - shampoo, condition, face wash, body wash, toothpaste, contact solution, mouthwash, my liquid make up, etc.. Aaron's ''dry bag'' contains a face wash towlette, chapstick, gum, tissues, ear plugs, sanitizing wipes (mostly for the airplane tray tables - those things are kind of gross), an eye mask, washcloth, toothbrush, and a pen for filling out customs forms on planes. I have a similiar bag packed for air travel, but when we travel by train or car, I usually don't take it along. Additionally, I have a makeup bag that I bring with me.
The Eagle Creek Packing Cube we use holds Aaron's clothes. For a weekend, we usually only take one pair of jeans, which saves a lot of room. In addition to clothing, we also bring along a small pouch with charger cables, a package of peanuts, extra quart sized ziploc bags (in case we need them for security, or to put small wet things in, or for any other number of reasons), an umbrella for each of us, a folder with all of our travel documents (train tickets, flight itineraries, hotel confirmations, boarding passes, etc.), my blow dryer, and my hairbrush. Sometimes, we are even able to get an extra pair of shoes in there provided they are small (think, flip flops). I don't use a packing cube for my clothes, instead I roll them and find that they fit best that way, plus I can fit small things like socks into tighter spots, maximizing the space available.
Here are some more tips that we have picked up for packing:
- Roll clothes so that they take up less room
- Plan your outfits and pack in neutrals. Don't just grab random tops and pants, I find it harder to make outfits when I don't plan ahead.
- Wear the biggest pair of shoes you plan to take.
- Objectively evaluate what you need. We used to haul around all sorts of stuff that NEVER got used, just because we thought we ''might'' need it. Turns out, we never ended up ''needing'' it, and if we do, chances are we can always buy it. For the most part, we are traveling in well developed areas where most things are available.
- Take advantage of compression. Clothes can be bulky, especially in cold weather. Invest in either some stuff sacks or compressible cubes for packing to help minimize the real estate that clothing can take up. Even large zippered bags work in a pinch (and have the added protection of being able to protect clothing in case of accidents).
- If you travel often, keep your toiletries kit stocked and ready to go. Nothing's worse than the mad dash the night before a trip to refill all the little bottles when you're trying to pack and not forget anything important.
We still have some streamlining we can do (my hair dryer takes up far too much room, but I can't trust hotels to always have one), but I think we are getting pretty darn good at this whole weekend travel deal. In fact, I think back to a year ago where we were with regards to packing and I am honestly shocked. We usually each took a small rolling carry on, packed with lots of stuff we never even needed. It'll be interesting to see how streamlined we can be once we have a third person (and all the accompanying baby gear) in tow!
Do you have any packing tips that you've picked up?