This post came to me this week as I thought about the trip my family and I took two weeks ago.
We went on a trip to LA for 4 days and had a great time, but we were limited on the amount of items we could bring, because of the baggage fees that the airlines charge. There were 7 of us, so imagine 7 checked bags at $35 each. That was $245 we were not willing to spend both ways. If we brought our bags on the plane as carryons we would only be charged $25 each for a total of $175 both ways. Still we did not think it was worth it. The airline would allow a free carryon but it would have to fit within their specific measurements. So we gathered all of the bags we had around the house measured them all, made sure we all had one and told ourselves whatever fits in this bag is what we can take on the trip with us. We have 4 daughters so you can imagine the looks on their faces. They were not excited. Well they felt better when we told them that they could also have a large handbag, so whatever didn’t fit in their carryon they could put in their handbags/backpacks. Needless to say we all implemented the steps I’ve outline for you below and no one complained about not having enough clothing to wear and even had room to shop and bring back a few items. Talk about team work and saving money.
Here are my tips:
Find out what the weather will be like so that you know what type of clothing to bring.
Make a list of items you think you will need. You can’t go wrong with a list, especially if you have limited amount of items you can bring. You can utilize already made lists like the one below or you can make your own list.
No matter what type of clothing you’re bringing, you will want to first decide on a base color or two, like black and white or red and brown. Once you make this decision you can choose the items that would coordinate with those colors best and allow you to mix and match outfits better. The more you can mix and match the less you can bring. Depending on what you are doing each day you may be able to wear a pair of pants during the day and change into a dressier shirt for dinner that goes with the same pants. Or if you’re wearing a dress, during the day, you can change into a pair of dressier shoes and update your jewelry for dinner. Be sure to bring layering items like a cardigan or light jacket. This will allow you to get away with re-wearing some items and they will also help with the changing weather.
If you’re like me, shoes are usually the biggest problem when it comes to packing. I like to bring several pair (meaning 4 or 5 pair) so that I can have options, but with limited space I have to narrow it down. So ladies, decide on which shoes will work best with most of the outfits and bring 2 or 3 pair if they all fit in your bag, and I make sure mine do. Also think of comfort. I know, comfort and Style don’t always go together, but I say why not. You don’t have to be in pain to look good, so make sure those shoes look and feel good.
Check items off your list as you collect them. Try to collect your items a day or two ahead of time so you’re not struggling to find items at the last minute. That’s no fun. Once you’ve collected most of your items it’s time to start organizing them. Put your shoes and any heavy items at the bottom of your bag. If you have space in your shoes use it to store small items like socks, underwear, costume jewelry (rolled in something soft or secure in a Ziploc sandwich bag).
The best way to pack your clothing to gain the most space is to roll them. Roll the soft items first and fold the heavy items and lay them on top.
Because you will probably be bringing back a suitcase full of dirty clothes on the plane another good idea is to bring a few sheets of fabric softener in a sandwich bag and take one out and lay it in your bag on the way home so that the bag smells fresh.
Remember that for your return you will need to make you carryon look as neat as it was before, even though you will have dirty clothes this time around. Continue to roll them the best you can and add the fabric softener sheets as needed.
We implemented these tips and our packing was a success. We were able to utilize space we usually wouldn’t and we were able to save money at the same time. We enjoyed our trip and had extra money to spend. I call that an all around successful trip.