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5 Tips on How To Travel Light

By August 23, 2012 , , , , , ,

With a trip to Spain coming up in just a couple days, I’m literally giddy at the thought of visiting beautiful cities, immersing myself in the local culture, and engaging in a gastronomical journey! It’s a 10 day trip, action-packed with visits to several different cities in Spain. With all that we have planned, carrying a light suitcase will be immensely helpful in keeping us quick on our feet. There are a few things to consider, which affect how and what I pack.

- While we will be wearing clothes suitable for the hot weather, we have to be mindful of certain places which require covered, respectful attire (eg, churches and other places of worship)
- During the day, we will be walking a lot. During the night, we will be out dancing a lot
- We will be shopping a lot

Keeping these scenarios in mind, how do you travel light? As someone who travels abroad a fair amount, here are 5 tips that I have found to be useful time and again.

1. Clothes

- Mix and match. It goes without saying. For instance, instead of packing three entirely different outfits for three different days, take a top that you can pair more than once with different bottoms (whether it’s shorts, a skirt, or your favorite pair of jeans). There is no shame in repeating an article of clothing during a trip as long as you can style it with other items in your suitcase to create new looks
- Bring versatile pieces of clothing. Take a dress that you can wear as a top during the day and then wear it as the dress itself when going out at night. Viola!
- Always travel with a scarf, cardigan or light sweater. This applies to even traveling in the summers. A cardigan (or any other layering piece) is your friend during long, chilly flights and in places you never thought of (eg, if visiting a church or other place of worship where you need to be covered up)

One blouse that can be paired with 3 different bottoms and accessories to create different looks

2. Shoes
Aah, the age old question – how many pairs to take? I usually take at most 3 pairs of shoes, whether it’s for a short trip or a long one. This typically includes 2 pairs of comfortable shoes (flats or sneakers) and a pair of heels. For a trip where I intend to be a walking tourist, I don’t care how much more stylish heels look compared to flats. For me, it’s comfort above all else. And who says you have to sacrifice style for comfort? There are tons of cute flats that you can wear for the daytime! To transition to nighttime, take a kick ass pair of heels. And if possible, wear the bulkiest pair of shoes while traveling so that it doesn’t take up room in your suitcase!

       3. Jewelry
      I’m of the belief that jewelry is something you can load up on. Unlike shoes and clothes, it takes up little room in your suitcase, and you can fit several pieces of jewelry into a small pouch or box. Most importantly, different pieces of jewelry can create different looks against the same outfit. What’s great is that they can also easily elevate an otherwise plain outfit into something more spicy! (Note: Depending on the place you're going, try to minimize the amount of real jewelry pieces you take with you)
      4. Hair and makeup
      As much as I suffer from separation anxiety with my flat iron, I usually just embrace the demon that is my hair while traveling. That is to say, I tie up my hair in a chic (?) ponytail, try the sockbun, or play up my curls with a mousse. If I really want a sleek and straight look, I use the hotel hair dryer along with my small bottle of defrizzing Sedu hair serum (liquid gold in a bottle, I tell ya!). Alternatively, if you’re traveling with a few girlfriends, it’s not a bad idea to have one person carry a flat iron to share with the others. As for makeup, all you really need are 1-2 lipsticks, one versatile eyeliner that you can use to create a minimal or dramatic look, mascara, blush, and mineral powder – done! If you're traveling to a hot climate, it's best to keep your makeup light and minimal.
      5. Lastly, I’ll let you in on a little secret (which is not really a secret): Always leave extra space in your suitcase while traveling to your destination. If you’re like me, you’ll want to get souvenirs for friends, buy some handicrafts or other local wares from the city you’re visiting, maybe even purchase clothes from the local chain stores. If that’s the case, going in with a 1/3 empty suitcase will allow you to shop freely during the trip and avoid overweight baggage fees when returning. 

      So much of this is common sense but it’s good to remind oneself of these tips every once in a while. I know it’s hard to resist the urge to pack your whole life into one tiny suitcase. But if you let go, you’ll realize that you don’t need more than a just a few basic items. Over the years, I’ve realized the following: (1) As long as you have your important travel documents with you, everything else is easy to replace (2) If you’re having fun, it doesn’t matter how you look.

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  1. Love this article very informative and great pictures!

    1. Thanks Ratna! :) Let's hope to put this into good use for our trip together! :)

  2. Great article Richa...have always struggled with travel packing...n end up overpacking :)

    1. Thanks Mansi! It's quite a challenge to pack lightly but it can be done! :)

  3. love love love that leopard print top! its damn versatile.
    haha, n i do get separation anxiety with my flat-iron ( n i thot i was wierd;)
    hope u hav loads of fun in spain..cant wait to c the pics :)
    adios muchachos :D

  4. Couldn't agree more ladies! That's my mantra too. Coincidently, my tomorrow's post is on something similar from my last trip.

    ∞ © tanvii.com ∞

  5. Thanks for the comments ladies! Yes, we get separation anxiety from the flat iron, especially when we go to humid places! But I guess you have to embrace your curls! :)

  6. A lot of truth in this article that's hard to swallow. I have a hard time accepting that it's okay to repeat outfits. If I did, what a load it would take off of my luggage. Thanks for posting.


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