Tell us: Who doesn’t feel the debilitating grip of fear two steps away from the airport check-in counter? You conveniently took the 60 kilograms the airline afforded you as a mere suggestion. You packed for your trip the night before with a wandering mind, considering all conceivable acts of serendipity as Things That Will Surely Happen. (Trust us, you will not run into Grace Coddington while you’re figuring out how to use the subway, and if you do, you will act weird around her, and she will not invite some smiley, overeager stranger to her flat for dinner.)
Cut to 10 minutes later: Either your wallet is $100 lighter from having paid the overweight luggage fee, or you‘re sitting miserably by the trash can, getting rid of the two knit ponchos you probably shouldn’t have brought anyway.
1. Familiarize yourself with your itinerary before you pack. Knowing what you’re going to be doing during your vacation will guide you in picking the clothes you will need for those activities. Additionally, doing research on your destination’s weather and cultural norms will also tell you which clothes are appropriate.
2. Determine your non-negotiables. Skincare and personal hygiene products are definitely on that list. If you’re heading somewhere cold, a coat is a must. If you’re heading somewhere sunny, stock up on sunblock. If it’s the time of the month for you, resist bringing more than two packs of sanitary napkins.
If you’re attending a film premiere, have your outfit for that event ready. Knowing what you absolutely must bring will help you ration the space in your suitcase.
3.Invest in travel-sized everything. This will allow you to downsize your toiletry bag. Muji and Beabi have plenty of these handy bottles that you can use to carry your shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and other products you may need.
4. When it comes to clothes, bank on the classics. Bring basic white tees, dark denim jeans. Make sure to bring lots of pieces for layering, too—blazers, coats, and cardigans will be your best bet.
5.Don’t be afraid to repeat your clothes. Bringing classic clothes will allow you to wear them again and again—keeping in mind, of course, that you have to mix and match your outfits every time. (Pro tip: Your pajamas will never leave your hotel room. You can totally wear them again and again.)
6. Wear the bulkiest items in transit. Your trench coat, your knee-high boots, your chunky knit sweater—wear them all in the plane. You can also hand carry some of them, like a heavy coat, and your suitcase will definitely thank you for it.
7.It’s not only what you pack that matters, but how you pack them. Learn the art of strategic folding. We can attest to the fact that you can pack more in a suitcase if you roll your clothes instead of fold them. Let this video save your life.
These tips are guaranteed to help you travel light, and will definitely leave you space to bring home your foreign flea market finds. Then you can feel that check-in counter anxiety all over again.
Art by Dorothy Guya