That’s how long it now takes me now to zip it up and get ready for a 10-Day Bleisure Trip. But I’m targeting to reduce that by 33%!
The best part is that my bag will fit in the overhead compartment. (I will never again check a bag after my fave spring jacket mysteriously vanished from a major airline’s checked luggage and I spent an hour filling out claim forms.) I bring one sturdy but light rolling bag from Briggs & Riley and a Vera Bradley carry-on (which I then stuff my handbag into for boarding, which means I comply with the two-bag rule). I keep my ID handy in the outside pocket (but always safe and secure), so I can speed through the TSA line. I invested in TSA pre-approval, which probably has already saved me a hour this year alone.
Here are my other time-tested tips for getting 10 days’ worth of stuff into a 5 pound bag (metaphorically).
- Make a list – either on your phone or on paper. (I like the List Master app). The advantage of the former is that you can just revise it from trip to trip. Start with what activities you’ll be doing each day and how many “dress” pieces you’ll need versus casual things. If you travel a lot, invest in multi-purpose clothes. For example, washable tunics from Salaam and Hue or Spanx leggings or capris are my stock wardrobe. They go easily from day to night and they fit criteria #2. Stylish pajama pants can be worn to get coffee in the lobby or as a pool cover-up.
- When you’re shopping, look for fabrics that don’t need to be ironed and can be folded down into tiny Origami-like shapes. Betabrands has some terrific travel options.
- Stuff-it. Put your work-out clothes inside your sneakers. I bought a lightweight pair of sneakers just for travel. They have good support, but are half the weight of my regular gym shoes.
- Don’t give in to the footwear frenzy. Women tend to pack too many shoes. Squishy footwear like Flexx come in lots of colors, are comfortable are very light and packable.
- If you have to check luggage, be sure you have some essential stuff in your carry-on. I’ve been stranded and delayed enough times to know the value of a mini-toothbrush and clean pair of undies.
The Tools of the Trade: What You Need for Work
- Check for devices and chargers (duh!). Screen cleaners (which don’t take up a lot of space, but are super-useful. Your screens tend to get fuzzy when you’re on the road. Invest in good quality ear buds to tune out unhappy children (and adults), listen to music and podcasts, and watch videos.
- Bring something to write with if you don’t have Wi-Fi everywhere you are. I know…it’s old school. But it definitely comes in handy. Spiral notebooks and gel pens are great. I like file cards too for organizing articles I’m writing.
- Remember the business cards and/or other paper leave-behinds. If you’re going somewhere like a conference where you’ll need lot of them, send them in advance to your hotel. Speaking of conferences, bring empty snack bags and a Sharpie. I use them to categorize the leads I collect and then can easily remember and follow-up when I return.
- You’ll need reading glasses and/or extra contacts if you wear them. Don’t you want to see where you’re going? I love Eyebobs and Peepers reading specs. La Loop is a cool accessory that keeps your extra eyes where you can see them.
- Stay sharp on the road with healthy snacks. I’m a fan of Quest Bars, RX Bars, and little bags of almonds and dried fruit. I’ve recently discovered Stur, which turns any water bottle into a healthy treat. Although food takes up space en route, it’ll all be gone by the return trip and you’ll be saving a fortune in airport and hotel expenses.
- I love a great lightweight “string bag.” They weigh next to nothing and they are great for organizing stuff. If you get them produced with your company’s logo, they’re cheap advertising as well!
Adds Amanda Busby, professional organizer and stylist, “Get in the right head space before you pack. If your brain is cluttered and stressed, your suitcase will be an overstuffed mess. Sip a glass of wine ( just one!) or let a piece of dark chocolate dissolve in your mouth as you pack. You can even light a fragrant candle. But remember to blow it out before you go!”
And remember, it’s all about the list. The more you bleisure travel, the easier this becomes. My goal is to get it down to 20 minutes! What are YOUR tips for bleisure packing? Your fave products? Pack ‘em in, below.LuggageOrganizePacking