How to Pack for a Long Trip (and Still Look Cute)

Recently, I went away on a one-month trip that had me moving around three countries, two overseas flights and eight hotels. Yes, eight hotels! Although I have traveled quite a bit before, this living-out-of-a-suitcase business was new to me and I’m here to share my trials, errors and triumphs so that your next non-stop travel experience will be a lot more seamless than mine.

Pack Your Toiletries in Clear Bags

Clear make-up bags can be purchased from most drug stores and they are usually inexpensive. I read this tip online and decided to give this a try for the first time myself and it was incredibly helpful. You can immediately see where everything is without having to root through your stuff, saving you lots of time and frustration.

Don’t Over Pack

If you are going to be going on several flights during your time away, the last thing you want is to be playing Jenga with your suitcase at the check-in counter every time to get it under the approved weight. Figure out what you’ll be doing ahead of time, so that you can pack appropriate clothes, but skip the three pairs of heels and two different kinds of tennis shoes. Instead, opt for basic black or nude dressy heels to ensure they can be paired easily with everything and one pair of tennis shoes should be more than enough.

Scout Out Laundry Facilities

In order to make sure you don’t overpack, you’ll need to be sure you can wash your clothes at some point during your trip. Hotels at home and abroad (even in cheaper countries) often overcharge for this service, so make sure you know ahead of time whether you can drop off your clothes at a local laundromat or do them yourself (unless, of course, your company is footing the bill). Most laundry facilities have WiFi (even in other countries), so you can even get some work done during your down time.

Skip the Iron

Don’t trust the hotel iron and don’t pack anything that is going to wrinkle so badly that a little wrinkle releaser won’t do the trick. The hotel may have an iron, but it may not be that great, which may then force you to pay top dollar for the hotel to iron it for you, so you can wear that dress or top like you planned. Instead, opt for linens and cottons, clothing that looks professional, but doesn’t need to be ironed.

Take a Change of Clothes and Toiletries in Your Carry On

During my trip, we got stuck in the airport for over 24 hours. While the airline put me up in a hotel and it is common practice for them to do so, your bags may not get released to you for a variety of reasons. Some hotels or airlines will give you a little toiletry kit, but it may not suffice. Instead, keep deodorant, a toothbrush and a travel sized toothpaste on hand to ensure you’re feeling fresh, even during delays.

Travel Size Toiletries Are a God Send

Stock up on these guys before you leave. If they don’t make a travel sized version of a product you can’t live without, you can always purchase empty travel size bottles and fill them with your favorite products. They even make spray bottles. Pack as many travel sized products as you think you’ll need (but don’t over do it...that ended up being the mistake I made!) and throw them out along the way as they get used up. This will help lighten your suitcase load along the way.

Take One Thing Out

My final tip is from the wise words of a quote often attributed to Coco Chanel, “Take a look at yourself in the mirror before you leave the house and take one thing off.” When packing for travel, it is time to get serious about your suitcase and figure out what it is that you need and what it is that you want. After all, if your company isn’t providing door-to-door service to everything, you’ll be the one paying overage fees and lugging it around. Trust me, you’ll be cursing yourself for packing so much two days into the trip!

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  1. Hello from a new reader! :) I am about to go on an international flight, one that I've taken numerous times, and I agree with all of your tips wholeheartedly! I am a chronic over-packer, especially when it comes to clothing, so I always have to remind myself to keep weight in mind.

  2. yes, definitely take one thing out... or two! great tips thanks for sharing.


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