Sunday, January 15, 2012

Packing Lightly



Here is something you might not know about Daniel:  he's the cheapest man alive.  Seriously.  He never wants to spend money.  I actually don't mind because he has probably saved us thousands of dollars.  We both came from big families (he is the middle child of 5 and I'm the oldest of 4) so we grew up seeing how our parents stretched their dollars and made every penny count.  He and I both travel quite a bit.  When he's touring, they often leave their van and fly home between tours.  One thing that we don't like to do is pay $50 to check a bag.  It's the worst!  Dan was a carry-on man long before the baggage fees (he has a thing about wasting time, too -- like waiting for baggage claim).  So, I am sharing with you the key to packing [in my case, for two weeks in Arizona] without paying that super-annoying baggage fee.

Let's start with clothes, shall we?  Laying it all out like this really helps you see your options.  [In fact, when I did this, I realized that there were about 5 unnecessary items in my bag so I threw them out!]  Notice how everything could kind-of go together?  There are yellows and reds and some blues, a little black and some denim.  I tried to keep everything within the same color palette.

  1.  Casual hoodie for cold nights or when you don't know what to wear
  2. A casual dress
  3. A navy cardigan
  4. A denim dress
  5. Assortment of tights and leggings
  6. A fancy dress that can be worn for dinner dates
  7. A short skirt
  8. Two belts
  9. A fancy shirt
  10. A casual, long sleeved T-shirt
  11. A plaid button-up
  12. A long, button up tunic
  13. Assorted T-shirts
  14. Black stuff (Black goes with everything!) tank top, 3/4 sleeve shirt, and cardigan

Shoes are the most difficult thing to pack in a carry-on.  Flats are the most practical since we walk a lot when we're on vacation and they take up little space in your suitcase.  I chose my leopard print flats because they dont really go with anything so they kind of go with everything!  A bold color flat, like red or royal blue, would work too!  I am bringing my running shoes because we plan on going hiking, running, and climbing.  They take up the most room so I packed 6 pairs of ankle-length running socks inside them to save space.  I am also bringing my TOMS for casual days and for camping.  Then, I realized I needed something black so I'm bringing these sandals, too.

When it comes to make-up, I generally use just a few things on a daily basis.  For this trip, I decided to try to pack everything into my brush bag.  I took out all the brushes except the blush brush and an eye shadow brush.  I am also bringing mascara, eye lash curler, brown eye-liner, [just one] golden shimmery eye shadow, cheek stain (blush), and concealer.

TOILETRIES:  The 3-1-1 Rule is probably the most annoying thing ever invented.  How do you decide which 3 items are must-haves?  It's easy for Dan:  contact solution, shampoo, conditioner.  I dont know any female who could survive on that.  I need lotion, face-wash, exfoliator, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, sunscreen... I could go on and on.  It's simple:  Buy it when you reach your destination.  Keep in mind you're trying to save money so your purchases have to be fiscally responsible, otherwise you may as well have brought your entire line of Aveda hair and skin products and checked the bag.  So, here's what I do.... I have my day-to-day products that I use at home that are numerous, expensive, and in large bottles.  So, I have found drug-store alternatives for traveling purposes.  When traveling I use Loreal and Garnier and Oil of Olay.  I always pack my travel-size contact solution in case my eyes get dry or tired during the flight but other than that I buy the cheap, travel-size stuff when I arrive at my destination.

We are going to be doing some hiking so I'm bringing a light, long-sleeved top, some long work-out pants and some shorts, too.  If they get dirty or stinky  When they get dirty or stinky, you can rinse them out and let them dry overnight depending on what climate you're in.  I'll be in the desert so they should dry fast!  Otherwise, find a laundromat, ask your hosts if you can wash a load, or have the hotel launder them for you.

I'm keeping my accessories simple.  I am bringing sunglasses, headbands, simple earrings for day, fancy earrings for night, elastic bands, and a simple white gold necklace that goes with everything. 

TIP:  Pack delicate things in your shoes to keep them safe while you travel. 

YOUR TRAVEL OUTFIT:  [a.k.a. Air-Wear]  Don't forget that what you wear on the plane comes with you on vacation.  This is where you really cheat the system.  Pull out all the big and awkward stuff that you want to wear whilst on vacation and put it on your body.  This "travel outfit" is also your chance to throw on all the accessories that are too big, bulky, or fragile to pack in your carry-on.  The bonus is:  you end up looking like a rock star!  Want to bring a hat?  Wear it on the plane!  Cant live without your boots?  Don't pack them, they're too big.  Taking your boots off for the security line is a temporary annoyance.  I'd rather wear boots to the airport than pay $50 to check a bag.  

For my travel outfit, I will be wearing my most versatile pair of jeans, a jacket (one that goes with almost all stuff I'm brining), some long necklaces, and several layers of shirts (gotta "sneak" in what wont fit in your bag!).  

I hope these tips help you save lots of money and lower the stress levels so that you can more fully enjoy your vacation!



  1. Nice job! We did 2 weeks in Europe with a carry on because my Husband is cheap too. Plus we were taking the train a lot and didn't want to drag suitcases around. He did laundry twice, I did it once. Can totally be done!

  2. Bravo! I went to Greece for a week and did it in just a backpack. Switzerland was a little more tricky because I knew I would be doing some grocery shopping for the things we can't get here… And if you are flying within Europe (or on EasyJet), the carry on sizes are smaller than the US… So, I checked a bag, but it was only one flight and only 15euros to check it. There is so much beauty in choosing clothes that all match and can be worn together!

    1. Awesome! Good tips! There's no way to I could pack for our France trip in a carry on because we go snowboarding 5 days in a row. We bring our boots and helmets and all those big, bulky clothes.

  3. Great post! But the TSA rule is 3-1-1 not 3-3-1. :) I only know this because I have to fly fairly often and I rarely check a bag because I'm too stingy to pay for it, just like Dan!

    Also, I find that certain airports tend to be more relaxed about the size of your ziplock bag. Sometimes I throw my toiletries into a half-gallon bag if that's all I have handy and I've never had anyone hassle me about it.

    1. ah, yes. noted. i DO know that phoenix is very picky! they threw away a 4 oz. lotion and my regular sized toothpaste the last time i flew. seattle is SUPER relaxed about the 3-1-1 rule. i sometimes dont even take my liquids out at SeaTac. hehehe.

  4. I love this! I feel like I learned so much!!


  5. I love this post - especially since we're going to Phoenix this week! Maybe I'll have our girls read this too.
    Congrats on the new baby!
    Annie (UPPC, Dan's painted for us, friend of Drechsels) :)


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