We travel several times a year on road trips, but this is the first time I get to write about it! In the past I have been a severe over-packer. This year I am packing light. Here's why (and how)...
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Last year we took a trip for a 3 day conference. I over packed as I always had. My theory was, pack everything because you never know what you will need. (Side note: I never used half of what I packed.) The hotel we were staying at was so crowded when we arrived that there were no luggage carriers available. To get to the front desk you had to swim through a mob of people. The valet parking was full and my husband had to drive down the block in a traffic jam to park the van. So, I had the bright idea of taking the luggage and waiting for him to park the van and walk back to the hotel. I thought that I would be able to carry our stuff to the room. No luck! Once we had everything out of the van I realized that there was no way I could even carry half of it! 3 duffles, 4 backpacks, 2 tote bags, 2 weekender bags, 2 rolling suitcases, a stroller, a bag of hanging clothes, 2 pillows, and my purse. That's 14 bags not including my purse and the other items! 14 bags for 4 people... for 3 days! If that is not over packing, I don't know what is. I sat and waited with all that luggage for what seemed like an hour, for him to return to help me. I was surrounded by luggage, blocking the sidewalk, and it was so hot I could see the heat coming off the ground. It was miserable and embarrassing. Never again will I do this!
We have another 3 day trip coming up. Here's how I plan to lighten the load...
Of the 14 bags that we had 5 of them were mine, 5 were for the kids and 4 were for my husband. My husband packs his own bags, so I will only be covering packing for myself and the kids.
The kids will each have their own backpacks for their books and toys and a rolling suitcase for their clothing. I had an extra duffle for all of their stuff that wouldn't fit in their suitcases, which I will try to eliminate this year.
To make their stuff lighter I will:
1. Pack less snacks (take what we need for the drive and buy what we need when we get there.)
2. Pack only the wipes and pull ups needed instead of bringing ALL of them.
3. Pack clothes that can be used several ways. The same amount of outfits with less clothes.
4. Bring a Castile Soap bar for washing clothes in the sink and hanging them to dry. This will help with packing less clothes. Because, let's face it, my boys are messy. That's the reality of my life right now. So, instead of packing extra outfits because of messes, I can now just wash whatever is messy and it will be ready to be used again on the trip.
5. No stroller or maybe a small umbrella stroller.
As for me, I don't actually own a suitcase. Maybe one day I will, but for now, I use weekender style bags and tote bags. My goal is to take 1 tote for my camera and electronics and 1 weekender bag with everything else, and my purse.
The things that have taken up the most space in my bags are shoes and hair products. Figuring out how to cut down on these will be the hardest part. I will start by trying to find the same products in smaller sizes or buying small bottles to put them in. I am also going to stop packing extra outfits and try to implement #3 and #4 (listed above) for myself as well. I always travel with my pillow, but I will leave it behind this trip and see how that goes. Hopefully, I won't regret it. If possible, I will lighten my camera load as well. Usually I bring just about all of my camera gear. This trip I will try the less is more approach.
Although, I feel nervous about this, I am still going to try it. I like being prepared for anything and everything. Packing less means less stress in some ways, but it could also mean more stress if something happens and I am un-prepared for it.
Will I be able to stick to my goals and lighten the load? Was it a good change or was it a disaster? I will post an update on this after the trip.
UPDATE: You can read part 2 of this story here.
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Hey! I'm Lyndsey. I am a photographer, designer, and story teller, who loves to travel.
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