I did it you guys! I actually managed to pack light and it was amazing!
Well, it wasn't totally amazing, at first. Trying to pack light for the first time in my life was a bit challenging. I had to pack, and re-pack four times. No joke! But, in the end I did it, and it made travel much easier. If you haven't read part one of this story yet, you can read it here.
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My goal was to pack 1 suitcase and 1 backpack for each of the boys, and to pack 1 tote and 1 weekender bag for me.
I was able to pack the boys stuff with no problem, but for me it was a bit harder. I actually ended up with 2 totes and 1 weekender bag, but I opted to not bring a purse and let one of the totes double as a purse, so I feel it still was within my goal.
Packing only the wipes and pull ups that I needed.
This was a huge space saver! I estimated how many pull ups a day my youngest son was going through on average, and brought 1 extra per day. I brought 20 and came home with 3. I would say that's a win! I brought 2 packs of wipes and could have made it through with just one pack.
Packing clothes that can be used several ways.
This also was a huge space saver. It was pretty easy to do this with the boys stuff, but it was much harder for me. However, I did it and I was thankful I did! The thing that made this part easier was bringing a bar of Castile Soap. I was able to wash anything that needed to be washed in the sink at night before bed and then hang it to dry, so it was ready to be re-worn in the morning. That way I didn't need to pack extra of anything.
Using packing cubes changed my life!
When using a weekender bag it seems like everything is just piled in there and I can never find what I need. It turns into a huge mess. I decided at the last minute to see if I could find packing cubes. I was so happy when I found some at a store nearby. I wasn't sure if they were going to be worth it or not, but they turned out to be more than worth it! I was able to pack everything neatly in the cubes and then put those in the bag. It made unpacking and finding stuff at the hotel easier. I also was able to take the cubes out of my bag and put them directly in the drawers in the hotel. It was quick, simple and organized. My three favorite things! The packing cubes I have also have a second zipper on them to compress the clothes. I was able to compress 2 out of the 3 cubes. The third one had too much stuff in it to compress it, but it worked out fine. I was able to fit all three cubes, plus a shoe bag in the weekender bag.
Limiting items and using smaller containers.
I really didn't think I would make it through this part. I know that bringing travel size things seems like common sense, but I have never brought travel size anything and I really didn't want to. I always have packed my full size products. I didn't think travel size was enough. Maybe for longer trips it wouldn't be but for a 4 day trip it was enough. I was able to find some products in travel size that I use, but for the ones that don't come in travel size I purchased travel size containers and put the products in those containers. I also only brought the basics, and I didn't bring multiples of things. You know, 2 different kinds of shampoo and conditioners. Bar soap and body wash. I just didn't do it. I feel bad that it was hard for me to do that, but it was. In the end though, I wasn't disappointed. I had all my little travel size things organized in my bag, with room to spare... and it felt good! The only thing I had to bring full size was mouse. The kind I use didn't come in travel size and I couldn't leave it behind. We didn't run out of any of these items on our trip so I will definitely be doing this again.
This was also hard for me but it worked. Bringing only 2 pair of shoes!
I brought my Chaco sandals (read my post about them here) and a pair of boots. This time of year is hard to pack for in the midwest. We were going to Springfield, IL (read about that here). I opted to bring shoes that can be dressed up or down, one pair for cold days and one pair for warm days. Sadly, it was cold so I didn't get to wear my Chaco's until the last day. I wish I had been able to wear them the whole time. They are so comfortable!
I also limited my camera gear.
I brought one camera body, one lens, one extra battery with the charger, one flash, and one flash modifier. It was hard to pack this light for my camera gear, but I was able to pack it all in my tote and have space for everyday items that I usually put in my purse. This made it to where I only had 1 bag around town and I could pull out my camera easily, without making a scene.
Deciding not to bring a stroller and not to bring our own pillows.
These are great to have, but without them our load was lighter and less stressful.
What Didn't Work:
I originally planned to bring less snacks and to buy stuff after we got to our destination.
Since we were traveling with several other people and our itinerary was pretty full it just seemed like more of a hassle to have to plan a day to shop while there. I decided to pack all the snacks and drinks we would need on the trip and skip the shopping while there. We took 2 brown grocery bags with food and drinks. I know that sounds like a lot but it was for 4 people and 2 of them are little boys who love to eat!
Overall I think this worked out great! I was originally worried about not being prepared because of not having everything... but I found that most of the stuff I thought I needed was just extra. I have definitely been converted from an over-packer to a minimal packer.
Are you an over- packer or a minimal packer?
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Hey! I'm Lyndsey. I am a photographer, designer, and story teller, who loves to travel.
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