I've always been something of a light packer. As someone who's an aspiring minimalist at home, I love the idea of only bringing what I absolutely need for a trip. In the weeks leading up to a vacation, I begin to pare down my beauty routine, carefully shop for pieces that serve multiple purposes, and create Pinterest boards of styles inspired by my destination. For our five-day trip to Copenhagen (we left Tuesday night!), Jonah and I pared our packing down even further—we only brought one carry-on for the flight there, including a foldable bag we plan to fill and bring on the flight back, so that we don't have to check any bags but can still bring home souvenirs. Read on for some of my tips for minimal packing, and for a list of the actual items I packed:
1. Figure out what you're going to wear each day (but make room for swaps).
When packing for a trip, I start by pulling out my absolute favorite pieces and printing out our itinerary. I then cross-check my clothes by my plans and write down what I plan on wearing each day as I match additional basics to my plans. Because I don't want to feel restricted, I always bring neutral items so I can mix-and-match if I want, and pack enough items so that I can make last-minute swaps depending on my mood—or if I spill coffee on my pants. See my full list below!
2. Bring as many multi-purpose items as possible.
This should go without saying, but the easiest way to save space in your bag is by eliminating as many single-use items as possible. My sneakers are also my running shoes, my cozy sweater for the plane is cute enough to wear out, and my denim jacket works with every outfit.
3. Pare down your beauty routine leading up to the trip.
I plan my 'beauty maintenance' around trips so that I'm able to look and feel my best by takeoff. This makes me even more excited for my upcoming trip and helps me pare down my beauty routine during my trip to a bag tiny enough to fit in a small purse. For example, if I get a facial and am careful about skincare the week before, I don't need to bring cover-up, and if I get my brows tinted, I don't need to spend an extra five minutes each morning penciling mine in. Here's how I approached my beauty routine for this trip:
1 week before: Got a facial and started to be really careful about skincare (i.e., used face masks and limited dairy in my diet, which makes me break out)
4 days before: Got my brows shaped and tinted
1 day before: Got my nails done
The day-of: Got a blowout (my hair is really greasy so I need to wash it everyday, but can get away with not washing it for several days after a professional blowout. This helps save time during my trip!)
4. Dresses are your friend!
Dresses are your friend, a tip I got from Emily's friend Stacie. Worn with sneakers, they can easily go from daytime to evening plans. I'm bringing a short dress as well as a super-versatile flowy dress. While I'm also bringing jeans, I'm comforted by the fact that I have two easy all-in-one outfits, should the weather get unexpectedly warm.
5. Edit down your in-flight entertainment.
A few years ago I flew to New Zealand and purchased the cheapest possible tickets. As a result, I only spent close to $500 on my tickets, but my travel time there and back included an 18 hour flight from New York to China, a nine hour layover in China, and a 13 hour flight to Auckland, each way (not advisable). I panicked and packed seven (seven!) books plus a computer packed with movies. Instead of enjoying any of the entertainment I so carefully selected and packed, I ended up lugging half my weight in hardbacks back to New York, and binge-watching all four Jurassic Park movies on the tiny seat-back screen. Lesson learned! The fact is: You don't need to bring that much for a long flight—the movies are usually pretty good, and you can fit most of your entertainment onto a phone or iPad. For this trip, I'm bringing the following:
1. iPad (with a few movies downloaded from Netflix, just in case. I also love to play this game while I'm traveling.)
2. My phone (with a few audiobooks and podcasts downloaded)
3. Small headphones with a headphone jack (I usually bring Apple headphones to save space, and because they're small enough that I can wear them with a neck pillow)
4. Neck pillow (love this one!), eye mask, and ear plugs
5. Melatonin pills and Four Sigmatic Hot Chocolate to help me sleep
6. Water bottle (I usually don't bring snacks since they hurt my stomach when I eat them on the plane, so I just plan on a huge meal when I get there! If I need to eat though, I usually bring a few of these Nutiva coconut snacks!)
What I'm wearing each day:
Travel Day 1, plus Evening Plans (dinner + drinks):
Plane: Denim jacket + chunky knit sweater + black tank top + sports bra + leggings + sneakers
Evening plans: Short dress + denim jacket + sneakers
Full Day 2 (lots of walking and exploring + dinner with friends): tank + wide-legged pants + sneakers
Full Day 3 (run, then change for lunch with friends + fancy dinner): tank top + sports bra + leggings // Flowy maxi dress + denim jacket + sneakers or sandals (depending on the weather)
Full Day 4 (lots of walking and exploring + fancy dinner): blouse + denim jacket + skinny black jeans + sneakers
Full Day 5 (long museum day + lots of walking and exploring): tank + wide-legged pants + sneakers
Morning Plans, plus Travel Day 6 (re-wearing the same thing I wore on the way there): Denim jacket + chunky knit sweater + black tank top + sports bra + leggings + sneakers
Wearing on the plane:
Denim jacket: I love a denim jacket and have worn my own nearly eight-year-old jacket from Madewell so many times it's actually distressed, with holes forming on the elbows and front. It's the perfect, versatile layer (it works for multiple weather situations, as well as multiple outfits) so I always make sure to pack one for trips.
Chunky knit sweater: I purchased a chunky knit sweater from Doen earlier this year that has a slight pink tint so it looks great paired with other mostly neutral pieces and can mix-and-match if I need to throw on an extra layer (similar available here).
Black tank top: I think my tank is from Target circa 2005, but it's really important here to wear something super soft since it's going to be against your skin for a long flight! It makes a difference! Plus I think black is the chicest base layer you can wear at the airport, you'll just feel cooler.
Comfy sports bra: Make sure it's comfortable (like this one) so you can feel like you're in PJs on the plane!
Leggings: I've sworn by the same thick pair of Lululemons forever because they have a loose waistband (you do not want to be all vacuum-sealed in on an airplane) and are really warm (similar available here).
Sneakers: Something like this this pair from APL would be perfect because they're incredibly cute as walking shoes, but also have enough support to function as workout and running shoes! Whenever possible, bring items—especially shoes—that are multifunctional (I'm bringing some old Nikes that do the job but aren't half as cute!).
Short dress for evening: I'm bringing this short black velvet dress from Abercrombie and Fitch because it folds down to nothing, makes me feel sexy, and most importantly is about the easiest thing to throw on for drinks after a cross-Atlantic flight. (P.S., Did you see this discussion on our Facebook Group on A&F? We think it's made a comeback...)
Wide-legged pants: These pants from Everlane are super-practical but feel a little more special than plain jeans (I own an older version in olive, similar to this pair).
Cropped tank tops (x2): I love the look of a cute cropped tank with wide-legged pants, so I'm bringing two this trip—a crocheted top (similar here) and a smocked tank (similar here).
Running sports bra + leggings + tank top: I usually bring at least one work-out outfit when I travel since I think running is the best way to see a city (and maybe work off some Danish pastries too...).
Flowy maxi dress: We're going out to a casual lunch with friends, then to a fancy meal so I wanted to make sure I'm wearing something that's both comfortable but also cute enough to go from day to night. A flowy maxi dress is the perfect thing to wear any time you either 1. Don't know the dress code of an event, 2. Need to look casual for the day, and dressed-up for evening. I'll be wearing an option from Doen similar to this one!
Sandals: So that I have something a little more dressed-up than sneakers (though from what I've read, Danes wear sneakers everywhere so they aren't considered as casual there as they are here), I'm bringing a pair of pink metallic sandals that take up almost zero suitcase space. Mine are from Amanu, but this is an extremely similar pair.
Blouse: This top from Cupcakes and Cashmere (oh, hey!) is one of my favorite things in my closet—it's so versatile, chic, and practical. I'd wear it everyday if I could, so it makes it the perfect thing to bring on a trip, in this case styled in an all-black outfit. I'm picturing it with a high ponytail and berry-tinted lipstick.
Black skinny jeans: You can dress 'em down, you can dress 'em up. Black skinny jeans are so great to have on hand for a trip, especially to go day to night without a stop at the hotel.
Beauty: Botnia face wash, True Botanicals tinted SPF, brow gel, mascara, RMS 'Champagne Rosé Luminizer,' toothpaste, toothbrush
The other stuff: Socks (I love these no-show socks!), Natori strapless bra (goes with everything), underwear, sleep shirt
P.S., I'll be posting a full trip recap of our trip to Copenhagen when I'm back!