The Consummate Traveler – Packing Tips for Extended Trips

June 3, 2015 Updated: June 3, 2015

In just a few days I will be heading out for a long two month voyage, half for business and half for pleasure. Needless to say, packing has been a challenge. This was especially the case because I needed a variety of clothes and accessories to cover the different aspects of my trip, which ranged from boardrooms and beaches. While I have packed and unpacked a few times, the art of editing down a stuffed suitcase has never been my strong suit. Here are a few big lessons I learned in preparation for this excursion:

  1. Pick a wardrobe color scheme – With so many outfits in my closet, deciding what to bring was a rather daunting task. I found that narrowing things down to four main colors for both my casual and work clothes helped me pair down my choices and simplified my mixing and matching abilities. The hues I chose were black, white, blue and coral. I applied this theme not only to my clothes but also to my shoes, jewelry and accessories. This made an overwhelming task feel much easier.
  2. Wear it two ways – After I decided my colors and selected clothes accordingly, I found that my
    suitcase was still too full for my liking. A key question I asked myself to further reduce my load was whether I could use the article of clothing for both casual and business purposes. For example, could a blue T-shirt be worn with jeans on the weekend and under a jacket for the office? Likewise, could navy capri pants take me to the beach with sandals and be appropriate for business meetings when worn with heels? If the answer was yes, the item could stay in my bag. If not, I removed it.
  3. Size matters– An obvious trick I used to pack even lighter was to reduce the size of the suitcase I wascarrying. At first I had a 30-inch bag, but on further glance, it felt too bulky to handle on a train ride I would be taking during my trip. Instead, I repacked everything into a 25 inch suitcase, which forced me to remove a few more items. This size felt perfect to be able to navigate the busy airports and train terminals I would be facing.
  4. Buy bulky items later – If you are planning a longer excursion and are struggling for space to fit one more pair of shoes you just can’t live without, a great way to make room is to ditch any bulky toiletries and buy them on arrival. This includes such items as face wash, moisturizers, soaps, razors and shaving cream. You will be surprised at how much room you can save with this approach. In most countries, you should have no problem finding a decent variety of these goods in supermarkets or convenience stores.

As always, I wish you the happiest of travels!