I've taken 2-week international trips with only a carry-on. My best packing tip is to focus on one color.
19.09.2023 - 20:09
Two summers ago, I sat on my unzipped suitcase in the middle of New Zealand's Auckland Airport and attempted to squeeze my bag shut.
Strangers avoided eye contact when they spotted me: a helpless over-packer. Sweat glistened on my forehead as I attempted to zip up the bag. I was already wearing a tank top, sweater, and jacket. Next to me was a tote bag with more clothes and souvenirs. Nearby, my backpack was also stuffed to the brim.
I prayed no one would question my three carry-on bags instead of the allotted two. I also vowed to never overpack again.
Since then, I've done two more international trips and I'm convinced I've mastered the skill of packing. My biggest tip: stick to one color.
After living in New York for three years, I fell into the cliché of wearing all black. Initially, I thought it was an NYC uniform, and hence, a requirement to be trendy in the city. Later, I realized it makes life a whole lot easier.
My abundance of black clothes means I can mix and match textures and garment shapes while never doubting if the color combinations go together.
When it came to travel, I felt pressured to never wear the same outfit twice on a trip and pack fun colors for years. But the pressure just created more stress for vacations that were supposed to be carefree.
I realized that if wearing mainly black makes my day-to-day life easier, it'd probably make my vacation life easier, too.
One color means that more items in my suitcase go together. This allows me to mix and match pieces to create new shapes and new fits without repeating an entire outfit.
Plus, it saves me room in my bag. More of my items go together, which means I can pack less while creating plenty of outfit options.
Having a majority of clothes that match leaves room for statement items I'm confident I'll wear.
For example, earlier this year I embarked on a two-week trip to Japan. My suitcase was filled with dark clothes, which gave me the confidence (and suitcase space) to pack my polka-dot coat.
I knew that my all-black outfits would match the coat, so my statement piece could be worn over and over again. If I had packed other patterns or more colorful clothes, I likely would've worn the coat just once or twice instead of every other day.
For a two-week trip across Italy and Cyprus, I followed a similar rule and mainly stuck to black clothing.
Here, my statement pieces were accessories and shoes. I wore colorful earrings, I rocked platform sandals, I packed trusty button-downs, and I found pops of colors in scarves and jewelry I purchased during the trip.
One fear I had when I started wearing mainly black on trips was that it might look like I was wearing the same thing in every picture.
I combat that by packing different types