What’s on your suitcase?
Are you the type of traveler who crams every imaginable dress in sight, tucking about ten shirts, five pants and three shoes for a 5 day, 4 night trip? Or are you someone who can fit an entire wardrobe choices in a small, carry on backpack.
For this trip: I am carrying:
- A pair of jeans
- 1 NorthFace winter jacket
- 2 black skirts
- 3 shirts
- 3 leggings
- 2 pairs of gloves
- 2 beanies/hat
- 1 wrinkle-free dress (to be paired with black tights and worn during the trip to the DMZ)
- 2 long-sleeves sweaters
- 2 scarves
- my pink winter boots
- appropriate number of underwear/socks
Plus: my “blankie” — the old bear stuff toy I always carry with me wherever I go
When I first started traveling, I didn’t know any better. I will cram every imaginable dress in sight, the same as my accessories and shoes (like three types of shoes for a 4D, 3N trip!) — I was that clueless. Thus, I was always the one waiting on the baggage carousel, lugging heavy bags and basically looking like a complete klutz every time I emerge out of the airport and/or airport train.
My grand aspirations to look like this, has remained nothing but an aspiration:
It was until a particularly inconvenient and annoying dragging of the luggage in Busan and Seoul in 2012 that I finally said to myself that I had to stop carrying my whole house, save for the cat, each time I travel. I ditched the last-minute packing, stopped myself from carrying my shoe collection and instead learned to identify key pieces in choice colors in my wardrobe. Hence, I limit my colors to two or three colors then pick a shoe that would work best with the clothes I have at hand. I also got myself a 10-kilo luggage with expandable zippers so that I no longer have to check my luggage at the plane.
In the end, I learned to edit, edit and have one final edit of my clothes the night before the trip. This way, I save luggage space which I can then use for my souvenirs (which are also not that many, considering I am not a big fan of omiyage shopping).
I also referred to the internet for good tips coming from well-known and experienced travel writers on how to pack smartly and efficiently. Here’s a really good one from Rick Steves.
Little by little, I have learned to pack smartly until I have learned to plan ahead the clothes I will wear — often times, I will bring clothes that I can wear more than once, like good sturdy jeans and sweater (if its cold). I also opt for soft, wrinkle-free items. I also managed to limit my toiletries to small items, usually in small carry-on, clear bottles and packaging. In packing and sealing liquids and gels, know that bringing zip-lock is your best friend.
When I went to Tokyo, I updated my luggage to 20 kilos but still made sure to pack smartly. While I will need to check-in my luggage for the Seoul trip next week, I have already managed to whittle down the things I will bring, taking into consideration that I will need to also bring thick jackets, scarves and warmers since it’s already winter there according to Accuweather.
I will still do a final edit of the items above the night before my trip. I am sure that I will still manage to limit the things I will bring, making way for the early Christmas shopping I can do in Seoul.