I am all for a mini vacation. Don't get me wrong, I love my full on vacations too... but a mini vacation just speaks to me. Pack up for a few days. Head out of town. Most likely there is no need to take PTO or prepare the office for while you are away. Just jump in the car or on the plane for a little breather. The hard thing about a mini vacation for me is the packing... I am a habitual over-packer. Three day trip? Seven shirts. Whoops... and when you are taking a road trip, that is no big deal. But on an airplane? That is a big deal. Especially because I hate checking bags. I try to avoid it at ALL costs. So I have been working really hard on packing light and packing right. And this last weekend when I went to California I finally nailed it. Three days of vacation in one backpack! I know, I didn't believe it either. But now I am here, living proof, to give you my mini vacation packing tips for carry on luggage.
Find the right bag. A bag is everything. I used to always use my smaller rolling bag, which is what often led to me over packing. I could always fit "just one more" shirt... and then that would turn into four more since the bag was roomy. While it was nice having the extra clothing, it wasn't nice having the extra laundry when I came home. I just got a new Cotopaxi bag that I am loving. The bag is great because it is small enough to use just for a day out hiking or something, but it is big enough for trips - I was able to fit my makeup, toiletries, straightener, a pair of shoes, a sweatshirt, three shirts, and three bottoms in it with room to spare.
It also doesn't hurt that Cotopaxi is a brand with a cause. They like to call it "Gear for Good". They are a brand new outdoor gear brand, with a social mission to eradicate poverty. I got the Cusco bag which benefits a school in Peru. They've got a ton of different sizes and styles of bags, so if you are looking for a good bag that is durable and has a bigger picture - I would start out there for sure. You can use the code "LOVETHESKINNYS" to get 10% off of your purchase.
Think of where you are traveling before you pack. I really love my hair dryer and I hate using other ones, so I always try to pack it. But lately I have realized that saving that space and just using a hotel hair dryer makes room for other items that I can't just use wherever I travel. Are you staying in a hotel? What items do they have that you wont need to pack? Things like hair dryers, a way to iron clothing, shampoo, conditioner. Are you going to visit a friend? What items do they have that you wont need to pack? Things like hair dryers, straightener, curling iron, shampoo, conditioner.. check with them before you pack too much.
Pack what you need. Like I said. I am the queen of over packing. And then when I get on vacation I tend to worry more about my clothing than about what I am actually doing that day. It could be the plague of social media everywhere, but I have come to terms with the fact that my followers will be my followers no matter what I wear. So now I only pack what I need. A shirt for every day of the trip + one spare. Underwear for every day of the trip + one spare. Bottoms are a little trickier... I don't know if I am the only one that re-uses pants/shorts, but that is they key to packing light. I tend to take the amount of days on the trip and divide it in half, then round up if needs be. So a 3 day trip divided in half is 1.5, rounded up is 2, so I would take two bottoms in addition to what I wear to travel in. As far as shoes and sweaters I try to take one of each. Sometimes I will take two pairs of shoes - one comfy pair and one pair of flats that are neutral and trendy if I want to look a little fancier.
Consolidate and downsize. Toiletries and makeup are always my downfall. Because of course I need every shade of lipstick I own no matter where I am, right? Wrong. For makeup I only take the things I wear every day - things like foundation, concealer, bronzer, mascara, blush, eyeliner, and eye shadow. For toiletries, I try to get travel size of everything. Target and Sally's have great options for both of those. Usually at Target I get face wash, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, contact solution, and deodorant. At Sally's I get hair spray and root pump.
When packing up my toiletries and makeup I get out my small travel bag and a ziplock bag. All the liquids like hair spray, root pump, contact solution, lotion, toothpaste, face wash go in the ziplock bag - this makes it easier for carry on luggage and for less messes in case one of the bottles opens during travel. Everything else goes in the travel bag. Once all the every day must have items are in I fill in the rest of the bag with lipsticks and other fun makeup items as a bonus.
Roll your clothes. This is an old trick that so many forget. Roll each clothing item up like a burrito as you go to pack it in your bag. It is a space saver and can give you a ton more room.
I have a few more travel tips that I will share as I go on the rest of my trips this summer, but my packing tips needed to come first since I am finally mastering it! This last weekend I kept telling Adam that I must have forgotten something since I had everything in such a small space, but at the end of my trip there wasn't one time that I thought, "I wish I would have packed that!" My best piece of advice is to start with a good bag. One that is easy to pack, one that is easy to lug around, and one that is durable. Don't forget you can get 10% off at Cotopaxi with the code "LOVETHESKINNYS". Do you like to take mini vacations? What sort of travel tips could you share? What makes packing easy for you?