Quite Continental Charm School: Day 25 — Travel Light

25/02/2012 § 6 Comments

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life
Image via the George Eastman House.

Day 25: Travel Light
On the topic of travel, we’ve already discussed what you should wear while you travel and keeping a journal, but I still wanted to touch on what I consider my best trick for a charming voyage, no matter if it is for a weekend or a month: always travel light.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I checked a bag on a plane, but it isn’t — thankfully — because I have a harrowing story of losing my cases on a trip.  I’ve been blessed to have never lost anything while travelling — knock on wood.  Instead, it was born from two distinct recognitions: First, that I have a definite lack of patience when it comes to travel: no patience to wait for the baggage carousel to fire up, no patience for dragging around heavy rollies in crowded train stations, no patience for checking in bags.  But second, and perhaps more importantly, I noticed a growing desire for simplicity while I was travelling.  I realized I didn’t need to drag along endless individual options in an overstuffed bag, but rather a multipurpose uniform that contained endless combinations.

I’ve since made two week trips to Cairo, London, Paris and Buenos Aires, all with only a carry-on.  While the ease in getting around while on the trip is refreshing, I must admit the hands down best part of travelling light is stepping through customs and heading straight for the taxi queue — don’t even give that baggage carousel a second glance!

A few tips to help you travel light:

  • When packing, first, pick a single color scheme: that way, everything will match everything.  Then, set out everything you want to bring, and try to cut it in half.  Get comfortable with the idea that you will repeat items.  Plan to do laundry while you are travelling and streamline your choices even further.
  • Ladies, your secret weapon is a single dress that can be dressed up or down.  Nice dinner? Add heels and a clutch. Casual walkabout? Throw a chambray shirt on over it and belt it at the waist.
  • Only bring the toiletries you absolutely cannot live without.  In most places, you can buy the basics.  If possible, stockpile samples of your essential items — they pack excellently.

How do you pack?  Do you travel light?

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life
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§ 6 Responses to Quite Continental Charm School: Day 25 — Travel Light

  • Anne says:

    I only discovered your blog very recently (through Even*Cleveland), but I find it quite charming indeed.
    About packing, the single colour scheme is my first criterium as well. On the last trip I made, I actually planned on paper what I would wear on each day. It made things much easier and the result was satisfying.

  • etoilee8 says:

    Oh sacre bleu, I want to be you. Two weeks on a simple carry on. That sounds like an urban legend. I’ve got four days with a carry on but two weeks!! Incroyable!

  • corrinne says:

    I first have to say I have found your dedicated posts on the ‘Charm School’ very refreshing. Many ideas have brought great memories back.

    I am so glad to see this post in your Charm School repetoire. Traveling light is something I have always wanted to do and never been able to. I am one of those gals, that after suffering a pulled muscle in my back, a broken nail, cuts in my hand from pulling that oversized case….I often think ‘did I really need that extra jacket, or the second pair of evening shoes’? I will definitely try some of your tips on my next trip, but I love variety in my clothing on holiday, and love looking at all the great fashion in my plethora of holiday snaps after. It’s a tough one, but traveling lighter is definitely more elegant!!

  • Jodi says:

    A few other tips I’ve taught my daughter in this category: if you must have boots on your trip, wear them. Don’t waste space packing them. It slows you down at security, but worth it in the long run.
    Wear a medium weight pashmina when you leave the house…it can be a light blanket on a chilly airplane or a cute accessory. When folded up, it fits nicely in your tote bag.
    A spritzer of water or toner is a traveling girl’s best friend. And worth the space in the quart-sized ziploc bag of liquids.

    Thank you for this fantastic blog…it’s nice to know I’m not the only one out there who should have probably lived in a different era. Sweatpants on airplanes is one of my biggest pet peaves.

  • […] I thought I would share Louis Vuitton’s Art of Packing.  You already know how I feel about packing light, and the kind of travel bags I prefer and some I even own, but I quite enjoyed this little clip and […]

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