Ahead of the Pack

Staff members try to move a huge trolley case during the 100th Chinese Export Commodities Fair in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong province October 15, 2006. This trolley case has been certified as the world's largest by the Guinness World Records and measures 175cm (5ft 9in) by 115cm (3ft 9.3in) by 46cm (1ft 6.1in) thick. Picture taken October 15, 2006. CHINA OUT REUTERS/Alvin Chan (CHINA)
This trolley case has been certified as the world’s largest by the Guinness World Records and measures 175cm (5ft 9in) by 115cm (3ft 9.3in) by 46cm (1ft 6.1in) thick. CHINA OUT REUTERS/Alvin Chan (CHINA)

I recently returned from a girl’s weekend and when I met my friends at the airport they seemed equally fascinated and horrified by the fact that I was traveling with only one small carry-on bag.  Mind you, this getaway was only for five days!  But even for longer trips I try to keep within the confines of one carry-on size roll aboard and a tote.  It reduces my stress, lessens the chance for lost items and increases flexibility if travel delays and/or interruptions occur.

  • Keep footwear to a minimum!  Shoes are usually one of the heaviest things to pack.  I try to go with three pairs (including the pair I’m wearing) or less.  If you are going to be dressing up, pick a skin-tone neutral sandal that will work with everything from dresses to jeans and a cami.  Choose something comfortable for day – a sandal, ballet flat, boot or sneaker based on your style and the weather at your destination.  Always try to wear whatever item is heaviest (usually a boot or sneaker).
  • Pack a palette that works together!  For me, this is usually a combo of black/white/grey and denim.  Scarves and jewelry add pops of color.  Don’t panic if you dislike neutrals – you can still find a palette that works together – think ombré shades, olive/peach/caramel or grey/teal/eggplant. Google color palettes if you need inspiration!  Packing items that can be layered helps when you will experience a variety of climates.
  • Pack efficiently!  Through years of trial and and error, the infographic below highlights the packing method that works best for me.  It’s a 3-layer approach with shoes and packing cubes or bags containing smaller items on the bottom, a divider piece in the middle and folded clothes on top.  The divider piece allows me to easily lift off the top layer of folded clothes and access items in the bottom.


Lastly, don’t be afraid to either re-wear some items or do laundry on the road.  It’s a great way to meet both locals and other travelers!

Author: Betsy Ramsey

Betsy Ramsey is the author of Natty Gal. Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, she now lives there with her husband and Bichon-Frise, Dolce. A mindful fashion & capsule wardrobe enthusiast, she travels extensively, visiting 56 countries to date. Betsy is committed to helping others live their most fulfilling life!

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