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How To Pack Light

by jenny sansouci on January 29, 2015

Hey friends –

I’m at the airport right now at JFK, waiting to board my flight to Abu Dhabi en route to Mahe Island. Who knows how much wifi I’m going to have for the next 12 days, so it’s going to be an adventure. πŸ™‚

To prepare for this trip, I knew I didn’t want to bring a lot of luggage because I’ll be fairly mobile most of the time – traveling from place to place, not staying in one place the whole time. It would be quite the drag to have to lug a big suitcase around while island hopping, right?

Another reason I’ve learned to pack light is because last year I went to Nicaragua and all my luggage was lost. I had bought so much new stuff for the trip, and it alllll disappeared, just like that. It honestly wasn’t a huge deal to me at the time, especially after seeing the local people in Nicaragua and how little some of them have. I felt almost grossed out at how much “stuff” I had compared to them. So when my suitcase was lost, I said, hey, I really don’t need it all. Plus, the airline reimbursed me (thanks American). πŸ™‚

So, long story short, I haven’t checked a bag since then (aside from when they make me check it at the plane when there’s no more room in the carry-on containers). I travel A LOT (pretty much monthly) and I’m proud to say I always take carry ons only.

Here are the steps I take when preparing to pack light. It goes through phases. πŸ™‚ Warning, it takes a little while, but it ensures that you only bring the most important things on your trip.

1) Take out everything that you *might* want to bring on the trip. This usually ends up being a huge pile of stuff that would never fit in a carry-on, but I do this anyway. It’s kind of like on the Bachelor, when he goes through the first round of 25 women. You have to see ALL of them first!

2) Have your first elimination round. This is the round where you try on everything on. You ONLY keep things that are a “fuck yes.” Not things that “might look good on you once you have a tan” or “looked great on you on your last trip.” Only things that you look in the mirror and you’re like YES, I would wear this RIGHT now and feel amazing. Everything else goes back in your closet.

3) Have your second elimination round. This is where things get serious. You have to go through your “fuck yes” pile of clothes and eliminate any duplicates. If you have a few things that are similar to each other, toss all but one. You can wear the same skirt multiple times, nobody cares. (HintΒ  – bringing plain colored things – black, white, gray, etc can be smart because you can wear them multiple times with different accessories – you do not need a completely different outfit for every single day of your trip. You do not).

4) Get real about what toiletries you need. You do not need your entire cabinet full of stuff. What are the things you MUST use every day (toothbrush, face wash/lotion, deodorant, essential makeup items, hair brush, razor) and bring the smallest amount you might need. You don’t need a bunch of bottles of fancy products. If you do accidentally leave something important, you can always get it at the airport. Really.

5) Shoe elimination round. Dun dun dun. This one is probably hard for a lot of you, but let’s be serious. Depending on where you’re going, you do NOT need 7 pairs of shoes. I’m not a fancy girl, so admittedly I don’t even own a lot of shoes. But if I’m going somewhere warm, I bring ONE pair of casual flip flops, 1 pair of cuter sandals for going out to dinner/etc, and my running shoes. If I’m going somewhere cold, I bring my running shoes and 1 pair of boots that I’d wear out. That’s it.

6) Final elimination round. This is where you actually pack everything into your carry-on bag. Does it all fit comfortably? Great! You win. If it still doesn’t fit, you need to eliminate more. Pick out a couple of things that might be taking up a lot of space in your bag (do you really need 3 hoodies and that huge puffy sweater? Pick the things that are taking up the most space and eliminate). You WILL be ok.

I like to get my stuff eliminated down to one duffel bag (pretty large size but still small enough to be counted as a carry-on) and 1 backpack for my laptop, book, journal/pen, chargers and supplements/snacks.


Ok, that’s my protocol for packing light. I’m getting better and better at it the more I travel, I think. One day I’ll be able to travel with just a backpack. Maybe. πŸ˜‰

Do you have any tips for packing light? Lemme know! I’m a work in progress and I LOVE condensing things down to only what’s needed.

On another note, my dear friend Katie Dalebout from Wellness Wonderland just told me about this DOPE website called Unfancy” — it’s a fashion blog that focuses on minimalist fashion – she has 37 articles in her wardrobe ONLY for each season, and she creates outfits for every day from those items, and doesn’t buy anything new for 3 months. It’s really cool, and it’s inspiring me, and I just love all of her outfits.

Minimalist travel and minimalist fashion makes me excited, because clutter isn’t cool.

I’ll be blogging more hopefully from my trip – tomorrow’s blog will likely be written from the Abu Dhabi airport (where they have SLEEPING PODS, ahhhh I can’t wait).

Pack light! Travel light! BE THE LIGHT!


Love you guys!!!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anik March 2, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Thanks for the great tips Jenny!!! I’m leaving for Miami in 2 days and I’m going to go minimalize my suitcase right now! πŸ˜‰ #eliminationround1


Lillian Griffin November 16, 2015 at 6:00 am

Fantastic advices!I have rule of three pairs of shoes – one on me and two in the bag. Thank you for sharing such an useful tips! I am going to use them soon. Best regards!


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