Monday, October 30, 2006

Packing For Weekend Trips

Normally, when I go somewhere for the weekend, I tend to pack half of my closet so that I always have backup outfits and appropriate attire if I get an unexpected invitation to a fancy restaurant or formal party (even if this hasn't happened yet, it might!). But in the last year I've made a concerted effort to down-size the amount of "stuff" I own, because I was dangerously close to becoming high-maintenance and I didn't want that.

So on Thursday night when I was preparing for my weekend in Maine, I packed everything I thought I'd need, and nothing more. I limited myself to a coat, a sweatshirt, 2 sweaters, a nice t-shirt, 2 pajama shirts, pajama pants, a pair of tennis shoes, a pair of dress shoes and a dress (we were going to a nicer restaurant so this was necessary). All of this fit in one overnight bag and a couple of hangers, and I was very pleased with myself.

While I had checked the weather beforehand and knew that there'd be rain, I didn't really think it through. Within the first hour of leaving the hotel, my jeans, tennis shoes and socks were soaked. Because I didn't bring extras, I was stuck, and there's nothing worse than cold, wet jeans and socks.

For once, I had the problem of not bringing enough clothes. The experience lead me to write a list of everything I should bring on future weekend trips, which I'll check out the next time I'm packing. Here are a few guidelines to follow so that you're never stuck with too few or too many clothes:

Consider what you'll be doing, and pack accordingly. This is pretty obvious, but in the rush of preparing for a trip, it's easy to forget to think through which clothes you'll need for each activity.

Check the weather before you begin packing. If it's going to rain or snow, make sure you have a waterproof coat, umbrella and extra pairs of socks, shoes and casual pants.

Plan on layering. A lot of times you'll leave your hotel in the morning when it's cold and won't get back until much later in the day when the temperature has changed, so you'll want to wear layers that you can add or remove depending on the weather.

Bring a few mix and match items
so that you can re-wear clothes with different outfits. I find it's helpful to pack around a few colors. I made sure that everything I brought this weekend would look good with my black coat, purse and shoes, which made getting dressed super easy.

Don't bring new shoes that haven't been broken in, you want to be comfortable and not worrying about foot pain or blisters.

Bring a nice outfit, unless you know for sure that you won't be going anywhere nice (if you're camping, for instance). Try to pick something that won't wrinkle or take up much space. You never know what might come up.

Also, try to go light on the accessories and limit yourself to two or three pairs of shoes that go well with what you've packed.

What you pack depends on who you are, where you're going and what you're doing, but the best advice I can give is to think carefully about what you really need, and try to avoid bringing anything that's not necessary for a short trip. Happy packing!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips! Packing advice is always needed. I'm actually about to leave for a weekend in Vegas with a girlfriend tomorrow!