“Ma’am, your bag is 12 kg overweight”. I found myself being told these dreaded words not too long ago while trying to board a flight. My bag was over the limit and at a $5/kg charge, I was none too pleased. After years of traveling you’d think I would know how to pack by now, but alas, this is a common problem for me.
So, in order to help all of you out there with similar problems and perhaps teach myself a thing or two, M (whose passport has been stamped too many times to count) and I have compiled a list of the bare necessities to pack.
(Sidenote: this is a reference for packing when you are going to a warm climate, winter packing requires an entirely different list).
M & R’s Essential Packing List
–Black flats: Black is key because they can be worn with anything to anywhere
–Heels: This all depends on the nature of your trip but if you’re like M, a heel is a necessity! You never know when you’re going to want to kick it up a notch!
–A cardigan (any colour): My instinct is to pack black, because like the flat, it can go with anything but if you want a lighter coloured one go for it. Cardigans are essential items for those cooler nights and do not take up much room
–Light jacket or blazer: Like the heel, you need a dressier item for dinners or business, I try to avoid a black blazer if I’m in a warmer climate so light grey or white is a good choice.
–Shorts: A dressier pair of shorts is the better way to go if you have limited space. I bought black cuffed ones from Club Monaco and wear them everywhere! A short that isn’t jean or ripped can be dressed up or down making them the perfect short for travelling.
–Dark jeans: I am one pair away from skinny jean rehab so that’s what comes with me but pack whatever style you wear the most of. If you are like M and are not a jean-aholic than a skinny black pant will do just fine as well.
–Dress: Any colour or style will work depending on your needs; they can be dressed up with accessories for night, and can be dressed down with flats for the day. Just be careful not to bring one that requires ironing or is a delicate fabric, it’s not always easy to get the best care for clothes while away.
–White T-Shirt: A staple of my wardrobe, the white t-shirt can be worn with everything listed above. And, like the dress, can be accessorized to be dressier if you need to wear it with a skirt (or the dressy shorts!)
–Scarf: As you will learn, I am a scarf fanatic. I never go anywhere without one (or two!) as these are the easiest ways to bring colour and pattern to your wardrobe without compromising space AND can keep you warm on cooler nights or in air-conditioned restaurants. Pack one that is colourful but easy to match with and in a fabric that doesnt require too much care-cashmere is my personal favourite.
So there you have it. Edit as you wish, it is merely a guideline but one that serves us well.
A general note: never pack anything you can’t afford to lose. My luggage has been lost before and nothing is worse than thinking you’ve lost all your favourites items.
And my final note, always, ALWAYS check your airline’s baggage allowances! I’ve learned the lesson for all of us.