I have something to share with you.
My girlfriend said I must be an expert packer. Hmm. Frequent traveler? Definitely. Do I have some packing secrets I could share with her? Absolutely.
One night trips are easy. Fill my lingerie bag, grab PJs, the toiletry bag(always packed and ready to go), a suit, a shirt, jeans that work with the shirt I travel in and flats(ballet or oxford!). In the morning, I’m in my suit and heels, just need my makeup bag (only have one) and a small bag of cashews or a KIND bar. DFW – here I come.
Longer trips – different story. I must use a list. Yes, I write out the days I am gone, the events for each day so I can mix and match my outfits. No, I don’t have to stick to what it says once I arrive but I will have numerous options if I plan it in advance.
First, the color choice. Am I going with black or neutral shoes? That determines everything. the suit, the pants, the tops, the dresses….it all comes down to the shoes.
Next, the events. Dinners at night or free time, tradeshow, client meetings or an internal conference? Time to change after meetings or outfits that go from day to night?
My longest trip is our annual sales conference in California(4-5 days). My standard outfit- black pants(Ann Taylor or Banana) or a black or gray suit, flats/heels depending if I am sitting or up and around most of the day, and on top, layers…a solid or printed blouse(Pleione is great), sleeve length dependent on location with a cardigan that I can wear on the plane so I don’t use room in my suitcase (Bobeau from Nordstom is my new favorite). Two pairs of jeans(one denim, one black or gray) and another comfortable but business casual pair of pants(Kut from the Kloth). And a belt, which stays in my bag since I seem to forget that the most.
The other trick – make the best use of the suitcase. My TUMI is not perfectly flat so my flat iron goes on one side and my pajamas on the other. Then it becomes flat and I can start folding sweaters and shirts like they do at retail stores(cross the arms and fold in half). My toiletry case is flat and square so it fits flat or standing on its side. Shoes always go in bags to protect my clothes. Sometimes I can get away with wearing the same suit twice in one trip if I only have one meeting on the first or third/fourth day. And if I can, I hit the hotel first so I can change quickly and be comfortable when I travel. Dresses are easy and don’t take up too much room in the hanging side of the suitcase. In the winter I try to match my outfits to a tall, flat boot for both comfort and warmth so I don’t have to pack them. In the summer, I can usually fit a pair of flat strappy sandals or flip flops in my backpack and leave my heels in the car between appointments. I finally mastered the art to packing in one carryon for multiple day trips, regardless of weather. The one exception – skiing.
Wait, let me correct myself. I was a frequent traveler with my old job. Now with only 1-2 trips a month, my suitcase is back in the closet where it belongs. Jessica, hope Chicago is fantastic! Bring me back some Garrett’s – caramel cashew please!