Lighten Your Load: Tips from a Master Packer by Ina Yulo

Have time, will travel. That seems to be the motto I’ve lived by since I first moved to Europe 6 years ago. Since then, I’ve completed a Masters degree, worked for global start-ups, lived in two countries, and have visited over 40 more. I also managed to get myself a job that requires me to travel to attend different conferences around the world.

After doing a few work trips, I quickly found out that it isn’t all it’s cut out to be. My hectic schedules and work commitments mean that I see the inside of an exhibition center more than I see the actual city I’m visiting. It often also means that I have had to learn how to pack light and smart—a skill I’ve perfected through the many short weekend trips around Europe I’ve done with friends. Just like traveling, packing is an art. Once you’ve figured out your style and aesthetic, it all comes together easier than you think.

Power trousers

Whether you favour a pair of jeans, leggings, slacks, or trekking pants, a good pair of trousers are the foundation of your packed wardrobe. They may be one of your heavier pieces, but the good part is, you only really need one good pair. You can then use your remaining space and weight allowance for a number of lighter tops to pair them with. People will hardly realize that you’re wearing the same bottoms multiple times, but make sure you’ve picked a nice solid color that you can easily match with your other items. It also saves you time thinking of what to wear!

Travel-sized toiletries

This is an obvious one, but it’ll save you a lot of time and money to keep a stash of travel-sized toiletries that you only use on your trips. I keep them in a specific bag and leave them in the same place in my house or in the suitcase or bag I always use when I Travtravel and I don’t touch them unless I’m on a trip. This makes it easy to just grab-and-go when it’s time for me to head out.

Go nude

Shoes can be bulky and annoying to pack. They take up a lot of space, weight allowance, and are weirdly-shaped. However, you can’t just nix the pair of heels if you’re attending a conference much like you can’t leave your hiking boots behind before that trek. Try as much as you can to only pack one pair of bulky footwear and try to get them in a neutral color (nude or black heels are my #1 go-tos for conferences). They’ll go with everything you wear but will still pack a punch.

Accessorize

You can get away with wearing the same outfit many times if you change it up with a few good accessories. I like to pack at least two bold-colored necklaces to dress up my look. A bold piece will draw attention to the accessory and away from a seemingly familiar outfit.

Put on some weight

I always try to wear my heaviest and bulkiest items instead of packing them. This means putting on my hiking boots in the car on the way to the mountains, or wearing my winter coat to the airport. As long as it doesn’t get in the way of my comfort, it helps to save space in my luggage and allows me to squeeze in more items that I need.

Every little bit counts

Make sure that you are utilizing every last bit of space in your suitcase. If I bring leather purses or shoes on my trip, I stuff underwear and t-shirts inside them. It helps to keep their shape during the trip and it’s also a good space-saving tip!

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