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Travel is in my blood, it’s part of my body’s actual make up, I’m sure of it. Or at least I’m sure of one thing, remaining still for too awful long gives me the itch to venture out and explore. What’s funny about the whole juxtaposition of it… when I’m home, I’m a total homebody. I could stay in jammies and cuddle with my babies all day. I could bake up treats in the kitchen, prance around my home with our own family dance parties and snack on popcorn while binge watching Netflix or indulging in a good book. And then it comes… the desire to venture somewhere different and exciting, to check out cafes and donut shops, to sip on coffee from a barista in another climate, to see the architecture native to the city around me.

With years of travel, mostly for work, but with plenty of fun and a few family road trips thrown in, I’ve learned how to pack. And it’s so different for every situation. I can pack up a family of six into two suitcases for a full week (including winter gear!)… yes, this just happened. I can pack for an infant to tote along with me for a week and a half of work and fun mixed together. And through it all, I’ve learned that the KEY to travel light is to pack items that can mix and match. Now I’m not a minimalist packer by any means, but I always look for the balance between style and a light bag.

Recently, I had a long weekend trip, and I’m sharing what I packed and just how to pack light and still stay stylish with a simple neutral palette!

Even with just the items shown here, I can get about 4-5 days worth of outfits! Throw in an extra tee or tank and that expands even more. So, let me break down how to pack!

Jet Set How To: Travel Light

Pick a neutral palette. 

Many times for me, this includes gray, black and white. This time however, I went with brown as a base neutral, along with black. All of these neutrals can mix, match and work together in different ways. A brighter accent color can easily be thrown in as well, and what I like is that just about any item can be worn with any other item in my suitcase.

Think about where you’ll be.

No two suitcases (or what’s in them) are alike. Usually travel takes you to different climates and offers different activities. If I were traveling to a beach town or summer vacation, my list would be completely different. If I were headed to a place where hiking was on the agenda, I would need to either add in our change out a few items. Knowing what kind of climate you’re headed into, what activities you want to partake in and what the culture is like are all important factors in planning your travel light suitcase. For this particular trip, the weather was a classic fall temp and I knew it was a quick visit with meetings in the city, meaning a little walking (stylishly comfortable shoes), cafe visits and some sightseeing.

Fill your categories.

Basically, you don’t want to be stuck with pants and tee shirts and that’s it… unless that is the only thing you wear and in that case, you’re all set! But to be able to mix and match and make the most of a few items, take along differing pieces. For example, you do need pants, but you don’t need two pair of black jeans. Fill each category with an item and move on to the next one. Typically the categories will look something like this:

  • Tee and Tank (for this you’re allowed more than one depending on the number of days)
  • Dress
  • Jeans
  • Pants (either another color denim, but even better is another material)
  • Jacket
  • Flats
  • Heels (optional)
  • Sneaker (optional)
  • Scarf
  • Tote bag
  • Small purse

Taking items in each category that can mix and match will ensure the most variety and outfits for the maximum number of days. 

Wear the chunkiest items.

I plan it out so that the bulkier, heavier items are worn on the plane or for the travel day. Usually this means jeans, sneakers or boots, a scarf/blanket scarf (because I enjoy using it as a blanket on a plane!) and a jacket come along with me for a travel day and the rest can fit easily in a carry on or small suitcase.

See these outfits in our newest YouTube video!

So what would be your number one tip to travel light??

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