Last week I spent three nights in Utah and three night in Arizona. Because I flew, I decided as usual to travel with only carry-on luggage. For me, it's a fun challenge to work out a system where I can carry everything I need in one nineteen inch rolling suitcase and one computer bag. People often ask how I can travel without checking a bag, so I thought I'd write a bit about how I pack. My basic reminder of what to pack is advice from Rick Steves: if you're not going to wear it three times, don't take it.
Layering was the most important part of my wardrobe planning because I was going to be in two very different climates. I took a navy fleece jacket and a black fleece vest. I also threw in a red hoodie which it turned out I only wore once. My reasoning for taking it was two-fold. It was a possible gift for my grandson, but it didn't fit him. And if it was really really cold in Utah, I would have a third layer to keep me warm. Accessories included a light turquoise cowl, a long turquoise silk scarf, a dark teal pashmina shawl (for the plane), a thin black fleece cap and a pair of black gloves. I wore everything except the hat.
Here is a list of the other clothes. I needed enough for the whole seven days I was gone because I didn't want to do any laundry.
2 pair of black slacks (probably could have limited myself to 1 pair)
1 pair jeans
1 short sleeved t-shirt (dark grey for casual times in Arizona)
2 long sleeved t-shirts (1 white, 1 light aqua)
3 light weight sweaters (lavender with white and black argyle, purple also with argyle, aqua with cables)
2 white camisoles (to wear under the sweaters)
1 white sleeveless top (for Arizona)
1 3/4 length sleeve white cardigan (again, for Arizona)
small purse to use while not in transit
I took 2 pairs of shoes, but it turns out I only wore the slip on flats a couple of times. I could have taken only the other pair of black tie shoes and been fine. Add 4 pairs black socks.
Because everything was color coordinated to match the black slacks or jeans, it was easy to layer the black vest with a long sleeved shirt, add a cowl or scarf and be toasty warm and still look dressy casual.
The hardest part of carrying those layers was packing up the two fleece pieces in the suitcase on the last leg of the journey from Arizona back to Los Angeles. It was just too warm to wear them, so I stuffed them in the suitcase.
The other trick to not checking a bag is to have only small amounts of liquid items. Through the years, I've collected little bottles to use for air travel. Lotion, make up remover, mouthwash and shampoo all go in travel size bottles. Often I wrap them in their own sandwich baggies and then put them in the quart sized bag. When I'm in transit, I keep the baggie in my computer bag for easier access. Soap, toothpaste and non liquid make up go in a separate bag with cotton balls and q-tips.
Clothes and personal items have become easy for me to downsize and limit myself during a trip. Where I still struggle is in taking too many books and too many knitting projects! Why am I always so optimistic about how many books I will read and how many hats or scarves I'll knit? I thought I had done well to choose 'only' three books and three projects! I did read two of the books and I would have finished all the knitting projects except I ended up BUYING two skeins of yarn to make a hat for grandson's friend. It was one of those balls of yarn that fell out of my computer bag in the security line and made a run down the aisle.
When you travel, do you check a bag? Do you take only carry-on bags? What's your best tip for easy travel?