By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Gone…

February 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

That’s right. Mr. H and I are off to our annual trip to Warmer Climes at “Nothing’s a Problem” resort. And the point of this post is not to make anyone feel bad about the weather and such. It is about showing you how I manage to go away for 14 days with one suitcase and a carryon that is also my “personal item”. (This comes up a lot with my friends who feel that I pack lightly, which I guess I do if you go by the size of my bags for any given trip.) We begin at the logical beginning…

The Brief

This is a warm weather trip at a resort, so I’ll be in swimsuits and coverups during the day and nothing but dresses, dresses, dresses (13 in fact) for night. At least one hat, two or three pairs of shoes for night and a few for day are required, as are accessories, entertainment, cosmetics and unmentionables. I am comfortable repeating outfits poolside, but for some reason, I can’t do it at night. So, here is what I do instead:

The Suitcase

Mandarina Duck. Not teeny, but not stupid big. It measures about 18 x 24 x 11 inches and my goodness, it holds a ton. I made my trip to Amsterdam, Paris, Bordeaux and back to Paris in April with this bag and was able to pack about 21 different outfits, including a evening coat with just this bag. It has something to do with the pockets. Amazing.

The Method

I begin by creating a spreadsheet that lists all the items of clothing that I am thinking of bringing and then making them into “travel”, “daytime” and “evening” outfits. This trip was pretty simple spreadsheet wise since the “repeats” were on a simple daytime rotation. Other trips require much more Excel time. However, I was able to pretty much get right to pulling clothes and wrapping them up for maximum space and safety in the suitcase. This is achieved as follows:

1) Organize

I try to put like things together…

These are the swimsuits. Seven of them, one of which I wear on the plane to avoid TSA mishaps and to make sure I have a swimsuit in case my luggage gets lost.

Coverups, which include several cotton dresses from one of my favorite new labels for daytime: Chinti & Parker. They make such comfy, interesting, well-made casual wear. Love them. (Available at Net-a-Porter.)

And at the request of my pilates instructor, some activewear. A set of three with my adorable Stella McCartney for adidas sneaks and my favorite pants from Ion Actif ( for “stockists” as the English like to say). I will use the hotel’s laundry service to ensure that I get six workouts in while away. I swear.

And the evening dresses. Not all of them are very dressy, since some nights will be more casual. Still I group them together and fold them with tissue to minimize creases. (I don’t care as much about slightly crinkled daytime stuff since the fabrics tend to un-crinkle quickly.)

2) Fold, Wrap and Bag

I like to wrap groupings of clothes in an outer layer of tissue and then put them in dry cleaner plastic. Those little bags your “soft and cuddly” sweaters come in are really perfect for this job:

You get the idea. And here is how I do the evening dresses:

Fold with tissue around, then fold it up…

et viola!

3) Accessories and Hard Choices

I have small feet, so it is easier for me to fit several pairs of shoes into a suitcase, but even I have to make choices on these items as well as bags, jewelry, sunnies and the like. Here is what I narrowed it down to:

The belts and cuff are put into the printed hat to help keep its shape while in the suitcase. And see that giant tote in the back? That is my carry on, which will hold all of my electronics, medications, travel docs, wallet, two magazines, that straw hat and my jewelry box. Everything else gets put into the bottom and sides of the main part of the suitcase:

It fits! Including three late additions:

4) Magazines go in the biggest front pocket.

And there are a lot of them! I need to keep busy doing nothing:

But they fit!

5) Cosmetics: Less is More

I take the essentials and as little makeup as possible. Still essentials add up, but I’ll be darned if all the Not OK in the cabin stuff also makes it into the bag:

6) The Carry On/ One Personal Item

It is big, but is will have everything I need in-flight and all my medications and things I can’t leave in my bag. Once at the resort, I use it as my poolside bag. We are very happy together. (And need I mention that the strap was recently expertly repaired by The Leather Spa??)

7) Travel Outfit

I am lucking out a tad since the weather won’t be so bad in the morning, but I also plan on being slightly cold on my way to the airport. Still better than lugging a coat. The scarf and summer sweater will be fine…

(See, I told you I like hearts. And I am still wearing those bright pink flats from last spring. That said, brights still seem to be A Thing this year. And no, I haven’t deluded myself into thinking I am Jennifer Aniston. The hat will go in the bag until I am officially in Warmer Climes.)

8) There is no “8”, so “Yay!”

Happy packing!


(Photos of My Insanity: Some Cozy Night)

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