Travel Helene dresses very differently from At Home Helene. Travel Helene picks outfits based on color schemes for the destinations. At Home Helene picks outfits based on comfort with disregard for holes and/or stains. I'm one of those people that pack way before my trip. This makes it difficult because I live with a man who packs mere minutes before we need to be walking out the door. But somehow it works for him. Regardless of the kind of packer you are, these six tips are going to make sure your packing is going to be easy, faster, and going to fit it all in.
I'm a big believer in fitting everything into a carry on. I packed for a 22 day excursion to Southeast Asia in one backpack, you can pack for a week long trip in one, too. And I promise, we will fit everything and make sure you look cute.
1. It's in the Bag
You NEED a good bag. I am so thrifty that I'll look twice at the “$22.90” price tag at Forever 21 before purchasing. But there are certain things in life that are worth it. A good travel bag is one of those. There are a lot out there, so you need to do your research for YOUR needs. Here's what I wanted in mine: would unzip so I could see all my items. I had a top loading back pack before, so in order to get to my swimsuit at the bottom, I had to dump everything out. I also wanted side pockets for things like underwear, socks, or dirty clothes. Carry on size, so I could fly with it. A sturdy laptop sleeve. I travel with my laptop so I can edit photos and blog posts, so a safe place for my laptop is necessary. For me, the Osprey Porter fit the bill.
Depending on what kind of traveler you are, find the right bag for you. If you're more of a backpacker/hiker, you might not think the Porter bag is the best bet. You might want a heavy duty, long haul backpack. If you're more stylish you might like this Longchamp Expandable travel bag.
One of the best ways to make your pack light but still look put together is to accessorize. I always bring a scarf (especially good if the temperature drops or for sun protection) and some fun jewelry.
My go-to is the cute accessories from 7 Charming Sisters. They have fun, funky, and beautiful jewelry for any taste. What I love about this line is that there are so many different options, no matter your style. There are seven different lines of jewelry and one for your unique style.
There are two pieces of jewelry I ALWAYS travel with: a simple, wear everyday necklace and fun earrings.
I get a lot of questions about the simple necklace I wear. I think it's a nice touch to always wear a necklace that doesn't weigh you down, that I can even wear hiking, but is still versatile enough to wear to dinner. I carry this “So Happy I Could Dance” rose gold necklace and usually wear it straight on the plane or train.
Next, I always bring fun, bright earrings. I think earrings are the best way to make a statement and the best way to spice up your outfit. If I wore these “Catch Some Rays” geometric earrings, even with a plain white t, I'd look dressed up. I love the colors and how versatile they are.
I also have my eye on these beautiful beaded earrings and this awesome silver statement necklace. To me, these pieces are perfect for travel because it can easily take your look up a notch, without taking up too much space in your luggage.
I love this company because it is so different from others out there. 7 Charming Sisters is the brainchild of seven “work sisters” who've been colleagues for 10 to 15 years. The sisters are not only the owners, they represent each jewelry line: Paula, the elegant Executive, Kim, the vivacious Life of the Party, Jennifer, the dedicated Fashionista, Donalda, the flirtatious Social Butterfly, Jessica, the smart and Sexy Nerd, Kimberly, the cute All-American Girl and Melissa, the sporty Super Mom. What's more is that 7 Charming Sisters has a deep commitment to helping those with disabilities find jobs and employs disabled people in their studio. Many of their handmade pieces are handcrafted by those with intellectual disabilities who earn commission.
A company that gives back, with incredible pieces is so important to me. You can use code “HeleneInBetween15” for 15% off your entire 7 Charming Sisters order, excluding sale items.
3. Pick a few colors
I always travel with black, white, and blue. These colors go so well together so I can mix and match and everything will flow. Of course, I throw in some other colors (pink, is my favorite) but if I have these colors I know I can add in my accessories and still make it work. When I have some of these colors I'm able to keep my packing to a minimum.
Lots of people tell you to “mix and match” when traveling but that doesn't really tell you what to bring. I suggest keeping it basic. That means: jeans or shorts, a white button up shirt or dress, a black tee or tank top. This way you have a choice from what you wear, but it still looks like a brand new outfit when you switch up what you bring.
4. Travel in the heavy stuff
If I bring jeans or boots, I'll fly in them. That way there's more room in my suitcase for other things. Of course, this usually means I'm wearing it on the way home. But I usually like to leave a bit of room for souvenirs (I'm a sucker for sweatshirts and t-shirts with the name of the place I went to) so I know I can stuff it back if I don't want to wear it on the way home.
If it's warmer, I'll wear my jeans and tennis shoes, since that usually takes up the most space. Recently, when I went to Ireland, I traveled with a sweatshirt on, despite it being warmer in Germany, I knew it would be chilly in Ireland. Since this would take up the most space, I'm glad I wore this on the plane.
5. The Odd Necessities You Might Not Think Of
Ever since I started traveling to London with my family when I was 14 my Mom would say, don't forget the wet wipes! In case you're in a pinch for a shower, it's super hot, or you just want to clean off your hands, it's a good idea to always have wet wipes. I know I've used them for a pseudo shower when the one in our hostel in Amsterdam was well, sub par. Let's just say I think too many people had some edible brownies and then destroyed the shower.
A sleep mask is a must. If the hotel room doesn't have proper blinds and the light comes streaming in at 5 am, this isn't going to work. I try to get as many hours possible when I am sleeping while traveling. So to do that I bring: a sleep mask, ear plugs, and a pillow case. Yes a pillow case might seem extreme, but it's so easy to pack. And if you don't end up using it, it can double as a dirty clothes bag!
6. How Much To Really Bring
Let's get down to the numbers, because I think that will help you visualize how I pack. For say a 7 day trip I'd bring (depending on the climate of course):
2 pairs of shorts
1 pair of jeans
1 sleep shirt
1 pair of pj pants
1 pair of leggings
1 pair of tennis shoes
1 pair of flip flops
3 sets of earrings
I like to also put on my makeup that I'll wear for the whole trip, the day of departure. That way I can see if I'm really using it all. If I don't use it on my face or body when getting ready, it doesn't need to come. This helps keep my bag in check and makes sure it's not too heavy.
Honestly, this is a bit much! You could have potentially 15 – 20 different outfits here if you mixed and matched. But really, you aren't bringing that much and it makes it easy to get dressed so you can get to the point of your trip: to explore.
You can get 15% off your order of some of the prettiest jewelry from 7 Charmping sisters with my code “HeleneInBetween15”. Happy packing!
Don't forget anything! Get my ultimate packing guide:
Free packing checklist
Absolutely everything you need to take on a trip.