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Packing smarts for a great weekend getaway

MELANIE DULOS, Contributor MELANIE DULOS, Contributor

If you’re planning a weekend getaway, it’s time to start thinking about the task every traveler dreads: packing.

Most people struggle between two extremes — either they pack too little or way too much. But there is a middle ground, and you can make it through a three-day weekend without incurring additional luggage fees or feeling like you have nothing to wear.

Follow these five simple tips to avoid any future baggage mishaps and make packing for your next three-day vacation a breeze:

Photo Credit: dexknows.com

Size matters. We’ve all been there. We buy a larger bag thinking we’ll have so much more space for everything.

No more squished-in clothes, no more sitting on your suitcase struggling to get that zipper closed. But with a bigger bag, you’ll find that instead of packing the same amount as before, the extra space gives you license to edit less and bring more.

So next time you go away, particularly for a weekend, choose a bag that is carry-on size or slightly larger. This will ensure that you don’t needlessly over-pack and will virtually guarantee no extra handling fees. And, even if you’re not flying, you won’t have to worry about lugging around an unwieldy suitcase.

Play favourites. If you only follow one tip on this list, follow this one: Pack your favourite things. When you go into your closet each day, how many of those items do you actually wear? Probably only about 10 to 15 per cent.

We all have standbys that we love to wear, feel good in and reach for again and again. So, when you’re going away, why not pack the items that are already on heavy rotation in your closet? Now’s not the time to bring that pretty, yet uncomfortable skirt that you’ve never worn or those gorgeous shoes that you love but hate how much they hurt your feet. If it’s not in your regular rotation, don’t pack it. It will needlessly take up space and you’ll come home with it the same way you left with it — unworn.

Rule of three. For women, deciding what to bring often gets more complicated when it comes to shoes. Shoes take up a lot of space and, let’s face it, we have shoes for just about every outfit. As a general rule of thumb, don’t bring more than three pairs of shoes. Wear one pair when you travel (try a comfortable, yet dressy flat) and pack a pair of heels and a pair of running shoes (if you plan on working out while away). If you’re taking the weekend off your workout routine, add another pair of casual shoes to the mix.

Versatility. To save space, bring items that can be worn more than once. A pair of jeans can be worn with flats or heels and all you have to do is switch in a different top for a totally different look. Toss in a versatile sweater that you can have handy in case temperatures are chillier than expected. Also, bring clothing in neutral colours (such as black, white, tan or grey) to make mixing and matching easier.

Add sparkle. A simple way to create unique looks without adding lots of bulk to your suitcase is to pack a few small items of jewelry. Toss in a couple of statement necklaces or some bangles that go with everything so you can take your outfits from day to night.

Melanie Dulos is a writer, blogger, and fashion and beauty addict. She works in communications and has honed her skills working on a variety of fashion, beauty and health brands targeting women. She believes that whether you’re dressing for a glam night out or a trip to the grocery store, it’s all in how you pull it together. Her blog — www.styleanderror.ca — explores fashion, beauty, health and lifestyle trends, and provides tips on how to pull them off in real life. She is also an NFL fan. Follow her on Twitter @mdulos and Facebook.


Date Added: April 6, 2012 | Comments (5)

5 Comments »


Great tips! As someone who always overpacks, I found them very useful. I’m planning to test them out this weekend.

Comment by Karen — May 18, 2011 @ 10:45 am

I always say pack twice as much money and half as many clothes.

Comment by Carolyn Zimmrman — May 18, 2011 @ 11:59 am

@Karen Thanks for your comment! I hope these tips ensure your overpacking days are behind you!

@Carolyn – Great tip! Especially, if you’re heading to New York or a similar can’t-help-but-shop destination.

Comment by Melanie — May 19, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

These are such good tips, especially about not bringing items you never wear. I used to buy new shoes before going away, but then you end up with blisters while you’re away, so now I always stick to favourites. I find that blazers and scarves help change the look of an outfit (for a longer trip). I also try to always pack into an expandable suitcase — keep it zipped up going way, and allow it to expand for any purchases while away!

Do you have any tips on beauty products/compacts you like or containers — I don’t like to buy random travel-size face wash, creams etc but packing all those full-size bottles takes up so much space in my luggage!

Comment by Chantel Simmons — May 19, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

@Chantel Great tips on adding scarves and an expandable suitcase!

Thanks for the request on an additional story. I’ll get working on tips on how to effectively bring must-have products for your next getaway.

Comment by Melanie — May 22, 2011 @ 9:21 am

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