By VIVY YUSOF
I LOVE travelling, but there’s one thing about it that I can’t stand – the packing. I just do not know the meaning of “travelling light”, nor do I understand its concept. Ever seen one of those girls at the airport lugging around a huge handbag, a carry-on trolley bag, and a big suitcase to match? If you were to ask them about their trip, they would usually say that they’re going on, or had just come back from, a weekend trip.
Hey, don’t laugh at my “species”! It is hard for some people to pack light.
Let me share with you how I pack my clothes whenever I travel. Firstly, I make a list of all the essentials: Toiletries, undergarments, chargers, etc.
Then, somehow, these items manage to start “breeding” a family of their own and the list becomes longer. Day cream and night cream, different kinds of innerwear to suit different kinds of outfits and clothing material, another charger for another type of phone … the list goes on.
I would also need to find the space to squeeze the all-important hairdryer into the suitcase.
The most difficult part of the process is packing the clothes. Every time I go on a trip, I would get an itinerary so that I can do some research on which outfit would suit whatever occasion the best. Onoe would think this was easy, but my mind likes to wander and everytime I try to figure out what to wear, I start thinking of all the “what-ifs”.
What if my colleagues suddenly want to visit a construction site? What if we suddenly have to take off our shoes somewhere and my pants are too long? What if I suddenly have to go a religious event and I don’t have a scarf to covr my head? What if I’m overdressed/underdressed?
All sorts of sometimes-useless questions would run through my head. There are times when I even have to stop and have some tea before I continue packing.
So what do I usually end up with? Basically in an hour’s time, I would have decided on nine tops, three bottoms and three pairs of shoes for a weekend getaway. On the plane, I would be the annoying neighbour sleeping on your shoulder because all my energy had gone to sitting on my suitcase trying to shut it tight.
One day, I figured that enough was enough. I wanted to put an end to my “paranormal activity”, so I went to the place where all problems get solved – Google. I typed in “How to travel light and still look good” in the search box.
Yes I did.
As silly as it sounds, I really wanted to know how to not have some kind of separation anxiety with my wardrobe every time I travel.
There were many websites that tell people how to pack only the main items. “Easy for you to say,” I muttered out loud to my computer screen. We women can’t live without our frills. What if my hairdryer is a main item to me? Still, I’ve managed to put together a list of my own on how to attempt to pack light:
1) Check the weather forecast and make a list of things needed. Never pack without a list as you are bound to either over-pack, or forget things.
2) Lay outfits on the bed and see which ones can be interchanged. For example, a pair of skinny white jeans would look awesome with a flowy top and big hat during the day, or even worn under a beautiful beaded kaftan tunic.
3) Go for double-duty items. Scarves, for example, are stylish, multi-functional and best of all, light! Accessorise your outfit or even handbag with them.Oversized shirts are also great to knot into a cropped shirt when sightseeing, and can function as your cover-up when you’re sipping mocktails by the beach.
4) Don’t waste any space in the suitcase. For example, stuff your handbags with light clothes or even your undergarments. That way, you have more room in your suitcase.
5) Roll your clothes! Rolled items are easier to squish into odd spaces in your suitcase and won’t crease as much as folded items.
6) Wear the bulkiest clothes, heaviest costume jewellery, highest shoes and biggest handbag while travelling. That way, your bags will have more room for other stuff.
If you have your own private jet, please disregard this article. Happy packing!
q Vivy Yusof is the managing director of FashionValet.net.