Monday, August 24, 2015

Traveling Light for Weekend Getaways: Part I

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I wouldn't say I'm a seasoned travel veteran, but over the past decade, I've done a decent amount of light traveling - the kind that requires, well, traveling light. For a domestic trip lasting less than a week, I take just a carry-on and a work tote, because it's cheaper (no bag fee) and easier - I check in for my flight online, so at the airport I can head straight to security; after deplaning at my destination, I don't have to wait for a checked bag to come spiraling down the carousel, or push through hordes of people to get it. Of course, this is more feasible in warmer months when you don't need tons of layers and coats. And the downside is that it does restrict the number of liquids you can take on board (skincare! makeup!), but we'll get to that in Part II.
This is an example of a travel outfit + all luggage: two carry-on tote bags. Shoes: TOMS Majorca Booties (mentioned further below).

Lately, my carry-on of choice has been this: a nylon Longchamp Medium Le Pliage in the Handheld style. It is light, zips and snaps closed, has short handles that makes it easy to carry in conjunction with a "small personal item" (a work tote), fits in any plane overhead bin or under the seat in front of me, if need be, next to my work tote. I'm not a fan of wheelie bags because they can get heavy (remember, you have to lift it overhead to get it in the bin), and also, I walk fast and weave through spaces when I have to, and people tend not to appreciate it when you run over their toes with wheeled bags. Astounding, I know.

I put everything in the Le Pliage except for my zipped top bag of liquids - that goes in my work tote for easy access at the security checkpoint. Clothes are rolled up, not folded, and I put underwear in a small, soft pouch so that they stay together. Any jewelry I take goes in a smaller pouch, which also fits into the underwear pouch, to minimize the number of small things floating around in my bag. I'd like to upgrade to trendy, matching pouches some day, but at the moment, I just make do. I usually pack thin, lightweight mix and match separates or dresses, pjs, and a swimsuit if necessary.
Sorry there are so many references to panties on my blog, ha! Keeping it real.

For plane day, usually I'll wear jeans and the biggest shoes like my TOMS Majorca Booties (bulky - both are easier to wear than to pack, and comfortable enough). The TOMS are dressy enough for most occasions I have while traveling, and I like the sound the wedge heels make as I power walk through airports. I stuff a pair of flats (below) into my Longchamp tote, as well as a small crossbody, like the Kate Spade Tenley, for use at my destination.
The flats I like to stuff in my Le Pliage.
I also wear any jacket/cardigan I plan on having for the trip, since it's cold on the plane.
My "holy crap 4 AM is early" travel selfie.

The "small, personal item" I take is usually my Cole Haan Village Tech work tote. The downside is that it doesn't have a main compartment zipper, so anything important goes in the smaller zipped or latched pockets, but it does fit upright under most airplane seats, so there isn't a huge risk of things falling out. It also has a secure laptop slot, which accommodates my 11-inch Macbook Air. And it doesn't have a flap opening, which makes it easier to open at security, and to access in the cramped seating space on the plane. I keep the liquids bag into this tote, so that I can pull it out readily at security instead of fussing with the zipped Longchamp. After security, I can move it to my Longchamp, or just leave it as is, depending on how much space I have in either bag. The other things that go in here are my phone, wallet, charger, Kindle, laptop, earphones, and any work that I want to do on the plane. Plus snacks (you know me), and a bottle of water I buy after going through security.

And there we have it. I tried to keep it short, but it got away from me. Like I said, I'm not an expert, but I like to travel light and keep things convenient. Part II will follow - the skincare/makeup edit, and how I fit everything into the one allotted plastic quart-sized bag for carry-ons.

What are your travel tips? Are you a light packer, or do you try to cover any possible outcome? What are your favorite travel totes and carry-on bags?