Travel Hacks

How To Get The Most Out of Your Trip While Packing the Least

Cat Sullivan
October 1, 2019

Getting prepared to go on a trip can be both stressful and exciting. If you’re like most people, packing efficiently can seem overwhelming. For me though, packing is therapeutic (I know, I’m not normal). Everything from my underwear and socks to my cosmetics and hygiene products have to fit precisely into my carry-on bag with just enough room to bring home anything extra I purchase on my trip. Packing smart is important, especially if you plan to bring home some souvenirs! The last thing you’d want is to be rolling through the airport with multiple bags. Not only will that set you up for lost or forgotten items, carrying many bags can cause back and shoulder pain from lugging them around.

So you’re probably wondering, “what items do I pack and what should I leave behind?” For starters, focus on what you plan to pack the most of. For me, that’s my clothes. I need an outfit for every occasion! Because I’ve become quite the master of packing the least while still getting the most of of my trip, I’ve curated a list below of my favorite transitional wardrobe staples to pack. If you can wear it to the gym and out to dinner with friends, throw it in the suitcase!



Packing undergarments, especially your bras, can almost feel like you’re playing a game of tetris. Trying not to bend the wires and making sure they’re not shoved into the corner of the pocket isn’t as easy at it sounds. Most carry-on bags don’t accommodate every bra in your wardrobe, if any at all (I swear suitcases were not made with women in mind)! The last thing you’d want is to ruin a perfectly good bra. Trying to squeeze the bra into your suitcase could bend the wires and damage it. Instead of strategically packing a few of your favorite bras, pack one transitional bra that can be worn with any shirt. Having one bra that can take you from a day of hiking right out to dinner without having to change is ideal when preparing for a trip. You could even wear your favorite one on the plane and not have to pack any at all!

Expert tip: Packing a wireless bra saves room in your suitcase to pack a few more, which leaves you with more options!

Compression pants/leggings


I think all women can agree that leggings are a must-have on any trip. The soft, stretchy bottoms are the ultimate item to pack since you can wear them for almost any occasion. You can wear them when walking around a new city during the day or for a quick workout, then pair them with a dressy top for a night out. They’re easy to pack, too, like a wireless bra. Considering how often women wear leggings, investing in a quality pair will ensure that they remain durable for the entirety of your trip. It’s time that women put an end to the stigma around the whole “leggings as pants” controversy anyway.

Expert tip: Wear leggings on the plane to save room in your carry-on for another pair of leggings and a pair of jeans or nicer pants for a fancier outing!

“Nice” Sneakers


Your footwear is the most important part of any vacation, especially if you’ll be walking around for a majority of the trip. Unless you are planning on going on intense exercise excursions, packing a pair of all-day sneakers is the best way to condense your shoe options. Opt for a pair that is comfortable but also fashionable. Popular shoe company, Keds, has always made their products with womens comfort in mind. Their comfortable shoes are perfect for all-day adventures with a sporty outfit, and also pair well with a sundress for nighttime activities. Be sure to pick a darker color in case you run into rain or mud, that way your shoes aren’t visibly ruined for most of your trip!

Expert tip: Limiting the number of shoes you pack opens up more clothing choice possibilities!

Cozy Cardigan


Depending on where you’re traveling, you might be able to get by with a thick and cozy cardigan that also serves as a jacket for chilly weather. A cardigan can supplement any outfit, and you’ll feel prepared (and warm enough) for any situation. A neutral colored, knit cardigan is perfect and light enough to tie around your waist when you’re too warm. You’ll be able to throw it on in the morning for a walk down the street to a cute breakfast cafe and you can bring it with you to cover up at night when the temperature drops. Lugging a heavy jacket around isn’t ideal when you’re traveling and can take up almost all of the room in your suitcase. And your jacket probably isn’t useful for more than just cold weather temps.

Expert tip: Packing a cardigan with a hood could be a game changer if you come across a rainy day during your travels.

Packing efficiently can be easy if you carve out time to plan and pack. Sometimes I’ll repack my suitcase three times before I’m satisfied with all of the items I chose to bring. It’s just unnecessary to pack multiple bras, shoes, and jackets. You may even find that you don’t end up wearing all of the items anyway! Your trip should be focused on the experience that awaits, and your clothes should be the last thing you have to worry about!

Once you have your core group of wardrobe items, make sure the rest of your packing essentials make the cut! Taking the time before your trip to efficiently pack your suitcase will allow you to really take in all that your travels have to offer!

What’s your go-to packing method?

Cat Sullivan
Cat is the Senior Marketing Specialist at U30X. She's a Chicago native with a passion for fitness and travel. She enjoys short walks to the fridge and bad karaoke.

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