Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Travelling light...

Today, we're going to be chatting about one of my favorite subjects... travel preparedness. (I have no idea when this became one of my favorite topics, but it totally is.)  I was one of those people who had never flown on a plane until I was around thirty years old.  Because of that, travel has become a rather new and exciting thing to me in the past decade and we have made some really sweet and fun memories as a family and as a couple because my man loves to travel.  I spent the majority of my earlier life over-packing because "you never know." But I learned some tips that have served me well for years, and now I love the entire packing process and can do it in about ten minutes flat. This is a long one, but I hope you enjoy. 

I figured out one really important thing about myself when it comes to travelling.  Heading out with a carryon, and no checked baggage is my jam. In fact, I'll do about anything to not check a bag!! A couple of years ago, I discovered the world's most perfect travel carryon.  One that even saw me through an eight day camping trip to Banff last summer.  My daughter, perched on the edge of the bed, watching me pack one day, proclaimed that it was a magic bag and she asked for one herself, on her next birthday.  It's this under seat carryon by Travelon.  As girls, we could not LOVE this bag more. It is stacked with zippers and compartments so you can quickly and easily tuck items away in an organized fashion (be still my heart) and it seems as though everything has a place. 
I roll every item of clothing and feel that this is key!  ROLLING!  My man has a totally different opinion when it comes to packing, but I have tried both methods and mine saves bunches of room so I stick to what works best. I either stack the rolled items horizontally as I have shown here, or I tuck them in vertically if I have a lot.  (That was the secret to our Banff trip.) When I pack, I always figure like this- Three days= Six days, if everything gets worn twice.  Look how much room I still had in this! I could have easily added two or three more days of outfits if I had wanted to.

Of course the "duh" tips are, wear your thickest layers and items and heaviest shoes while travelling, carry your coat and use as a blanket or pillow. (A note about the coat, living in the Pacific NW, it seems like everyone has a black, puffy, packable jacket.  EVERY.ONE. But for good reason. Our weather is often mild, but consistently changing. I love a jacket that packs and zips right into it's own pocket and highly recommend this type of coat for any and all travel. I've owned one from REI and a more feminine, longer length from Kohls and have loved each of them.)

Another sort of important thing I do, is decant nearly all of my full-sized beauty products into tiny containers with screw top lids, and then slap a label on it, rather than purchasing travel sized items.  I prefer doing that because 1) less waste 2) I really like the products I use daily and don't want to use something else for a few days if I can bring a small amount of my own stock, if that makes sense. This works from skincare to makeup to shower products.

Now, I need to admit that yes, I do have massive minimalist tendencies when I travel. (This shouldn't surprise you by now.  I've gotten a ton of requests on an update of my ten item wardrobe choices and I do promise to get on that soon.) You might not be as minimalistic as I am, but I really like the challenge of making things coordinate so that I have fewer items to bring and anyone can surely appreciate the forethought of that.  I would rather bring things to wear twice or things to wash in a sink and dry overnight or laundromat halfway through a long trip, than check any baggage. (Incidentally some funny memories can be had at laundromats in other places.)

For our weekend getaway last weekend, we were gone three days and two nights to a resort with some snow. We knew we wouldn't be out in it for the most part but I planned a pair of boots for the just in case factor and was really glad I had.  The dress code was business casual but I wasn't attending all of the functions that my husband was so I was able to wear/pack one dressier outfit and two more casual outfits. There was however, a big party with mandatory costumes required... the theme was famous couples.  My husband chose George and Martha Washington.  The goober.  So I had to also pack a huge skirted eighteenth century dress into the bottom of my carryon... which I did, and then ironed it once we got there. I had to share the photo of us, that a friend took... Adrain was trying to look like George Washington but I told him he also kinda looked like he was suffering from food poisoning. Haha!
I wore this gray shirtdress from Eddie Bauer on the plane with thick black tights and tall black boots, my packable coat and simple jewelry of a diamond necklace and studs. (Incidentally you simplify your entire LIFE by choosing one jewelry look that works with everything, everyday.) The dress is extremely comfortable and I'm a huge fan of this line.  I own it in both the navy and also in gray. I chose to wear it on the plane because the meeting I had to attend and dress for was shortly after we landed and the boots were my bulkiest shoes.  It worked terrifically and I even spilled tea on the dress in transit, but once we hit the hotel room I quick scrubbed it with soap, gave it a rinse and it was dry within the half hour, looking perfect again.  No weird travel creases, polished and very comfortable.
The second day was a meeting day for Adrain most of the day so I wandered around, spending quality time in my favorite coffee shop, getting room service and enjoying some of the local shops.  I was glad I had my boots and coat as it was far colder than I realized. I had originally packed a pair of dark green skinny jeans and a black blouse with a black camisole underneath it but as luck would have it, I ended up wearing that outfit the first evening with a pair of gray flats (more on those in a moment) because I was feeling a tad overdressed for the evening event since everyone was donning jeans. I was so glad that I always follow the black tee shirt rule when packing. (Did I make this up?  I'm not sure, I've just always done it.)  Always, always, always throw an extra, quality, classic black tee shirt into your bag- long or short sleeved, depending on the destination.  It's saved me countless times and can easily be adapted with a scarf, long necklace, or something of that nature, if need be. Since I had already worn my black flowy blouse, the first night, I opted to pair my green jeans and boots with a long sleeved black tee. It was perfect for exploring and relaxing all day and I still felt pulled together and intentional. 

I mentioned that I changed the first night and wore some gray flats...  These gray Rothy flats.  (
Rothy's... if you haven't heard of them, I must introduce you!  They are classic and I've got my second pair in my sights as we speak.  They are made from recycled water bottles which thrills me because, that is so good for our environment!  The comfort level to these flats is amazing.  No breaking in, just pure walk-all-day in style and comfort, ease.  They can also be washed in your machine and dry super quickly. I can't say enough good about them.  Once I got mine, I edited out five somewhat stylish, yet not all that comfy flats right out of my life.  I no longer had need for all of them.  Bam! My kind of minimalist wardrobe!) If you order a pair, you can get $20 off with this code

For the final day which was relaxed with early travelling home, I repeated the green jeans, wore a super soft gray sweatshirt that had just enough detailing to make it polished and the gray flats. I changed into my boots at the airport because my feet were cold. You may be realizing that the color pallet of what I packed was very versatile within itself (grays, blacks and greens.) and as I needed to mix things up, rotate shoe choices, etc, everything coordinated so that I was able do that.
I purchased a set of these bags from Amazon last year and have absolutely LOVED them. I toss them inside the big one and that fits neatly into my personal bag, alongside my phone, clutch purse, snacks, notebooks and such.  I had to laugh, I was almost out of my full sized deodorant so I tossed that in and used it up while we were gone... I calculated that perfectly instead of buying a travel sized one.

Tips that keep me travel-ready:
*I keep my carryon in my closet, on a shelf for easy access.
*Inside my carryon, I store my travel items to keep everything handy.  This includes a travel pillow toiletries kit and tote bag that I use for my extra bag.
*Inside the travel kit, are things I stash during my non travel days, such as free product samples, small sized items like the toothpaste from the dentist and such.  I keep it nearly fully stocked at all times, so that I don't have to rush around cramming things in as I pack.  It makes for streamlined packing, as I am generally just refilling any items that are low.
*I keep the bottles and small containers labelled with aid of a label-maker.
*I always store earplugs, sleep aids such as melatonin and some luxury items for puffy eyes in the kit because though you may not need them at home, they are often nice to have in a strange place.

I like sailing through the airport, fully streamlined and organized.  When I travel, I keep these items in my personal bag:
*boarding passes and ID in outer pocket, easily grabbed
*small clutch purse for use while away
*a notebook and pen
*travel pillow (often hooked over straps, instead of inside bag.)
*Dramamine and other meds in a tiny container
*really good hand cream and lip moisturizer
*phone, charger, and camera
*toiletry case with liquid items contained, that need to be pulled out at security
*packable jacket, packed into it's own pocket, if I am not wearing it

In my carryon bag:
*clothing, rolled and stacked in order of plans for wear
*camisoles and accessories like scarves, rolled and stored in inside pocket of carryon
*underthings, folded flat and stored in carryon inside flap
*socks and extra socks, folded flat and stored in carryon inside flap
*extra shoes, tucked at bottom
*Pajamas, rolled and placed on top
*curling iron at very top
*outer carryon pocket may also contain gloves or knitted hat, etc.

On my Person:
*the jewelry I plan to wear the whole time

So that's my system.  I really don't veer from it and I hope this was a help for those of you wanting to streamline your travel preparations.  It's a bit trickier travelling with kids, but non-stroller aged elementary age kids can wheel a small carryon bag for themselves and wear a backpack with their personal items in it too.  We didn't fly a ton with littles, but that's what worked for us when we did. If you're staying someplace with access to a washing machine a bonus tip is this... wash everything before folding and repacking for the trip home.  It's so nice to unpack clean clothing, rather than deal with a mountain of laundry!!  As always, give me a shout in comments if you've got any questions.



  1. I tend to over pack always - LoVe it! Can you post a pic { maybe on IG} of your personal bag? , is it your purse that you always use? It must be big to hold all that stuff.

    1. Thank YOU!! My personal bag is just a regular sized tote bag with a zipper. This Travelon bag actually comes with one and it's like the size of a beach bag type of tote. Big enough to hold more than a purse but definitely small enough to be manageable!

  2. Great tips!
    That is a magic bag for sure. I like the idea of having a carry on and not to have to check my baggage. We will be doing some traveling in the spring and I am going to definitely be getting this little gem.

  3. Thank you so much for this post, Sasha! I am going to get one of your "magic bags" for everyone in my family. A couple of summers ago we had a great family vacation, and our largest suitcase -- which held many of our favorite things -- was lost on the return trip home. Luckily it was found a week later, but I vowed then that somehow we would all fly with only carry ons from that point on. Your info helped me so much! Also love the tip about keeping your toiletry case stocked at all times. I always seem to be scrambling at the last minute to buy tiny toothpaste, ha! Totally agree with you about the black t-shirt. A few random thoughts: 1. Your hair is amazing. 2. We wear the same, gray, green and navy! 3. You and your husband make a pretty cute Mr. & Mrs. Washington! Thanks again! You are one awesome organizing/cooking/writing/photographing/entertaining/gardening chick!

    1. Haha I love this comment!! Yes get those bags... so much better than checking! And your random thoughts were awesome... thank you about my hair... it was hilarious to dress up in those ridiculous costumes but also a bunch of fun. They do that every year... thank you for your Super KIND words!!!