Fewer, Better Things while Traveling

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Hello September! A little chill in the air, changing leaves, cozy fires, and of course, all the apple cider donuts I can eat. September and October are my favorite months of the year for sure, and also our favorite time of year to travel  in the northeast (fewer crowds, and did I mention the foliage?!).

With all the weekend road trips we’ve been on this year, we’re getting pretty skilled at packing (and this coming from a former serial over-packer). I’m partnering with Cuyana - a brand with one of my favorite mission statements ever - to share some of our tips on packing efficiently using their philosophy of fewer, better things.

Fewer things: Bring only what you need

You know the drill - you’re going away for 2 nights but you need to bring everything. I mean, how will you ever know today what you’ll want to wear tomorrow?! :) The old over-packing me would toss in a few extra tops and dresses just in case, a jacket and a sweater because what if it gets cold?! and a raincoat and Hunter boots because you never know, it might rain! And in classic over-packing fashion, I’d wear two things and come back with a bag wrinkled clothes that I’d rifled through all weekend.

A few tips I’ve learned that have helped me change my ways:  

Have a plan.  I love a good itinerary. I could write a whole post on that, but the short story is that I research our destination ahead of time, make a list of where I’d like to eat, drink, shop, and wander, and then I create a rough itinerary that hits those spots. Knowing what we’ll be up to helps me plan ahead for what to wear and what we’ll need.

Be realistic.  I tend to have pretty lofty goals regarding what we can accomplish within a 48 hour period. We’ll wake up early and jog! Squeeze in a quick 3 mile hike! Have a picnic at a viewpoint 45 minutes away! Fewer things can also mean doing fewer things - hey, even relaxing! - and that’s okay too (...talking to myself here!).

The point is, if squeezing in a workout is a long shot, save the space in your bag and leave the workout clothes and sneaks at home. They’ll still be there when you get back (and you’ll probably be logging extra steps exploring anyway!).  

Plan (and try on!) your outfits in advance.  Once I have our itinerary down, I’ll plan an outfit for each day based on what we’re doing. Something that transitions from day to night is ideal, and I always try to mix and match (two tops with one pair of jeans, etc.).

Check the weather.  Sunny weekend ahead? Take the Hunter boots and rain jacket out of the car.  You don’t need them, I promise.    

Invest in a great tote or weekender (or both!).  Leave your oversized luggage at home, and bring a bag thats the right size for the trip. I typically end up bringing a weekender bag (love this one!), and a tote or two, which helps me stay organized and also keeps the stuff to a minimum.

Better things:  Quality over Quantity

We’re huge fans of a road trip (even more so now that we have our ol’ Wagoneer!), but there’s a lot of in and out of the car with our bags so we want something that can hold up well over time, while still giving us the function that we need to pack efficiently.

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Quality and function first.  But bonus points for a beautiful, classic look! What’s the point of bringing less if you can’t pack it efficiently? I used to have a leather tote that looked great, but had no pockets, no zipper, and everything always wound up in a heap. This new hobo from Cuyana has a thick shoulder strap, plenty of pockets, and a zipper to keep everything from toppling over in the back seat.  A sure win in my book.

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Pouches and more pouches.  Definitely not a new or revolutionary idea, but it’s saved my life since I’ve started doing it. Organize all of your smaller items into pouches by category.  Technology, toiletries, make-up, etc. No more digging through the bottom of your bag for your glasses, your contacts, your phone charger, etc. A pouch is infinitely easier to find within a tote or bag than that tiny little something you’re looking for. This cute little pouch is perfect for coins or headphones and chargers, and I adore these travel cases for toiletries and makeup.  

Keep the important stuff organized and easily accessible.  Credit cards, gift cards, cash for tips, ID, phone… Historically, it’s been thrown in my cross body bag and I’m left rummaging through when I need something. It was time for a better option for the valuable stuff, and this navy zip around wallet fit the bill. 

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Bringing less stuff with us makes the trip just a bit less stressful, and being selective with the pieces that we do bring (only bringing what brings us joy a la Marie Kondo) makes the trip that much more fun.  

We’re off on our next road trip soon, so if you’ve got any other tips - send them my way!

Thanks to Cuyana for partnering on this post.  As always, all opinions are my own.