Part 1: What to Pack for 30 Days.
I travel a lot. It’s one of my favorite parts of my job as a guest presenter for yoga, barre, and Pilates. I just completed a cross-country trip, and there are a few things I’ve learned being on the road as a single woman.
Nothing is worse than hauling a giant suitcase up a long staircase in Central America. Trust me—you’ll be cursing under your breath the whole way like it was Montezuma’s Revenge. In other words, leave the Manolo’s at home and pack light. You aren’t going to wear them on a beach in Costa Rica, let alone shopping the streets of Paris when your dogs are screaming.
One of the best ways to pack light is to simply start with smaller luggage and pick a color scheme for your wardrobe. Not only can you mix and match so much easier, but it makes packing a breeze.
I always use a palette of black, khaki, white and gray, and use jewelry for accent colors.
Another tried and true space saver is to roll your clothing. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it keeps most everything wrinkle free and you can fit more in your luggage.
Clothing, Shoes and Jewelry.
>> One to two sets of jewelry you love—leave the diamonds at home unless you really want to be mugged.
Remember, as a single woman traveling alone, you, my dear, are a sitting duck. Sorry, but true. I always bring a couple chunky statement bracelets, a pair of silver hoops that go with anything, another set of big earrings and two chunky rings. Whether big or small, make it stuff you can mix and match. There is a time to stand out and a time to blend. When you are traveling alone blend, blend, blend.
>> A few (not a ton) of hair accessories. What do you really need?
>> One pair of fabulous sunglasses.
>> One hat that goes with everything.
I opt for a newsboy style cap or something that folds flat.
>> One pair of skinny jeans.
>> One pair of regular jeans that look good with the legs down or rolled up for a beach stroll.
>> One skirt.
>> One jacket that goes with everything.
>> One hipster scarf.
It will prove useful when you need to cover your shoulders in a church and can also double as a headscarf.
>> One pair of boots.
>> One pair sneakers.
I love the Nike Free because they fold flat and can be washed.
>> Two yoga pants, two tops (no more than that—wash and re-wear!).
>> Two sweaters that go with everything.
>> One white button-down shirt, wrinkle free (it always looks classy).
>> One each black and white t-shirt.
>> One each black and white tank top.
>> One to two other shirts.
>> Bring the outfit you wear when you’re sick or hungover—cause that happens.
>> One little black dress (you just never know).
>> One bathing suit.
>> One coverup for a bathing suit that could double as a shirt or dress.
One pair of fancy shoes that go with the fancy dress but also could go with jeans (killer black heels universally recommended. Try them out before you go though. Blisters are the worst and can ruin an entire day of touring).
>> One pair flip-flops.
These are always useful, whether walking in a hotel to get ice or in a small village. I always regret it when I don’t pack these.
>> Seven days of undies.
>> One bedtime outfit.
Or, if you wear slips, pack two. That way you can always wash one and have one to wear.
>> One flat small purse (clutch) for fancy, and one big bag for general.
>> Two Sacittome or similar fold away shopping bag.
These are God’s gift to the, “Oops, I bought too many souvenirs syndrome.” I use them for shopping, laundry hauling, or to even put dirty clothes in after a hot yoga class.
>> Three to Five packages of travel laundry detergent.
>> One night lipstick, one day lipstick.
>> One eyeliner, one eyeshadow, one concealer, one blusher.
Don’t overdo the cosmetics. You will be far too busy!
>> Moisturizer that you can use all over (I like to travel with coconut oil—good for the body, hair and face).
>> Shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, floss, razor—general toiletries.
Ask yourself, “What is the minimum I can bring and can I just buy it where I’m going?” It’s a shame to have to check a bag because your hairspray bottle is too big.
Finding something as simple as birth control in a foreign country can be an absolute nightmare.
>> Neosporin and Band-Aids.
If you tend to get blisters pack the medicated blister Band-Aids. I am also in love with Band-Aids friction block stick. It’s small and helps prevent blisters.
>> Travel contacts.
I can thank my eye doctor for this travel hint. For long flights I wear throwaway contacts and leave my long-term wear contacts for when I arrive and am rested. I always pack a few. That way if something happens to my extended wear, I have back up.
>> Pedialyte flavored granule packs for if you get dehydrated or sick.
>> Antidiarrheal medicine if you can get it.
>> Aspirin or similar.
>> Do you need bug spray? Batteries?
Even when you don’t think you need it. Ever been in a hotel when they lose power? Not fun.
Now pack up those bags and hit the open road.
Next article: Driving Cross Country Tips.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel
Assistant Editor: Jennifer Townsend