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My Maximalist Packing Manifesto – Part I

Our luggage queued in Buenos Aires, ready to head back to LA
We each checked two suitcases and carried two bags on the plane

My 10 Point Maximalist Packing Manifesto

    • Dress your best: Most of the photos we take the entire year are on trips. So, in a way, trips are photo shoots. The photos you take are how you are going to be remembered. People used to dress up when they traveled and there is something really fabulous about it. I think it shows respect to your travel companions when you want to look nice for them. And when you feel good about how you’re dressed you are going to be nicer, happier and more relaxed.  + When you are wearing something interesting it is easy for strangers to compliment you and strike up a conversation.
    • If you want it, bring it: I don’t believe in packing light when traveling (i.e. that 1 small carry on for three weeks in Europe bullshit). I have done it before and found it difficult and depressing. I think people sometimes feel like they are obligated to pack “smart”. There is no rule that says you need to own pants that zip off into shorts. I have traveled a lot for work and pleasure (over 40 countries) and I can say without a doubt that your quality of life is higher and enjoyment of your trip is richer when you have the things you want with you (be that vegan cookies, Louboutins, 16 magazines, your electric throw blanket, 2 laptops, a surf board or your rice cooker).  It takes 10 minutes to wait for checked bags — it’s no biggie. I am all for editing — but if you really want it — bring it, or buy it there!
      My husband is totally on board with the maximalist packing philosophy. He wears size 13 shoes. One pair of his shoes takes up almost an entire carry on! Obviously we need to travel with multiple bags.
    • Buy a HUGE suitcase and a travel scale: It sucks that we have to pay to check bags domestically these days, but you can make it worth its while. Get the HUGEST roller bag you can check (we have 2 of these). If you need to buy luggage I strongly recommend TravelPro and/or Tom Bihn luggage. After years of wear and countless trips the luggage from these companies looks BRAND NEW while luggage from other companies has long since been thrown away. + Buy a luggage scale and bring it with you – if you are going maximalist you need to know what you weigh! TIP: Don’t need all that space? My husband and I share 1 big suitcase on short trips and we only pay to check 1 bag.
    • Carry-ons: Avoid putting weight on your shoulders while traveling. Laptops, tablets, cameras and all your other small items add up to a lot of weight. Take a small (briefcase sized) roller bag on board the plane or use a small sleek backpack as a carry on. Backpacks distribute the weight evenly over both shoulders. This is my favorite Tom Bihn backpack. I’ve been using it for 6+ years and it looks brand new.
    • Look great on travel days: You are much more likely to get upgraded on a flight or a ferry if you look chic, professional and put together. Don’t wear sweats or flipflops. Dress in layers. Throw some flats or wool sock in your carry on to wear on the plane. If you are bringing a coat or knee-high boots wear them – so they don’t take up luggage space.
    • Pick a color palette: Every time I go on a trip (from a weekend in Palm Springs to and extended trip overseas) I choose a color palette for my clothes and accessories. A few examples: black/white/red, brown/blue/white, orange/pink/white, gray/black/purple, silver/white/citrus, etc.  I usually pick two neutrals and a brighter accent color. It helps me pack by narrowing down my choices and it ensures that my clothes and shoes play well together. Tip: By doing this you should need less shoes.
    • Pack a lot of dresses: Dresses are so easy to pack! They take up less space then separates, they make dressing effortless, and they are easy to dress up or down. Don’t pack one dress. Pack like three or five or seven! If you are cold throw on a jacket and tights.
    • Bring Jewelry: Jewelry doesn’t take up a lot of space. Pack it! There is no point in owning things if you aren’t going to wear them. I usually travel with my jewelry in a rolled up pouch in my purse.
    • ALWAYS carry a shawl/scarf: They look nice, they can keep you warm, hide a spill on your clothing, protect our face from a dirty plane seat, cover your shoulders so you can go into a church, make great picnic blankets, sarongs, can be used as a napkin, or to dry hands, etc. They are all-purpose and I try to always have one with me.
    • Purses: 1. Pack a small black clutch. 2. Bring a large high quality tote bag to use as a purse/shopper (either pack it in the luggage or use as second carry-on).

+Next week: I’ll share my All Purpose Packing List  (you will even be able to download it!)
And remember, DRESS for the life you WANT not the life you HAVE
Do you pack maximalist? Tweet me @pattyhume