I can hardly believe that tomorrow afternoon I’ll be getting on a plane and flying to Brazil. I’ve never ever been out of the country before and am feeling a weird mixture of excitement and nerves (which is only normal I assume). The trip is sort of a “field trip” for a class in my master’s program. My classmates and I will be in Brazil for eleven days full of business meetings, plant visits, and lots of exploring! Eleven days abroad with multiple outfits needed per day means a heck of a lot of thoughtful packing.
While I am allowed to check in two 70lb suitcases for the trip, I know that there is absolutely no way that I could keep up with over 100lbs of luggage by myself in the airport. No thanks! I decided to figure out a way to pack as much as possible in a medium size suitcase. Keep reading for a few tips of how to pack the most in your suitcase:
1. Get organized. Use a notebook, an excel spreadsheet, or whatever you fancy for list making. Plan out each day (as best you can) based on the activities that will take place. This will guide the choices of clothing you make when packing.
2. Mix and Match. Style your outfits in advance and snap a picture with your phone. This way you’ll already have an idea of what outfits you can make with the contents of your suitcase. Try your best to use pieces more than once. This is especially useful on a long trip. By day 9, no one will care that you are wearing the same dress from day 1.
3. Pack Smartly.
- Line it- Line your shoes around the bottom perimeter of your suit case. I prefer to use shoe bags to protect my shoes and clothing from one another. I’m lucky enough to have a custom made set of shoe bags from my sweet sister, but they are available for purchase at most superstores.
- Roll it- Rolling clothes into neat little bundles not only saves tons of space in your suitcase, but it also prevents some wrinkling. Roll delicate items in sturdier pieces for ample protection.
- Layer it- Fill in the bottom layer of your suitcase with the most durable pieces (i.e. denim, trousers, jackets, etc.) Next, create a second layer with your second most durable items (i.e. shorts, t-shirts, yoga pants, etc.) Next, add any extra accessories like hats and purses. Finally, top your suitcase with the remainder of your clothing items. I folded my hanging bag on the top layer to finish off my suitcase.
Here’s my first layer
In this suitcase:
- 4 dresses
- 3 pairs of trousers
- 3 blouses
- 10 shirts (t-shirts, polos, etc.)
- 4 pairs of athletic shorts
- 3 pairs of chino shorts
- 3 fishing shirts
- 1 blazer
- 1 cardigan
- 4 pairs of shoes
- 2 swimsuits
- 2 belts
By now you’ve probably realized that I’ve only talked about packing clothes in my suitcase, but don’t fret I haven’t forgotten about the rest. Since I’ll be on an international flight, I’ve decided to pack all of my toiletries, cosmetics, and hair tools in my carry on. This way I can freshen up after my flight and have everything on hand. Plus, this method freed up lots of my suitcase space. I opted for a toiletry hanging bag, a large cosmetics bag (for the TSA check), a makeup brush roll, and a small cosmetics bag (for my purse).