Traveling Light for a Short Work Trip

As hard as it is for me to do, packing light has become like a sport for me. This season is the most traveling I’ve done in the past few years combined, so I’ve been working my way lighter as I go along. I love the comfort of having extra things with me, but the better I get at traveling the less I need so many items. That being said, I’m usually required to bring a full working bag that I have to check, so I do my best to limit my personal items so I can save money on checked bags.



  • Reusable

    Jackets, jeans, sweaters, and bras can all be worn more than once. I recommend bringing no more than one of each item to save space.

  • One Time Use

    Socks, underwear, t-shirts or tank tops are single use items. Pack one to two of each item for each day you’ll be traveling. I keep an item of each of these in my carry-on as well.


  • Shoes

    One pair of flats and heels. One pair of athletic shoes. Depending on what time of year it is, one pair of sandals or boots. Make sure you can wear each pair of shoes more than once. Wear your biggest pair of shoes to travel.

  • Jewelry

    Save the statement pieces for your dressiest outfit. Otherwise, keep it light and simple with your jewelry. Wear items you can use with multiple outfits.


  • Shower/toiletries

    Pack your toiletries before you go and don’t bring full sized items. Hit up the salon before you leave and stock up on minis of your favorite products whenever possible. You can also find travel mini bottles that are airline compliant in the travel toiletries section of Target, Walmart, or your local drugstore. These are great for body wash, non aerosol hairspray, and other liquid items that you can’t go without. I also pack a folding toothbrush and a travel razor, which comes in a case so you aren’t going to accidentally cut yourself when you’re digging around in your toiletries bag.

  • Makeup

    Think basics with a kick. I travel with 6 main items: foundation, blush, eyeliner, brow pencil, lipstick and a mini palette of a few colors of eyeshadow. If i’m going out or otherwise dressing up I’ll throw in a glitter/shimmer gel for my eyes.

Goals For Packing Light

  • Use a packing app on your phone to help you make a list of what you need, and stick with it. My personal favorite is Trip List for iOS but there are many out there for both iOS and Android. My suggestion is to look for one that asks you about your activities that you plan to do on your trip. This one even works for me for camping.

  • Keep it clean and organized! If you’re going somewhere for more than two days, unpack your items into the closet and bathroom. If it’s an overnighter, work out of your suitcase.

  • Use a designated compact laundry bag to separate your dirty, single use items from your clean and multiple use items. If i plan to wear it again, I just put it right back in the suitcase or hang it up.

Questioning Your Choices?

Feel like you need specific items that aren’t on your packing list? First find out if the place you’re staying has any of those items. Then, if you must bring the item you’re looking at, see if you can find a travel size on Amazon or the like. For example, I recently traveled with a dress that required ironing and the Air BnB I stayed at did not have a full sized iron, so I found a tiny travel iron and an ironing pad that fit compactly in my carry-on bag.

Most of the time, if you’re not sure if you need it, don’t bring it. You’d be surprised at what you can do without for just a couple days.

Tips and Tricks for Packing Light


  • I fold my clothing using the Marie Kondo folding technique, standing my clothing on end to see each item without having to dig.

  • I stuff bulky bras with socks and underwear to take up less space without crushing my bra cups.

  • Compression cubes are great for keeping your clothing more compact, but be careful to not go over weight or use the saved space as an excuse to bring several more items.

What kind of packer are you? Do you plan for everything or are you the type to bring as little as possible? If you have any favorite packing tips, I’d love to hear them! Comment below with your best packing advice.