Somewhere along the lines of planning our recent Mexico / Cuba trip, Robin and I decided to that we didn’t want to bring actual luggage – we were going to do backpacks.
Embarassingly enough, I’ve been convinced that just traveling with a backpack meant that we were “backpacking.” Leave it to the city kid to go 27 years without knowing the real definition of backpacking. 😳 And with all the weekend trips I took at boarding school…traversing the north east corridor and all those small New England towns, with only a trusty backpack in hand…there I was thinking I’m something of a pro. Whoops!
ANYWAY. Robin did the research on the backpacks and 90% of them were just blegh and I was haven’t any of it. I’m picky and a design snob 😭. After a lot of hunting, he found the perfect bag, which I describe below. This bag totally changed how I think about packing! My backpack is the lightest bag I own and that includes all my small leather Dooney and Burke satchels. When you’re traveling, monitoring the weight of your bag is so key. So starting with with a bag or piece of luggage that is already as light as possible is the smartest thing to do.
Here are my 4 key packing tips:
1. Get an awesome LIGHTWEIGHT backpack you love like my Hyperlite by Mountain Gear. ($300)
2. Invest in some space saving cubes, especially if you’re using a top fill backpack, where loose items can get loss easily. They’re all over Amazon. We used these.
3. Select multi-function clothing curated around a specific a color theme and make sure it’s clothing that won’t wrinkle easy (or its clothing that looks good with wrinkles). For me, that’s lots of Everlane and Zara basics in white, grey, and nude. I like to compliment this palette with army green accessories and shoes. In this case, these super cute and super affordable sandals from Amazon and my H&M coat.
4. Plan to leave costly items like laptops at home. Why risk breaking it? Or getting it stolen? When it comes to technology, really think about what you need vs. what you want. For me, this typically means scaling down to my iPad or even just my iPhone, instead of lugging around my MacBook Air, which adds a significant of weight when you’re trying to be as light as possible.
And if this helps, here was my packing list!
- 3 shirts
- 2 tanks
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 2 pair of pants (yoga pants + jeans)
- 1 shawl
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 2 pair of sandals (flip flops and gladiator)
Beauty / Makeup
- 2 sticks of Red Lipstick
- Eyeliner brush and pot
- Illuminating Palette
- Bronzer / Blush combo
- Co-Wash Shampoo
- Dr. Bronners Bar Soap
- Coconut Oil Spray
- Coco Bee Sunscreen Pot
(My product list could totally be scaled down, but like chill)
- 1 pair of Earrings (gold hoops)
- 1 ring
- 2 bangles
- 1 necklace
- iPad Air (in hindsight, I didn’t need this)
- 2 mini tripods
- 3 iPhone lenses
- Lightning charger
Not listed, of course, is this amazing hat I got in Cuba. Always leave room to pick up gifts and fun stuff for yourself along the way.