Packing Tips: How to Stay Fashionable While Traveling

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Holiday season is here!  And this, especially for my fellow NYC transplants, means some form of travel.  But if you’re taking a quick trip out of town, how do you remain fashionable when you’re limited to 3 ounces of liquid and a 25 pound carry-on?  Being a sucker for over-packing, I have a couple of tricks to avoid it and to ensure that you still look your best at the family function.


Multitasking items are your best friend!

Because of the weight limitations, it may be hard to pack your whole beauty regimen.  But you also shouldn’t have to skimp out on your toiletries, especially when it comes to skincare.  Thus, products that have more than one use are your best friend when you’re on the go.  When traveling to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving, these products saved my life:

Coconut Oil

This multi-use oil has a plethora of health benefits and has a permanent place in my travel bag.  Because you’re putting it directly on your skin, make sure you get it organic, virgin, and unrefined.  Scoop a little into a travel-friendly jar, and it can take the place of a facial moisturizer, lip balm, hair serum, body lotion, and shaving cream.

Spectrum Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil, 14 oz from $14.83
Spectrum Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil, 14 oz from $14.83

Castile Soap

Specifically, Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap.  This miraculous soap contains certified organic and fair trade oils, and touts 18 different uses; among them, a face wash, body wash, and shampoo.  I used it for all three. (Make sure to dilute it!)  From floral to citrus, there are a lot of scents to choose from, but my favorite for an invigorating clean is peppermint.  And with there already being a 2 ounce option, you can skip on getting a travel-sized bottle to pour it into.

Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Pure-Castile Liquid Soap, 2 oz for $3.19
Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Pure-Castile Liquid Soap, 2 oz for $3.19


Working in Korean skincare, I am now a huge advocate of facial toner.  Used directly after washing your face, not only does it restore the pH balance, but it also preps your skin to better absorb your next skincare product.  It also earns its place on my list as a multi-purpose item— I’ve used it as a stain remover!  This works best if it is an alcohol-free formula (I use Kiehl’s Calendula Toner).  On my recent trip to Philadelphia, I accidentally smeared liquid foundation on one of my sweaters and this trick saved my life: just put some of the toner on a cotton puff and dab it onto the stain!

Kiehl's Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner, 4.2 oz for $21.00
Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner, 4.2 oz for $21.00

Pack only the clothes you need.

Easier said than done I know, but here are a few ways to make sure you don’t pack in excess.

Elimination Test

To my fellow over-packers: how many times have you boarded that bus/train/plane with a bag bursting at the seams only to find that you don’t wear half of what you packed?  To avoid this, I always employ an elimination test before packing.  First, lay out all of the potential outfits.  Now, take away a quarter of the clothes (the ratio may be different depending on the situation — try ⅓ if you’re particularly prone to over-packing).  By doing this, you’re forced to think about what you’ll really wear.  This brings me to the next point…

Think of the venue

…Remember where you’re going!  Dress (and in turn, pack) appropriately for the occasion.  I always choose clothing items that are fashionable, but versatile.  For example, rather than packing a dress that I would normally wear to a Thanksgiving dinner, I opt for something like a cashmere sweater.  Still fashionable enough for the occasion, but this way I can still hop on a bus back to New York without having to change my outfit.

Military packing

My mom taught me this one — roll your clothes!  Rather than folding your clothing, roll them up to optimize space.  Not only does this technique let you fit everything into your bag, it also reduces the creasing that comes from folding.


Having roots in both Hawai’i and Alabama, I’m no stranger to traveling and these were the tips that I picked up along the way.  But whether you make it with your carry-on or end up shelling out the extra $50 for a checked bag, remember to enjoy the reason for your trip: spending time with your loved ones.  Happy holidays and safe travels!


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Packing Tips: How to Stay Fashionable While Traveling