Travel Tips: Packing Lightly

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My favorite way to travel is the cheapest. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I will sacrifice comfort for the cheapest price every time. This makes Spirit Airlines perfect for me. They get you from A to B without charging you for all the extra stuff you don’t need. How much are we really paying for that child-sized cup of Coca Cola and peanuts? These options are still available on Spirit if you’re in the mood, but I like the idea that I don’t have to pay for things that I don’t need.

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That being said, Spirit charges not only for checked bags but also for carry on items. If you’re going to have a carry on or a checked bag, don’t forget to purchase those online BEFOREHAND. If you don’t, they charge about $100 when you get there. They do allow one personal item which can be a small purse, bag, or backpack. On a recent extended weekend trip to Dallas for a friend’s wedding, I opted for the small backpack. Here’s everything that I packed into the small backpack:

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-Pair of wedding heels from Modcloth
-Winter thick green dress, also from Modcloth
-Old Navy jean jacket circa 2005
-Formal Belk dress found during my trip to be worn at a future military ball (it is thick and has a full skirt)
– Pair of black jeans
-Crossbody bag
-One thermal (which was WAY too hot in Dallas in October)
-One beanie
-Two necklaces
-Make-up bag
-Wallet
Dear Daughter paperback book
-Underwear and shapewear not pictured

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When I type it all out, I’m even impressed with my ability to get all that into one backpack. I thought several times while packing that I should just pay the $36 for another carry on. But my cheap side won out, as it always does. So how did I do it?

I’ve read many articles discussing whether the rolling or folding method works best. I’ve done both many times, and I am here to tell you that it depends on your suitcase or bag. With this backpack, I tried folding, but it didn’t give me the room that I needed. I was also looking for my bag to somewhat resemble a non-overstuffed backpack (I don’t want my luggage to alert everyone to my thriftiness), so rolling worked best for me in this instance.

First, I stacked my heels on top of each other like they come in the shoe boxes. I find that gives you maximum space. I put those on the bottom near the back to give my bag some sort of shape. In backpacks, I like to put flat things near the back so I don’t have bulges of clothes pushing on my back when I’m wearing it. I then rolled the formal dress as tight as I could without wrinkling it. I do have to wear that thing in two weeks, after all. Then I rolled things and put them in according to their bulk. I always put the bulkier things at the bottom because that looks more natural when you put on the backpack. Don’t forget to put your wallet, phone, boarding pass, chapstick, or whatever you think you will need quick access to on the top! I had to unpack the whole thing because I put my wallet with my ID and credit card on the very bottom.

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Nerdy confession: I really love packing. Packing boxes for moving, packing suitcases, packing storage items, you name it. I love it because it’s just like a puzzle. Sometimes I have to pack and repack it to get it just right, but I enjoy the challenge. As long as it’s not last minute packing, which is what I do 95% of the time. I’m also a procrastinator when it comes to packing, so it often doesn’t feel enjoyable. I’m working on it! Personal growth and development and all that.

That bag looks awfully grumpy, doesn’t it? Want to hear another confession? Because of the way the bag is made, I couldn’t actually close the bag all the way for my return trip (that dress is going to be beautiful, but it sure was a huge pain). I walked around DFW very conscious of who was standing behind me at all times because someone could have easily reached a hand in and grabbed something. I ended up putting my book on the very top so pick pocketing was a little harder. Whenever I could, I stood up against a wall or a window. My mind was torturing me with thoughts like, “Well, whatever they steal better be under $36”.

I’m happy to report that I got back with all of my items and only spending $100 on my plane ticket from Denver to DFW. Take that, expensive airlines and your “complimentary drinks”.

Thanks for letting me share!

Maegan

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