My family and I just took a two-week vacation to visit relatives in Norway. My husband and I have two small children, and traveling for us used to look like the Ringling Brothers were coming to town, complete with the three-ring circus. This year, I was determined to do things differently, and if I could, pack only carry-on luggage. I succeeded, and what I discovered surprised me.
My mom recently remarked that "half of your suitcase is still packed when you get home." What she means is that you really only wear half of what's in your luggage, and this summer, as we've taken many weekend trips, I've come to realize that she is right.
While I may shop for a living (as a fashion editor I am constantly scouring the marketplace for the best stuff) and I love adding to my carefully curated wardrobe, when I'm on vacation my trendy tendencies go right out the window. My daily uniform is winnowed down to one or two outfits, with little to no accessories.
How does that happen, that a fashionista can survive in one or two outfits over a period of two weeks? Easily: I think of vacation as a style cleanse. To be clear, I am no Beyoncé or Rachel Zoe who would pack trunks of clothes for glamorous days and nights out -- our vacations are simple (and budget-friendly): Think family time spent in rustic cabins, or quick weekend visits to friends' homes outside of the city. In other words, there is no need for sequined caftans or six pairs of shoes when I take a trip. Moreover, it has become apparent in the past five years as a parent, that the room in my suitcase that used to be inhabited by fabulous footwear is now better used as prime real estate for extra pajamas and sippy cups for my kids. Here are my tips for avoiding those pesky baggage charges when you travel.
1. Choose one item out of your wardrobe that you wouldn't mind wearing every day. Over the past two weeks I lived in one comfy pair of boyfriend jeans (made even comfier by the sixth day straight of wearing them -- hey, I told you our trips are rustic).
2. Don't be afraid to get down and dirty. I don't mind being stinky when I'm on a family trip. For that reason, I only bring a few Gap t-shirts (turned inside out after a few wears), and three pairs of underwear (hello, hand-washing!).
3. Be brutal when you pack. My method for packing was straight-forward: A few days in advance I laid out clothes for all four members of my family. Then I unceremoniously cut my outfits in half.
4. Pay special attention to the weather forecast in your destination. Norway is notoriously unpredictable when it comes to climate. We've spent summers there where it has rained the entire time; other times it has been warm and sunny. As such, I avoided any warm-weather gear, except for my trusty cutoffs, which take up almost no space in my suitcase. I also axed any shoes other than my motorcycle boots, knowing that sandals probably wouldn't be necessary, and if they were, I could just borrow from my mom or my sister.
5. Accessories, schmaccessories. Who needs jewelry when you're in a cabin for ten days? Not me. The only accessories I brought were sunglasses (always necessary to protect the peepers from sun damage), and my LemLem scarf (to keep me warm on the plane, and give my look a pop of color).
I was not about to be snapped by Garance Doré or Tommy Ton, but that wasn't the point. Rather, I was able to give my brain a break from thinking about what to wear, and instead focus on getting up and out with my kids because I just picked up what was hanging out the window from the day before, threw on an extra layer of deodorant, and hit the trails. Check out my vacation style below, and tell me, would you be willing to leave your style behind for a family trip?
We had just arrived from an overnight flight, but my style didn't improve over the following two weeks -- and I didn't care. No makeup, unkempt hair and the same t-shirt were my style mantra.
My favorite raggedy cutoffs are a staple. Weather is unpredictable in Norway, so I was hopeful in packing them, but thankfully I did. I paired them with my mom's sandals (I only packed one pair of boots) and an old t-shirt.
Notice the same t-shirt from day one -- it got a lot of playtime on this trip. It's turned inside out in this photo, and for good reason.