I think I finally have that whole packing light thing down! Proof? I recently travelled to Calgary for six days with nothing but a carry-on case. I like having different outfit options as much as the next girl, but I also know that there’s nothing more unpleasant than trying to navigate a strange new public transport system with a giant suitcase, so I always try to travel with the bare minimum. With the amount of money airlines charge to check a bag these days, packing light is a crucial life skill. A skill that will save you a ton of time too, because we all know that waiting at the luggage carousel is a time-consuming and stressful experience, especially when you find out that while you have made it safely to your destination, your suitcase has not.
Despite having the travel wardrobe situation (mostly) under control, I still tend to pack things “just in case”… like all the blush palettes I own and three different eye creams, for example. You never know. I found myself packing and unpacking my suitcase several times the night before my most recent trip. I realized while trying to force my overstuffed toiletry bag between my favourite pair of Topshop boots and my neatly rolled up clothes that I was going to have to be ruthless. With a few simple questions and a little help from Burt’s Bees, I managed to downsize my toiletry bag quite a bit. Believe me, if I can pack light, anyone can.
1. Where are you going and what are your plans?
Are you going to New York to see a show? Are you going clubbing in London? Are you going camping in a national park? Giving some thought to where you’re going and what you’re planning to do there will help you figure out how much makeup you really need.
2. Where are you staying?
If you’re staying in a hostel, factor in space for mini bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. I usually like to bring my own anyway, but if I’m staying in a nice hotel and I’m short on space, I will use hotel toiletries. Most hotels not only provide hair dryers and basic toiletries but will usually also have things like deodorants, razors and shaving cream on hand for forgetful guests.
3. Will you use it every day?
Put down the bright pink lipstick you wore once three years go – you don’t need it. Pack a neutral eyeshadow palette and your most-used lipstick instead. Pack a bold lipstick too if you need to dress up a simple outfit – it acts as an accessory! Keep things simple, you’ll thank yourself when you need to carry your suitcase up seemingly endless flights of stairs (Rome, I’m looking at you!).
4. Can you decant it?
Some things are easy to decant – think moisturizers, liquid foundations and even toners. Instead of buying expensive mini toiletries, invest in some good quality, leak-free travel bottles and pots, especially if you travel often. For added safety, store them in a resealable plastic bag.
5. Can you swap it for multi-purpose products?
Take your skincare and makeup routines back to the basics. It’s so hard, I know! If you’re short on space and only away from home for a few days, facial wipes are great. I packed the Burt’s Bees Facial Towelettes with White Tea Extract* to remove makeup, cleanse and tone in one easy, space-saving step. They don’t perform that well when it comes to removing stubborn mascara, but I was only gone for a few days and I made it work. They did a great job with the rest of my makeup and left my skin feeling fresh, not tight.
I knew I wasn’t going to wear a lot of makeup in Calgary, so I left my liquid foundation and brushes at home and opted for the Burt’s Bees BB Cream in Light-Medium*. Not only did it provide a good amount of coverage, but it also contains SPF 15, so it saved on space! It survived hiking in Banff and it felt lovely my super dry skin after a few hours sitting in the hot springs.
Do you have any tips for packing light?