Dalaiah Kusner is a former buyer for Ten Thousand Villages. She traveled once a year to each region she works with. For a total of four weeks, twice a year, she spent about two days with each of several artisan groups.
Constantly being on the move requires a special kind of strategy when it comes to packing. So Dalaiah has developed a few tricks to make long international work trips and fun weekend getaways easy as can be:
Packing for International Travel
1. Never pack more than you can carry.
When you’re on the go, it’s easy to feel weighed down by “stuff”. The less you have to haul around, the less there is to keep track of.
2. Bring three smaller bags.
The cross-body purse
Having a strap and a zipper keeps your wallet, camera, phone, and other important items close to your body and safe as possible.
The backpack or tote
It’s a good idea to keep one day’s worth of clothes and a toothbrush in your backpack or tote just in case your luggage is lost. You can stow your laptop, power cords, medicines, or other fragile items that should not be checked on the plane here.
You really don’t need as many clothes as you think you do. A general rule of thumb is to pack for as many days as you will have between doing laundry. Even with a busy schedule of relocating every two days, I’m almost always able to find a few hours to wash and dry clothes in my hotel. When it comes to stairs and public transportation, you’ll be glad you’re not dragging around a monster suitcase!
3. Look good, feel good.
Just because you’re packing light doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. Especially if you are traveling for business, keep in mind that you are representing your company and appearance is still important.
Mix and Match
Since you’ll be limited on space, your best bet is to bring clothes that are easy to mix and match. Solid complementary colors and patterns that can be layered depending on the temperature are the easiest way to get a variety of outfits from a minimal amount of clothes. Be sure to keep cultural etiquette in mind as you pack.
Scarves can be your best friends on a trip. A wide scarf of a casual lightweight material is versatile and stylish—great for combating the chill of an airplane, avoiding direct sunlight on your shoulders, or even covering up a bad hair day in humid climates.
It seems like a frivolous thing, but if you are accustomed to wearing makeup, you will miss it if you don’t bring some with you. A small lip-gloss and mascara can be easily stowed away. Both can be great assets when it comes to looking composed and professional, even if you’re feeling jetlagged.
Packing for a Weekend Away
1. Keep it Practical.
I keep travel toiletries filled and ready to go at all times, and stash my toiletry kit right in my weekender bag. I’ve also developed the habit of checking my toiletry kit and filling mini shampoo bottles and re-stocking when I return from a trip. Then I don’t have to worry about this annoying task when I’m ready to take off on a Friday.
2. Keep it Fun.
What book have I been dying to start reading? If I don’t have one, I try to take the time for a little research in advance to make the most of a little extra weekend time. If I’m driving I’ll download a new book or podcasts that I’ve been wanting to try. Weekends away are about having fun and relaxing, and I like to make sure I keep that in mind as I’m packing.
3. Keep it Simple.
I try to keep in mind I will never always have everything that I think I need. Even after years of practice, there will inevitably something left on the kitchen table that never made it to the car. Those are the moments when flexibility comes in, when it’s important to be present in the moment, and even comfortable in the uncomfortable.
By following these simple rules, you will be a travel pro in no time. Have fun and enjoy the journey!