The words "holiday travel" strike fear in the hearts of anyone who's ever traveled during November and December. The crowds, the traffic, the weather, the sibling rivalry that you thought you'd outgrow - it's a lot to deal with. The last thing you need is to drag around a heavy suitcase. And if the airline misplaces your luggage, you're going to have to run to the mall and spend a fortune on whatever fits - and that's IF you can find plus size clothing stores in the area.
That's why I always tell you to pack light so you can carry on your luggage. One less thing to worry about. But the thought of paring down your wardrobe is daunting. It's not that you can't live without your vast collection of earrings for a week. It's that you're already stressed out and can't spare any brainpower to being thoughtful about your packing.
So let me do the thinking for you.
Time To Be Mean
You get 2 pairs of shoes including the ones you're wearing on the plane. If I can survive a whole week with only 2 pairs of shoes, you can. For accessories, grab two or three of everything - scarves, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings. They're small and you can wear some onto the plane.
Plan on one outfit per day. Sure, different activities require different clothing, but anything you wear for only a few hours can be worn again the next day. You can wear each skirt or pair of pants twice. They won't be too rumpled or stinky. Dresses are trickier, but you can make one do double duty by adding a topper and hanging it up to air out in between wearings.
But what about stains? I can't remember the last time I spilled food onto my lap because my bosom catches it first. Wear an apron while cooking and if someone's toddler runs into you with a face covered in jam, you can spot clean.
You'll have more room in your luggage for clothes if you pare down your toiletries. I would never suggest you skip a few steps of your skincare routine. A gal's gotta moisturize. But you can buy TSA approved wee little bottles for your shampoo and conditioner. On eBay you can buy sample sizes of your usual skincare products. They're unopened, but the boxes are damaged or missing, so you can get a bargain. You could even have them shipped to your destination to bypass the TSA completely.
You'll also be able to fit more clothes into your bag if you use a zip top space saver bag that lets you squeeze out all the air, making your clothes more compact without wrinkling them.
Another obstacle to packing light is in flight entertainment. You bring a book, a magazine, a tablet, a journal, a laptop, a deck of cards, snacks, noise-cancelling headphones, a neck pillow, an eye mask, and whatever else you can cram into a backpack or duffel.
Be realistic about what you'll need on the plane. You'll find that you have plenty of room to bring clothes on board if you leave the hard cover books and pillows at home.
Even if you can't manage to pack lightly enough to fit everything into a carry on suitcase, bring an outfit or two in your carry on so lost luggage won't be a complete disaster.