Tomorrow Malck and I (and my mom) are leaving for a two-week trip with a round trip distance of 2,700 miles. We are driving, and I have a comfortable SUV, so I could pack the car full and take just about anything.

But, I’m not going to.

First of all, overpacking the car means I get less gas mileage.

Second, anything I take with me with have to be cleaned and put away when I get home.

So, I thought I would share my tips for packing light.  These are for driving where I can be a little more generous with my packing. If I were flying, I would have to be far more restrictive on what I take.

  • You need less clothes than you think you do.

Coordinate, layer, and mix and match will be your best bets with clothing. Unless you need a special outfit for a wedding, graduation, or other event, stick to the essentials: a pair of shorts, a pair of jeans, and a skirt as well as several (no more than 5 for a two week trip) tops that can mix and match with each. Use multi-use items like a sarong for a skirt, scarf, and beach cover. Add a cardigan or light jacket if the temperature is right. (It will not be needed in San Antonio, TX in August, I’m sure.) Three pairs of shoes should be all you need. For me, I’m going to bring flip flops, sneakers, and a pair of flats.

Neatly packed clothes fit better into suitcases than messy clothes. Even on the way back. Extra tip – if you wash your clothes before you pack to go home, you will be more inclined to fold them neatly making them easier to pack. AND, when you get home all you have to do is put them away!

  • Limit accessories.

I love big blingy jewelry. I’m only allowing myself one or two items. If I knew I had a dress up event to go, I might bring more, but this is a great way to save space. And, since you have little in the way of bling, it makes the perfect souvenir to buy while you are there. Occasionally, there is a method to the madness.

  • Use travel sized products.

I have two hotel nights planned and will bring soap, shampoo, etc. enough to cover those nights plus a little extra. I’ll get what I need for the main part of the trip while there. I will bring a small make up kit with a minimal amount of makeup (planned to match my outfits) and a full-size deodorant as well as some emergency feminine supplies.

  • Plan to do laundry.

I have the benefit of staying with family while I’m away, but even hotels generally have washers and dryers so you can do your laundry while away from home. Consider buying the laundry detergent pods and bringing them in a small plastic baggie or other sealed container. If you are flying, you might want to consider buying a small amount of detergent at your destination (not the hotel or convenience store, brave the local grocery store or Wal-Mart-esque shop).

  • Bring only the books you know you will read.

I always bring more books than I need. And, I always feel bad that I didn’t take the time to read them. However, remember the focus of your trip. If it is to enjoy time at a location or with certain people, the books can wait. (Yes, I just said reading can wait – and I’m an English major!) You can bring more books with an e-reader, though, so I generally feel less guilty bringing my Kindle.

For the drive, I will stock up on audio books and subject my fellow travelers to my reading selections over the car speakers.

  • Consider dropping the electronics.

This is pretty much the same as the book tip above. Are you going to play your DS, use your tablet AND need the portable DVD player? Probably not. Lighten the load by just bringing one. I am packing my laptop (because even though I’m ‘on vacation’ I have things I need to write and monitor) as well as my Kindle Fire that will function as my tablet and ereader. My phone will be playing the role of camera with an instant print camera coming along as understudy.

Do remember to bring chargers – bonus points if your electronics can share chargers. Mine can’t. I hate losing bonus points.

  • Keep other hobby supplies minimal.

I also do art journaling. I could bring tubs and tubs filled with supplies. But I’m not going to. I forcibly limited myself to supplies that could fit in a metal lunch box, my journal, my tin of Neocolor crayons, and a watercolor tin. Both tins are too big for the lunchbox and I refuse to leave them at home. I won’t lie, it was hard.

If you are into another hobby, limit the supplies you bring within reason. How many crochet hooks do you need? Really need. An amateur photographer could test himself by just bringing one camera with two lenses instead of the two or three camera set up he is used to.

  • Wear comfortable clothes while traveling.

If space is an issue, layer it on (especially the coat/jacket) while traveling, but remember to stay comfortable. I will be in the car for 10-14 hours the first day and 6 – 10 hours the second day of travelling both to Texas and back. Yoga pants and a comfy t-shirt will be my clothes of choice.