Traveling Light -or- How to lose 50 pounds with one MOVE

Alex in Italy with luggage, edited by ab for
Alex, age 14, Italy

I have learned a lot about packing since my first big trip to Italy when I was 14 years old.  My packing philosophy at that time was definitely "more is more" and I filled two big suitcases with practically every article of clothing I owned with the reasoning: "who knows where we'll go or what I'll want to wear."

As it turned out, we would go a lot of places throughout Italy that trip, and instead of being glad I had 5 slightly different printed blouses, I was frustrated that I never could find the one blouse that I really wanted to wear.  It also wasn't very fun when we had to lug our giant suitcases through cobblestone streets or hoist them up onto the various trains that we would take.  (Thank goodness for chivalrous Italian gentlemen!) 

Shortly after that first trip, I made the upgrade to the rolling suitcases with 360 degree spinning wheels.  That in itself made a huge difference, but unless a suitcase also magically lifts itself up stairs or up into train luggage racks, it doesn't matter how fancy your wheels are or how many directions they turn.

Thirteen years and at least thirteen trips later, I've learned that  less really is more, but putting that philosophy into action hasn't always been easy for me.  In the past I've had good intentions, but easily get carried away by my "what if" thoughts and find myself adding more and more articles of clothing until my one carry-on luggage has turned into a carry-on and a checked bag, both at their maximum weight allowance, and I'm trying to figure out how to pass a duffel bag as my "purse."

Part of the solution is the clothes themselves. Lately, I've been trying to be really mindful about purchasing multipurpose pieces that can mix and match with just about every other piece I am taking; The rule for me is: each piece must work in at least three separate outfits.  In general, that means a lot of neutral pieces, or at least, all pieces in one color story and then mixing it up with lightweight accessories, like scarves and jewelry.  I've found that the more thought I put into shopping for each piece and planning different outfits ahead of time, the more pleasurable it is to get ready once I've arrived.  Instead of feeling limited by my clothes- this shirt only goes with the brown pants, where are the brown pants??- I feel really free.. I could wear this shirt with this skirt, or these pants, or these shorts... etc.

For me, an important part of keeping to just what I need is having clear limits. That's why I'm really excited to try the MOVE Mobile Closet by Max Mirani.   Like any good, modern suitcase it's lightweight and sturdy with a telescoping handle and 360 degree wheels, but what I'm most excited about is the clever interior compartments. There are specific areas for each type of clothing (shirts in one area, shoes in another, etc.) which not only keep things sorted but also act as a built-in limit on each category- If the shirt area is already full, it forces you to evaluate if that last top is really necessary- and ensures that you don't overdo it on shirts while neglecting other things, like say, socks.

When you arrive, you simply open it up and hang it in the closet, and the various compartments act like drawers, allowing you to find everything easily without ever having to unpack at your destination.  (I'm sure I'd be sad to know how many hours of my life were spent digging through a suitcase and then essentially refolding every item in it afterwards!) It  is carry-on size, but it easily fits two weeks of clothes and you can even do a little shopping at your destination (as I am wont to do) and still make it home no problem- the inner compartment comes out and acts as a shoulder bag, leaving the shell free to fill with whatever you like.

I have several trips planned for the coming year, and now with my new suitcase (or soon to be new- it's in my wishlist now!) I'm even looking forward to the packing part of those trips.  There is something immensely satisfying about knowing that you'll have just what you need, and that everything is in its place and there's a place for everything.   

          Many happy travels! 

                                                                      by Alex

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More Travel Philosophy and Tips: -  "The Art and Science of Travelling Light"
"Packing"- What to pack from the fashionista and pro-traveller Gwyneth Paltrow
"Fly Better"- More travel tips from Gwyneth and friends
"How to Pack for a Holiday
A visual guide to packing plus tips from "a pair and a spare" 

Max Mirani MOVE Mobile Closet in the emporium (us)...

MOVE Mobile Closet

Other travel musts:

1) A good jewelry roll.... 
I've had this one by Tech Swiss for several years now and I love it.  It fits easily in my carry-on and keeps everything sorted- I especially like hanging my necklace chains on the bar so they don't get tangled and using the zippered compartment below to protect the necklace pendants.
(us) (fr) 

2) Really good skin care...
Mom and I have recently discovered and fallen in love with Fushi products- all organic, vegetarian and high-quality. I particularly love the hair products and I can't wait to try this skincare kit.  It comes in a bag that meets the new TSA guidelines and includes everything to moisturize, hydrate, and refresh on-the-go.      (us)(uk) ~ (ca) ~ (fr)(de)  

3) In-flight reading...
I read a lot of foreign language books, and nothing delivers hard to find titles better and less-expensively than the digital editions available for Kindle, making this great for me whether I'm on a trip, or just at home. I'm especially excited about the new Kindle Paperwhite, with excellent contrast that works great in both bright daylight and at night.
(us)(uk) ~ (ca)* ~ (fr)(de) ~ (it)(es)  

*Canadian users can purchase some Kindle products from (us) store

Image by lb

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