For the past four months, I’ve taken a minimum of one trip per month. Some of these trips were local, and others were across the country and international. As much as I love traveling, packing is always a struggle for me. I always stress about how much food to bring, how many pairs of exercise leggings I actually need, and whether I need to bring any lightweight equipment.

Now on my 5th trip, I finally feel like I’m establishing a routine and have an idea of what to pack depending on the circumstances.

If I’m traveling to a city where I know I’ll have easy access to fitness classes, I’ll make sure to pack gym clothes that actually match and not worry so much about bringing any gear with me. I also aim to only travel with one pair of sneakers, so I have to make the decision between my running shoes and my cross-trainers. If I am traveling to a race or plan to get in several runs, I’ll opt to bring my running shoes. If I know that I won’t be running that much and focusing more on strength and interval workouts, I’ll pack my cross-trainers. Since I avoid checking bags like the plague, I try to minimize shoes since they are heavy. In general, it’s not ideal to wear running shoes for cross-training and vice versa, but a few days won’t hurt. It certainly beats straining a muscle from a heavy bag.

Depending on where I’m going, I can get anxious about the food situation. If I know there’s a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s close to where I’m staying, I’ll only pack food for the plane. My favorite travel snacks are popcorn, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, roasted chickpeas, and freeze-dried fruit and veggies. If the food options look questionable, I’ll bring oatmeal and plant-based protein powder that I can prepare easily. These snacks are all lightweight and liquid-free, so they make great carryons!

Additionally, I’ve become much more discerning with my liquids since they all have to fit into a quart-sized bag! My medications are a given, as well as my face wash and night cream. I have sensitive skin, so I can only use specific products that could be hard to replace on the road. I’ve stopped traveling with body wash and lotion recently because I find that these are much easier to replace than facial products and my skin is less sensitive. To be honest, I do miss my lotion sometimes but for short trips, I can deal without. I still travel with my hair products because everything I use is free of dyes, sulfates, and parabens, which can also prove difficult to find on the road. To save money, I will refill 1-2 ounce bottles with my skin and hair products instead of buying actual travel size toiletries.

After I have my food and toiletries figured out, it’s time for the fun part: clothes! I absolutely love handbags and shoes, so I always struggle to narrow down. Also, it’s really hard to know what you want to wear in 4 days from now! I mostly stick to neutral clothes, handbags, and shoes so that I can mix and match. I will typically travel with two purses-one larger bag for my personal carryon and a smaller crossbody for walking around-and one small suitcase. Depending on how long my trip is, I’ll bring 2-3 pairs of shoes. I make sure that I have at least one pair that’s good for walking and another that can be dressed up.

On the day to day basis, I’m not one for folding clothes but I will always fold my clothes to fit them into my suitcase. It really does save a lot of room!

And with that, I’m all packed and ready to go on my next adventure! What are your favorite things to travel with?

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