You have overpacked...again. You read up on packing lists and capsule wardrobes and thought you had it all figured out, but no, you still brought way too many unnecessary things. How can you get out of this vicious cycle?
Make a packing list while you are still on your trip!
I know, I know, you are on vacation, you should not have to do any work. But trust me, it saves you so much time and energy the next time that it is worth it. Write it on paper, your phone, your computer; it doesn't matter, it is so beneficial. What items did you use and what items could you have left at home? Was there anything you had to purchase on your trip, besides souvenirs? Take the time to make this list and it will save you so many headaches and frustrations in the future. And then, when you go to a similar location, refine your list. Indicate to yourself if you had easy to access laundry facilities. Could you have found a laundry facility? Packing lighter helps you get around easier and makes you blend in with your surroundings. Which makes you less of a target for pick pockets and scams.
Other ways to compress your travel wardrobe:
1) Packing cubes - these come in various sizes and allow you to put sets of clothing together. You can get 1 cube from a large suitcase for your overnight stay and not have to dig through everything to find that one shirt.
2) Colors - pick 2 main colors for bottoms and match shirts with them. The same goes for shoes; keep your footwear to practical styles and notice how much room you have for other accessories. I personal like black and navy because they show less dirt marks and I feel I can wear them more frequently compared to lighter colored bottoms that tend to show wear more easily.
3) Layers - when traveling you go into different environments for tours and excursions. Use this to your advantage and bring scarves or light weight sweaters with you to mix and match with your clothing. A simple scarf can be worn around your neck, waist, or even your bag to create different looks. It also allows you to be prepared to enter a religious building at a moments notice.
4) Laundry facilities /fabric choices- I will choose a hotel based on the fact that I have a washer and dryer in my room. Or, worst case, I wash travel/athletic wear in the sink. I am sure by now you know that certain fabrics resist smells and dry super quick. My husband and I will always wear those clothes first on our trip. This way we can wash them in the hotel sink and hang them to dry if needed. And because of the fabric they are dry by morning. If you don't own any of this amazing fabric yet let me know. I can point you in the right direction for obtaining some for your next vacation. We also check with our travel advisor to see what hotels offer free or reduced laundry for guests. There have been times we have packed a weeks worth of clothes for a three week trip.
5) Vacation mindset - if you are traveling to multiple destinations don't fret about having a different outfit for each new place. Wear your nice dress or pants to every dinner! No one will know. We get so used to seeing the same people everyday that we continue that mindset when packing for vacation. You will not see the same people each evening if you are moving locations. So keep that in mind. Unless you are a very messy eater, which I doubt. Wear your comfortable dress to dinner each night! Pair it with different accessories and BAM, you have a new look. Believe me, no one keeps track of how many times you wear something to dinner. So take advantage of that and wear your garment again and again.
By following these tips you should be able to keep your luggage to one checked bag and one carry-on. And as you get more confident in your wardrobe you can compress it to only a carry-on. Remember traveling is about the experience you gain by being in a new place and seeing things that are different than your normal day. Come to realize that this is what is important. As long as you don't stink to high heaven, no one cares what you are wearing. And packing lighter gives you freedom to pick up fashion trends from the location you are visiting and take them home with you for future use.