Becoming a Professional Packer: The High Maintenance List for the Low Maintenance Woman

When traveling, especially for an extended period of time, it's nice to have the resources that will allow you to feel like your beautiful, vibrant self without packing your entire house.

Over the last few weeks I've received several questions and comments from women about how I managed to pack two months worth of belongings into an average sized backpack and a small shoulder bag. This accomplishment comes as quite a shock to most women.

By packing multi-use products, I am able to save a ton of space without sacrificing any of my usual health and beauty items. I can feel like a rock-star no matter where my travels take me! 

You don't need to feel high maintenance for wanting to pack items that make you feel beautiful, like your make-up and hair straightner. You can bring everything you need and still have room for souveniers by learning to become a "pack artist"...

The Perfect Shorts

Although I'm not super enthusiastic about Lululemon's prices or the drama that has surrounded the brand, I am a huge fan of their clothing for travel purposes. I bought my first pair of plain black Lulu shorts three years ago and this little article of clothing has been with me ever since. From Hawaii to Costa Rica, and now, Colombia, these shorts are always the first item in my backpack for a number of reasons...

1. They are anti-stink, so you can wear them a lot before feeling like you need to wash them. 

2. They dry incredibly fast so if I need to hand wash them in the hostel after a long day of hiking, all I need to do is give them a rinse (with lemon essential oil and water), hang them out, and poof, they are good as new in the morning!

Side note: I always bring a few pantiliners to prolong having to wash these shorts. It's especially helpful that they have built in underwear.

3. These shorts have convenient "secret pockets", as I like to call them. This feature is super handy because you can carry cash, coins, lip balm etc. without needing to carry a wallet or purse. I really appreciate this feature especially when I am traveling through places that are famous for pickpocketing.

4. They are incredibly versitile. I can wear them for a long hike, a short run, walking around town, and I've even worn them to bed. I'd estimate that this one item of clothing is equivalent to packing three pairs of shorts. 

Since there are so many benefits of purchasing a great pair of shorts such as these, I highly recommend spending the extra money to buy one kick-ass pair that provides you with the features I described above. In the long run, this will save you money over buying many cheap pairs. I'm sure Lululemon is not the only brand that carries great travel-friendly shorts, so explore the brands that fit you best!

Swell Water Bottle 

This water bottle is a gem. It is light-weight and keeps liquids cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. It comes in a variety of sizes and there are tons of color/style options to choose from! This is my all time favorite water bottle.

Swiss Gear Backpack 

I've traveled with everything from a $20 Tj Maxx backpack to a pricey Victoria's Secret duffel bag to the classic roller suitcase. Nothing beats the Swiss Gear Backpack though. It's not the most stylish bag on earth, but its durability, warranty, and size are pretty much perfect. Additionally, its many compartments are great for organizational purposes, and the bag fits nicely under any airplane seat or overhead compartment (even on Spirit).

Mini Travel Straightener 

Here's the mini travel straightener I've been using for the past few weeks. I don't use it to straighten all of my hair, but I use it for touch ups, fly-aways, and what's left of my face frame. It heats up quickly and cools down just as fast, making it the perfect straightener to use on the go. Don't expect to look prom ready with this little guy, but if you're backpacking or just looking to put those stray hairs back in their place, add this device to your packing list!



Concealer Pencil

I bought this concealer pencil a week before I left for Medellin mainly because I realized my concealer was about three years old (so embarrassing) and I figured it was time for something new. It turned out to be one of my smartest purchases. Its small and skinny size fits easily into my makeup bag and the fact that it's not liquid ensures zero mess and zero spillage. It's also insanely easy to apply and blends incredibly well (not to mention that I just really love The Body Shop's mission and commitment to using quality ingredients). 

Foldable Hair Brush With Mirror 

My friend bought me one of these a few years ago and I've been grateful to her ever since. It´s super convenient and compact. I´ve actually used the mirror to put on makeup or take out contacts (especially helpful on an airplane) almost as much as I´ve used the brush!


By packing just the three items listed below, you can eliminate all of the following: make-up remover, anti-frizz hair products, face and body moisturizer, hair conditioner, disinfectants, face wash, hand sanitizer, and even laxatives.

Lemon Essential Oil

I like to pack items that have multiple uses, and lemon essential oil fits the bill! Lemon is a cleansing astringent. I use it to wash my clothes, clean on my skin, and even sanitize my hands. I recently bought a new pair of earrings from a market in Guatape, I used my lemon essential oil to disinfect them.

In addition, after being on a plane all day, you can start to feel, well... smelly and gross! During my last layover I washed my hands in the bathroom and then used a few drops of oil to clean my face and armpits, and to freshen up my neck. It's not as satisfying as a shower, but this simple product helps me feel fresh and keeps me clean.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is my favorite item to pack on any trip and it has hundreds of uses for any traveler. Not only is it a great moisturizer for your face, body, and hair, but also works extremely well as makeup remover. If you're feeling a little constipated after a long flight, just add a little bit of oil to your morning coffee or tea and let the coconut work its magic. Coconut oil has literally hundreds of other uses and benefits that I'll let you explore on your own.

Witch Hazel  

This multi-purpose astringent is a complete bad-ass when it comes to cleansing your skin, and controlling spots, pimples, and blemishes that become much more noticable after a long night of travel. This herbal remedy is a must-pack for your next camping trip because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that treat itching from poison ivy and insect bites. If camping is not your jam and you´re more of a beach bum, witch hazel is also perfect for you because it can be used as an after shave treatment for bumpy red skin. So, if you didn´t have time to get your pre-vaca wax, fear not; witch hazel has your back... and your bikini line!

Read about more benefits of using witch hazel here.

Your Future Packing Endeavors 

I hope this helps you in your future packing endeavors! If you come across an item that you really want to pack for your trip, but don't feel you have the space, try applying the "pack artist" principles of finding multi-use and insanely efficient products. Get creative, and please hit me up if you find more travel-friendly products. I'd love to add them to this list!