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How To Pack: The Two Bag Rule

How To Aug 4, 2015

The Two Bag Rule

I was so glad to that some of you found my recent packing guide useful. It seems that many of us struggle with over packing and not knowing how to balance being prepared (and looking good!) with packing light. I particularly loved all the questions you asked via comments and emails. With that in mind I decided that the guide needs to be elaborated, that way I will hopefully cover any questions you guys have!

One of the questions that kept coming up was “how would this work for my trip to…?” I.e. if you were going to cold or hot climates, or a beach trip vs a city break. One reader was going on a surprise honeymoon and didn’t even know the destination. Scary. Also v v sweet. But also scary! In light of that, I’m going to be starting with the 2 bag rule and breaking it down into specific destinations. The general rules still apply: 1 large bag for when you are on the plane and during the day when you need supplies, and 1 small bag for in the evenings and when you don’t want to carry too much. I’ve partnered with Oroton to create this post, they have a lovely new collection in store and I thought it would be a great way to illustrate the general principles. Read on for more tips!


Bags on this post: Oroton Backpack, Mini Messenger bag, Fringed bag, Black Tote, Envelope clutch and Hobo Bag

How To Pack: The Two Bag Rule

For a City

Big Bag: This will vary depending on what city you’re going to. If you are heading somewhere more casual with a focus on exploring like Rio, Hanoi or Florence consider a backpack – way  better for when walking around/sightseeing. If you’re going somewhere like New York, Paris or London and want to look more polished go for a large shoulder bag – one with zips if going somewhere that’s known for pickpockets.

Small Bag: You’re much more likely to go out for nice dinners and drinks when on a city break. If you’re anything like me that’s pretty much all you’ll be doing! So a sleek cross body bag or even a clutch is in order.

For the Beach

Big Bag: Take a big straw beach tote, it needs to be able to fit your beach day necessities. It also can’t be too precious as it might get wet and will definitely get sandy. A bag with a side pocket or compartment for your valuables is always handy too.

Small Bag: Strolling a beach town in the evenings or having cocktails at the beach bar calls for a little strappy shoulder bag or fringed bag. I still wouldn’t go too precious as I’m a bit messy and a lot lazy! But if you’re more reliable you can trust yourself with something nicer.

For a Wedding

Big Bag: When travelling for just a few days for a special event like a wedding, you can get away with a big bag that isn’t as versatile. If it’s a destination wedding and you are combining the trip with another holiday – or you happen to have a great capsule wardrobe and haven’t made the mistake of buying something frivolous (doh!) – take the trusty leather tote.

Small Bag: Your small bag should perfectly match your outfit. The whole trip is about the wedding right? So have fun and pick something bright or sparkly. Again something you wouldn’t take when going on a longer trip. For once it doesn’t have to be neutral or multi-purpose.

For Work

Big Bag: Choose a formal leather tote as your big bag. Clean and subtle and big enough for your notes, diary and your laptop/iPad if you need it. Plan what you’ll need for any meetings or conferences beforehand and make sure it all fits.

Small Bag: You will probably be going out for business dinners or after work drinks – might as well enjoy being in a different city right? So take a smaller evening bag too. A black shoulder bag is the safest, avoid anything flashy or over the top.

For Mixed Destinations

So many questions about – what if I’m going here and then there? – e.g. Vegas and Mexico or London and Ibiza or Bangkok and Koh Samui? When making the most out of our travel and leave days it is just good planning to tack a city break or stop over onto a beach holiday, so I know how common this is.

Big Bag: Your big bag needs to be something you feel comfortable wandering the city with but not too precious for the beach. A large canvas bag or cute embellished straw tote is perfect – works for city exploring and as a beach bag.

Your Small Bag: Your small bag also has to be versatile. Something you feel comfortable wearing out for dinner at a nice restaurant but not too flashy for the beach bar. Maybe go for tan as it can be dressed up and down… and you know how I feel about tan shoulder bags!

For a Festival

Big Bag: A backpack is a must. For practicality and thank goodness they are right on trend at the moment! This is another occasion you’ll be walking for miles as well as being away from your tent for probably the whole day… and half the night, so you need a comfortable bag with lots of space.

Small bag: A cross body bag is also an essential festival companion. Have a bit of fun and pick a relaxed style that matches your personality (I have a thing about tassels) but make sure it can sit across your body so you can dance and move through crowds without having to worry.

Read on to see a few ways you can style your two bags. And by the way, enjoy your travels!

Wearing: Zulu & Zephyr shorts, Faithfull off the shoulder top, market hat, J Crew Flats, Oroton bag.

Oroton leather skirt (has a side split and I love!), Zulu & Zephyr top, Market hat, Zara heels, Oroton bag.

This post is in collaboration with Oroton

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Tags Bags Packing travel

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