Quick Packing Tip: Bring an Extra Shirt

You may have read about how, on my first work trip, I brought a ridiculous amount of stuff with me. That trend continued for a while, as I grappled with how to pack efficiently and yet completely. About four months after that first trip, I took a trip that spanned the country: three towns, three events, and three completely different climates. This trip necessitated a large amount of stuff, so much so that I ended up having to check a bag. Which the airline promptly lost. I spent that evening searching frantically at Target in Eugene, OR for replacement tablecloth, shoes, and makeup. That trip was so stressful that I vowed never to check a bag again.

For the next trip, I decided that I was going to take the ultra-minimalist approach to packing. For a four day, two city trip I brought two pairs of pants and two tops. Surely, I thought, I could wear each top once in each city, with no one being the wiser. I thought this until, on the second day of my trip, I spilled coffee all over my cream-colored sweater. As overnight soaking had no effect, I spent a frantic evening in Old Navy in Oklahoma City trying to find a top that would work. Sigh. In my efforts to bring less, I may, possibly, have over-corrected.

Which leads me to my tip. Please bring at least one shirt more than you require. For example, on that fateful coffee-spill trip, I should have brought three tops so I had one just in case something went wrong. One option, of course, is to bring a separate shirt for each day. If you have multiple locations, just make sure that your wardrobe is not dependent on every shirt looking fresh after the first wearing. One extra shirt, that is all I’m suggesting. Hopefully this will save you the stress of a late night visit to a department store, searching the racks for something, anything, that will go with the one pair of slacks you brought with you….


  1. good tip! it’s also helpful for the trips where your flight is canceled and you have to spend an unexpected extra day somewhere. it also goes to show why packing at least one extra set of underwear and socks is necessary!

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