the art of packing for a mini-break

I recently went on a sojourn to Toronto lasting five days. Before deciding what to pack, I had to consider two things: what I’d be doing and the weather.

The main purpose of my trip was to attend the Toronto International Film Festival. I like to dress-up for the movie premieres, so I had to have a balance of casual outfits, along with more formal items.

As for the weather, well, I did my best given the ever-changing forecast.

This is how I packed.

the “suitcase” and the purse - the art of packing for a mini-break

I packed my belongings in a Timbuk2 Wingman Duffel Bag in the small size. (I think this size may have been discontinued.) This bag has multiple compartments and can be worn as a backpack.

Even with all those compartments, I somehow still felt the need to repack my items into smaller bags. I brought a wet bag for my dirty laundry, a shoe bag and a packing cube for all my other clothing items. - the art of packing for a mini-break
I chose to bring my Longchamp Le Pliage as my main purse. Based on my activities, I knew that I’d be away from home each day for many hours. I needed a bag that would hold my water bottle, snacks, cardigan and other items.

The added bonus of this bag is that it folds up when not in use. This came in handy on my final day when I wanted to walk around and didn’t want to be carrying both my backpack and a purse.

the clothes and the shoes - the art of packing for a mini-break

I wore a simple t-shirt and jeans on my transit day to Toronto. This was a low-key day and I didn’t have any major plans. The next day I wore the same jeans with a blouse to have lunch with a friend and to stroll around. I also wore this outfit on my last day for the trip back home. - the art of packing for a mini-break

I mostly wear dresses, so I packed a more casual summer dress, along with my purple party dress. I wore my party dress on the day that I attended movie premieres.

Honestly, I could’ve gotten away with just bringing one of these dresses as I only ended up wearing each one once. I think dresses can easily be worn multiple times before washing is required. - the art of packing for a mini-break

I’m a big believer in packing at most two pairs of shoes, plus either flip flops or slippers. My real preference is to only bring one pair of shoes and wear them the whole time. But as I knew it was likely going to rain, I couldn’t rely solely on my Toms.

I actually wore my Toms with my party dress. I know – a fashion faux pas. But after wearing my other shoes the previous day, I knew that I wouldn’t be comfortable wearing them for more than 12 hours the next day. I’ll probably donate these soon as they haven’t turned out to be a very good buy for me.

the accessories and the extras - the art of packing for a mini-break

The weather was going to be chilly some days, so I needed to bring either my trench coat or my cardigan. I chose my cardigan, though on at least one of the days, a trench coat would’ve been more appropriate. I also brought a scarf. It came in handy to liven up my outfits and as a blanket in the theatre when I got cold. - the art of packing for a mini-break

I’m not a big jewelry wearer. I wear my silver ring every day, and occasionally a bracelet. I have a gold cocktail ring that I like to wear for special events. Film fest is a special event in my eyes, so I brought it along.

I also packed my sunglasses, a mini umbrella, my reusable water bottle, snack container and enviro bag.

the make-up and the toiletries - the art of packing for a mini-break

I needed make-up that would last the whole day. I’m not really someone who reapplies once I leave the house. I debated bringing mascara, but decided against it because I knew I’d rub my eyes at some point and be stuck looking like a raccoon. I recently purchased eyeliner again after a while of not wearing it. I think I’m over eyeliner. It irritates my eyes too much. But I love, love, love 100% Pure’s Lip & Cheek Tint! Who doesn’t like a two-in-one product?!

For most of my time in Toronto, I was staying at a friend’s place that I hadn’t stayed at before. So I brought along my own towel, toothpaste and shampoo as I didn’t want to make any assumptions. Plus, I like using my own brands.

I repackaged my tea tree oil into a smaller vial, as well as my moisturizer and toothpaste into a contact lense case – no leakage! I also use a Preserve kid-sized toothbrush when traveling since they’re smaller and easier to pack. I’m working on replacing my deodorant with a crystal or a homemade variety, so that won’t take up quite as much space the next time around.

Aside: The shampoo bar I’m currently using is from Lush. I know it has sodium lauryl sulfate in it. If you have any suggestions on a non-toxic shampoo bar that works well, please let me know. I’m also transitioning most of my beauty products and toiletries to less toxic varieties. It’s a work in progress at the moment.

the unmentionables and the forgotten

These are the items that I either never intended or forgot to photograph:

  • Undergarments (two bras, four pairs of underwear)
  • Nightgown
  • Black leggings (I had to wear these with my casual dress because it was cold. It kind of wrecked my look, but at least I was warm!)
  • iPhone (can also be used for reading ebooks / listening to music), charger and earphones
  • Wallet, keys and tissues
  • Eyeglasses (so that I could actually see the movies and for spotting celebrities)
  • Tweezers
  • Dental¬†picks (one of my environmental sins, but they’ve improved my dental health)
  • A travel-sized version of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap in baby mild (I can’t believe I forgot to include it in my toiletries photo – big fail!)

the end of the road - the art of packing for a mini-break

And here’s me on my last day sporting my backpack. I’m happy I brought it instead of my carry-on suitcase with wheels. I decided to walk from my friend’s place to the bus station that was almost 7 km (4.35 miles) away!

There’s no way I would’ve been able to do that dragging a suitcase along or if I hadn’t (mostly) mastered the art of traveling light.

Dream travel wardrobe: I’d like to work towards a variation of this minimalista packing list for my future sojourns . . . but perhaps without the convertible travel pants.