Cotswolds Diary, Day (-1), Packing Tips

Packing Packing Packing. Bless my little OCD heart. On the one hand: Very Organized. On the other: Very Organized. And on the Other Other: Entirely Overthought. Which leads, occasionally, to overwrought. Which I recommend avoiding whenever possible.

I thought I could make it with three suitcases, two for clothes and one for art. But then, books. So there is a fourth, small one. But then, art supplies. They were so heavy that I thought better to put  in another small bag, and I will leave that there for when I return. But just so you know, I could have squoze it into three, but I chose not to, not least of all because I am going to have to hoist these babies to and fro and probably more than once.  And British Airways chose to charge me $200 extra for the extra.

One last observation: One tends to be overly optimistic about what one will actually accomplish on holiday and I am no exception. Alas. There is an argument that says “accomplish” and “holiday” might not belong together in the same sentence, but that is not my argument. Yet… Unless I accomplish nothing, in which case I have a fallback. Otherwise, here are…

A few tips:

  1. Focus on 2-3 colors, preferably that all work together, and an accent color or two. (Eg., navy/black – white/cream – khaki/olive + green 🙂 This goes a long way to keeping the shoe count low. I find shoes* are the most difficult things to edit. Be strong.
  2. Choose fabrics that are lightweight and wrinkle resistant. Silks, synthetics like viscose and rayon, microfibers are lightweight, low maintenance, and take up less room. Include a few prints because they don’t often show drips, blobs, wrinkles as obviously as solids.
  3. Scarves and shawls are versatile as accessories, take up little room, and can double as belts, blouses, sarongs, and skirts.
  4. Costume jewelry: One or two fun, fab pieces really can perk up the simplest ensemble. Necklaces especially.
  5.  Packing cubes really do help compress foldable into compact little bundles and help keep things organized while traveling if you are not able to unpack completely. NB: Clothes do expand while traveling and take up lots more room on the way back home. This is well known.
  6. Pack a small first aid kit with tummy remedies, Benadryl, Band-aids, antiseptic cream, sleep aids.
  7. Pack vitamins and supplements in plastic bags with slips of paper inside saying what they are.
  8. Ladies, panty liners used daily keep undies fresher. Very handy. 
  9. Pouches – separate for skin care and make-up, jewelry costume and good, meds, first aid, vitamins, hair things. I also take a separate for the plane that includes: hand sanitizer, moisturizing eye drops, “Ocean” saline nasal spray, silk eye shade, ear plugs, sleep aid, face cream, hand cream, lip balm, all in tiny containers. 
  10. On longer trip I sometimes take a baby pillow with silk pillow case, just because it is comforting and yummy and squooshable. 
  11. If you are checking, Apple air tags are a great idea.  And for Apple alternatives, try here. (Thank you dear reader Susanna for suggesting!)

*A note about shoes: I cannot say enough about Rothy’s. They’re made partly from re-cycled plastic bottles (don’t get me started) and are lightweight, squooshable, and stylish as anything. And COMFORTABLE omg. My corns and I absolutely love them for travel. Btw, I have no connection to them but wish I did.

Packing tips, hanging rack, Frances Schultz
A small hanging rack just outside my bedroom door is very handy in the days/weeks of packing ahead of time. Lets you see it all together, add and subtract (and add ;), and figure out which accessories you’re going to want.
Scarves and shawls for travel - Frances Schultz
Scarves and shawls are a a traveler’s savior. Include at least one scarf and one shawl in your carry-on, as planes can be chilly.
Shoes for travel - Frances Schultz
Shoes for me are the hardest. Think about what you will actually be doing, and prepare accordingly. boots are a pain, but if you need them, you need them. One pair nude heels for summer evenings, done. For day, Rothy’s (top right two pairs and bottom right two pairs) are my fave and super comfy. See note*
Packing cubes are a blessing - Frances Schultz
Packing cubes are a compressing blessing.
Vitamins and supplements with little labels tucked in the bags - Frances Schultz
Vitamins and supplements with little labels tucked in the bags because some of them look alike.
Lots of little pouches are great for traveling - Frances Schultz
Lots of little pouches are great for traveling. A mix of styles and colors helps me remember what they are. Much as I’d like the visual zen of sameness, I’d have a harder time keeping them straight…In my carry-on: Chargers, insulated sippy cup (key!), plane kit, baby pillow, jewelry (very little) iPad, laptop, skin care, make up, tiny teapot, sketchbook, needlepoint.
The traveling plein air oil painting kit - Frances Schultz
The Plein air oil painting kit
The watercolor kit - Frances Schultz
The watercolor kit

 And when it’s all said and done, have cash on hand for a generous tip and pray for a porter with a sense of humor. And then join me without packing a thing on Instagram here 🙂

Godspeed, Frances

So much for packing light. But I’m ready for anything!


  1. Frances! Nothing better than a painting holiday! The clothing packing is less problematic than the painting kit & health & beauty & tech essentials! Books are over the top! Btw, does this packing differ from your walking trips?

    1. Hi Suji! You speak the truth, although the painting kit becomes second nature – or at least that is what they tell me. One does learn to work with what one has…. As for this kind of packing vs walking trip packing, what is most helpful is knowing what you will be doing. The clearer your notion of that, the easier it is to prepare for it and therefore the less you need. It’s when you don’t know… Will I be invited to Lady Flossie’s tea? Will I go to the theater? Will I go horseback riding? Play tennis? What if it turns cold? Those are the eventualities one must decide whether or not to pack for… you know? Thank you so much for writing. It is great to hear from you! xox F

  2. Well, of course you are remarkable and I am not even going on your trip. My way to pack is put everything out that you are going to take, then see if there is any room left. If there is, then pack some more. Or, if you are going on Tom’s plane, you can add another suitcase! I hope you had a good time, and I am keeping your blog so I can get better organized. Love always

    Marilyn Holland

    1. Dearest M, This of course is the fool proof method and highly commendable. And while private aviation does not solve all of life’s problems, it certainly makes many of them easier ;D. xox Frances

  3. You are something else, Miz Frannie! No one in world like you. Packing for LA tomorrow so I so appreciate the tips. I love the end photo wiyh you at tailgate. Priceless.

  4. Have a wonderful holiday!
    What is your favorite luggage for a carry on, and also to check ?
    Thank you!❤️

    1. Hi Katharine! I think I’m still searching. It’s such a personal thing isn’t it. For super lightweight and stylish I currently like Lipault for carry-on and checked. But if you want to stack something on top of the carry-on, you will need to secure it to the handle because the Lipault is squooshy and has no perimeter frame to support it something on top of one of its sides. I also like the Italian Brics. I pack my art kit in London Fog, which is US made and very good.

  5. Great advise and photos are keepers! If only I’d known then what I know now. Enjoy your trip!

  6. …fly from Manchester to Bermuda via connections through London and NY to join my husband who is marlin tournament fishing. Packing for cooler climate and then more tropical attire is tricky. I have already packed my plein air gig in a carry-on size even though it has to be checked. So I just want to take one more carryon which means wearing a loose Indian dress with my heaviest shoe on the plane. Definitely will be layering and quickly stripping when I hit sandy soil.
    Hope you have a grand time! Why are you taking a tea kettle when you are traveling to one of the most renown tea party places on the planet?

    1. Thank you Anna Ball! Sounds like you have it down, girl. Re the teapot, It’s for the plane and hotel room because I don’t like putting the bag in the cup, which is totally neurotic. I don’t always take it, but if I can, I do. It weighs nothing and I bought it in India for $1.

  7. Oh fun! I will be traveling vicariously through you and looking forward to all your adventures!

  8. Dear Frances, you are always a source of inspiration for me and I admire you profoundly.

    As we speak I am packing for my first Camino trip. (One day I’ll make it to one of yours…)

    Question: what socks and shoes do you recommend for the Camino? Do you use thick wool socks as they recommend?

    PS: btw, I must tell you that I have a photo of you and your partner as my inspiration for stylish & practical Camino wardrobe.
    Thanks in advance for your kind reply.

    1. Dear Mari, thank you for writing and thank you so much for your kind words. We will look forward to your joining us one day! Meanwhile how exciting for you in preparing for your Camino! … Take my advice here with a grain of salt and absolutely do consult a great hiking/walking shoe expert for the last word because they will be up on the latest. I have found what works for me, which is a super comfy shoe with a v padded sole, such as Hoka or Brooks (but there are others). For socks I choose a medium to thinner thickness Smartwool. There are good microfibers out there too but Im less familiar. Good luck and lmk how it goes! Buen Camino,

  9. Well, I have not been on one of your trips, but I hope someday. I’ve enjoyed reading both your stories and responses and being a novice at all this I’m wondering if you would tell me the secret to packing an oil plein air kit regarding the material being allowed on a plane . Clearly I have no experience with that, but I have a lot of experience with traveling overseas. Maybe you could give us a specific packing kit for that? Clearly you are the queen of taking these kinds of trips. Mine might be in the other direction to the Mediterranean where I often travel. The way I see it you need fewer colors (for Greece)–blue and white! LOL

    1. Hi Eleni and LOL yes re the colors in Greece! … As for packing to paint in oil, you pretty much have to check that bag. Differing opinions on this but i think not worth the hassle of even trying to pack, let alone get through security. Small watercolor kits I get away with, but I’ve never attempted oils. Good luck and holler if you have more questions. Tim Horn has a v good photo and guide on his kit and there is lots online about this. X Frances

  10. You’re very organized and stylish. I usually only do jeans, blazer and tees, sweaters and scarves. I hate International travel, even first class is tiring. That being said I do love being in England or Italy, they’re my happy places. Enjoy!!!

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