For most people in Lolita fashion, traveling means packing two or more large suitcases to fit everything they need for their coordinates (or coords). It’s no secret that lolita apparel is bulky, very bulky. But for the love of frill, we willingly drag around a train of luggage all over the place. Unfortunately, for many people, this is not an option – it’s heavy, annoying, and expensive.
I went on several trips over the past year where I chose to dress in lolita. As a budget traveller, I take advantage of free carry-on bags to avoid extra fees for checked luggage. In total, I usually pack one personal item and one standard carry-on bag. I’ve learned a lot of things along the way, and now I’m able to pack all my coords easily with room to spare. Here’s how to do it.
For starters, I chose to use a cage skirt for portability and versatility. Cage skirts can be adjusted to suit both bell-shaped and a-line clothing, removing the need to pack multiple undergarments. If your destination is going to be windy, a daily petticoat over the cage skirt helps keep the silhouette pretty. Additionally, if your trip includes public transportation, having less poof would be ideal for taking up less space and having less risks for your main pieces.
Another thing that helps in this situation is to plan your coords ahead of time. I usually travel with a very detailed itinerary, so I choose my coords well before the trip date. This way, I can make sure that I’m dressed appropriately for all my activities. This also speeds up the prepping process during the actual trip.
Next, choose accessories that pair with multiple coords. This goes for wigs, bags, and shoes as well. Having a cohesive wardrobe helps, but simply planning your coords ahead of time makes a lot of difference. Packing accessories in a padded pouch helps protect them from any bumps along your journey. Using bubble wrap – or those thick pajamas you can’t sleep without, for efficiency – around more fragile items also keep them from bending or breaking.
Roll up your socks or stockings before stuffing them inside your shoes. This tip not only saves space, it also helps your shoes keep their shape inside your bag.
If you’re traveling during the cool months, bring an outerwear that goes with your coordinates. For obvious reasons, it wouldn’t be a very good coord if a big piece looks out of place. At the same time, outerwear is one of the bulkiest things you can pack – especially during winter. You can wear bulky coats or jackets in the airport to save on luggage space.
It always helps to check the weather of your destination to avoid any surprises. The last thing you want is to get soaked in rain while wearing your favorite brand. The weatherman isn’t omniscient, but it sure beats going in blind. If your destination has unpredictable weather, an extra blouse, bolero, or jacket works.
Rolling up your main pieces is a popular method for more resilient fabrics. For clothing items that crease more noticeably, I lay them flat at the bottom of my suitcase, centering them so that excess fabric protrudes over most if not all the sides of the suitcase. I then stack them up on top of each other and fill my suitcase with other items. Finally, I fold the protruding fabric over everything. This method helps them stay nice and smooth, as well as saves space by squeezing the air out.
My last tip is to make sure your hotel has a flat iron or steamer just in case you need them. Even cheap inns sometimes have them, but it’s always better to be certain.
Hard-shelled luggage bags with four wheels make for easier transportation. Investing in one with a cute or loud decoration also makes it easy to spot in baggage carousels if ever you’re required to check your bag. I wear lolita on the plane for short flights to save space in my luggage and it lets me explore immediately upon arrival. As a bonus, you also get to keep a closer eye on your more fragile pieces if you wear them. While I’ve never had a negative experience with TSA, other people might have awkward encounters when doing this, so take this advice with a grain of salt.
Those are my lolita travel packing tips. Traveling for lolitas doesn’t have to mean spending more on baggage fees or juggling luggage. With a little more effort and planning, it can be a breeze to travel lightly without compromising on coordinate quality.
I would like to thank my friend, PanKeiko, for helping me with this blog entry. You can check out her blog at Pancakes and Petticoats.