Packin’ it In
Traveling light with a carry-on bag
No baggage fees. No lost luggage.
Just flying through the friendly skies
Most of us love to travel, whether it be a weekend getaway or a trip to the exotic and beyond. But no one likes the prep.
Packing for short-term travel can be daunting, especially when you’re stuffing your life into a small carry-on bag. But packing doesn’t have to be a hair-tearing challenge when you know the ins and outs of baggin’ it.
Planning is key
As with any important endeavor, planning ahead is one of the secrets to success when traveling light. You should know at least one week in advance what items you’re planning to take with you..
This gives you time to plan which outfits to take, right down to the very last accessory. It also gives you plenty of time to launder, dry clean or mend any to-go clothing.
List it or leave it
In my many years of travel, I’ve finally gotten packing down to a science. Making a list and checking it twice is another of my go-to secrets.
It’s the secret of many a travel planner as well. Here are some of their packing tips for a week-long trip or less:
- When choosing your travel wardrobe, think of the activities you will be enjoying before you pack. Will you be going to the ballet or a concert? Or just hanging out at the beach?
- Don’t pack more than a week’s worth of clothes. Whatever you may be missing, such as a travel umbrella, can be purchased at your destination.
- Pack versatile outfits that can be mixed and matched. This means choosing clothing in the same colorway, preferably a neutral color such as black, brown or beige.
- Choose clothing whose fabrics are rumple-proof like ponte, stretch denim and polyester blends. If your wardrobe pieces are wrinkled upon arrival, simply use a hairdryer to blow-heat the wrinkles away or hang them on a bathroom shower rod, turn on the not water and close the door behind for at least 20 minutes.
Wardrobe tip essentials
Now that you know how to choose your travel wardrobe, what pieces should you pack?
- Everyone loves a trilogy. Take three pairs of underwear, three tops and three pairs of socks. You can wear one of each on the plane to save space in your carry-on. If you prefer, tuck the socks in your tote bag or purse to put on after lift-off, as planes can get extremely cold in flight.
- Two pairs of pants (wear one on the plane)
- One skirt
- One dress
- Flip flops or sandals
- Yoga pants or athleisure-wear pants and top.
- Pashmina-type scarf (tuck in your tote to wear on the plane)
- Two pairs of shoes (a dressy flat and a sneaker for walking/exercising). Wear the heavier shoes on the plane.
- One jacket or sweater for warmth or to dress up jeans, a skirt or a dress.
- Pjs or lounging clothes.
- Tote and small purse tucked inside. This qualifies as a personal item on flights that allow you one carry-on bag and a personal item.
- Accessories such as scarves, jewelry, sunglasses.
- Travel-sized toiletries in a plastic, carry-on bag stuffed into your tote, including a mini-wrinkle releaser.
- Mini hair dryer, although most hotels provide them, and a mini-steamer.
- Ziplock bags, large and small, to store carry-on snacks (or store wet bathing suits) in your purse or tote.
- Laptop computer or tablet, smart phone and ear plugs, along with appropriate chargers. If you like to read, download a book online rather than taking up space with a heavy, space-consuming tome.
Packin’ it in
What are the secrets to perfect packing? Getting the most out of the least space, of course. To do so, wear your heaviest items on the plane–that includes your heaviest shoes, jackets and more.
Store your shoes in bags (to keep clothes clean) and line them in the sides and/or bottom of your luggage. To save space, store all undies, socks and swimsuits inside shoes or tucked into empty corners.
Pack your clothing around your footwear. How? “I roll my bottoms and fold my tops,” says Hitha Palepu, author of How to Pack. “I find my clothes end up with fewer wrinkles, and I can fit more in my bag.”
Many travel experts recommend that you pack your wardrobe in compression bags, which allow you to store more in less space. They also tend to keep clothes neater and more wrinkle free. Although many companies have good compression bag products, I prefer those by Eagle Creek, which has some great products to choose from.
When you follow these few packing tips, travel doesn’t have to be something to dread. It can be something to look forward to. So let’s get trippin.’