How to pack for traveling

One recurring question we get is about how to pack for a trip. The clients I’ve worked with know my mantra: I’ll go anywhere with anybody. Seriously, I travel as often as I can. My travel habit is a close second behind my shoe habit. But the way I’ve learned to do this as stress free as possible is simple: I pack light.

If I’m running for a train, I don’t want a big bumpy suitcase slowing me down. And when I get on said train, I want to keep my bag on the roof rack above my head where I can keep an eye on it, not in the luggage compartment next to the door where anyone could escort it right off the train if my head is turned. And yes, I know that some airlines have a 20-minute bag guarantee. The problem in, they don’t always fly everywhere I go, and other airlines don’t have that guarantee. So, carrying-on is always my first choice.

Who wants to give up even a half hour of beach time waiting for the luggage carousel to go around for the 657th time?

I’ve also found that when traveling, people don’t notice you as much as you think they do. I go to Europe every fall for 10 days. I bring 2 pairs of pants and three sweaters.  That’s it. And one year, I even only wore one of those pairs of pants. The point is, I’m a tourist. I’m not going to be at the height of fashion when I’m walking 10 miles a day. Sometimes the shoes that are the cutest are definitely not the ones that are most practical. Finding purposeful, stylish comfortable shoes trumps all for me. And, I want to have some room in that suitcase for the treasures I find when I’m there.  However, even in a carry-on, there are a few things I always have with me:

Sink packets of Tide. Because I’m not above washing out my unmentionables in the sink. But I am above lugging around a bigger suitcase than I need just to carry extra socks.  You can find them in the travel section of most pharmacies, and they come three to a packet. They also don’t take up much space so it’s easy to throw a few in your suitcase.

A great pashmina wrap. On the plane, it has doubled as both a blanket and a pillow. If I’m cold when I get where I’m going, I use it as a warm scarf. And I went all out and got a cash mere version. It has held up well and I feel more dressed up even with more casual outfits because of the luxe fabrication.

TSA Ready Toiletries. I actually carry two kits for my toiletries. One for "dry" things, and one for the liquid stuff that’s TSA approved. That way, it’s easier to grab the liquids pouch and throw it in a security bin, especially because foreign airports don’t have TSA pre-check. I also always restock my liquids when I get home from a trip, rather than before I go. That way, it’s easier to remember what I’ve used up, and then it’s just one less thing I have to think about before I get ready for a trip. The container I have for my "dry" things- toothbrush, hairbrush, Q-tips- has a hook on it so in smaller bathrooms I can hang it up and it will take up less space.

There are always exceptions. If, for instance, you’re going to a wedding that has scheduled events and you need an outfit change for each one of them, you’re going to need a bigger bag. But for a family vacation to warmer climates, really, who even changes out of their bathing suit all day? Lightening up your load can help you lighten up your stress.