There is a reason they call it the “Art of Packing.” For some, packing is just second nature – a “right-brained” talent that is done on the fly. But for others, it is a skill that must be practiced over and over again, and regrettably never mastered. In travel, first comes dreaming, next comes planning, and then comes packing.
To help make your packing travails a little less laborious, here are twelve quick tips:
CARRY-ON LUGGAGE: The first rule for carry-on luggage is to check with your airline’s website to find out specific dimensions for carry-on sizes, so you are not caught off-guard at the last minute and forced to gate-check your luggage.
– Passports and travel documents should go in your carry on, not checked luggage, and make copies just in case. Bring your driver’s license even if you aren’t taking a driving trip – it’s a good backup form of identification to have on hand.
– A large scarf or pashmina can do triple duty as pillow, blanket and fashion statement.
– Always keep an airline-friendly one-quart zipper baggie packed with your essentials ready to go: hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes (to tidy up tray tables and arm rests), lip balm & moisturizer (for those extremely dry cabins), nasal spray, and air sickness pills for turbulence or those dreaded circling, holding patterns. Make sure all liquids are less than 3.4 ounces.
– Request extra prescription medication to bring with you in case of travel delays.
CHECKED LUGGAGE: Make sure all luggage is clearly tagged with your contact information, and add a colorful ribbon to the handle to help separate your bags from the sea of suitcases.
– Create a packing list and begin the packing process early. The week before your trip, start collecting items and place in a spare room or in an empty, plastic laundry basket.
– Think in terms of the “layered look” when planning your wardrobe.
– Never pack valuable items in checked luggage (money, electronics, jewelry, travel documents, and prescriptions).
– Making several stops on your itinerary? Purchase zippered pouches or “packing cubes” to separate clothing items by type. (See tumi.com or thecontainerstore.com). The pouches can easily be lifted from the suitcase and placed in hotel drawers and then back again.
– Always pack one or two clothing items for the opposite weather of where you are traveling because you never know how the temperature can change. Heading to Miami? Bring a sweater or warm wrap. Leaving for London? Take a few tank tops or camisoles to wear under a blazer.
– Do not lock bags unless using a TSA-approved lock that can be opened by an agent, or risk your locks being broken if bags are selected for screening. Concerned about your zipper accidently coming undone without the lock? Thread a baggie twist tie through the two side-by-side zipper pulls and mate them together.
– Place all liquids in plastic bags before packing in luggage. And, pack a few extra bags, especially large white garbage bags, to use for wet bathing suits, sandy shoes, laundry, or liquid souvenirs like wine or olive oil.
– Make sure not to over-pack — always leave room for gifts and souvenirs!
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