Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Pack for a Week in a Carry-On

For some people, carry-on travel is really difficult. I have to admit that it took some time and practice for it to become second nature to me, but I refuse to pay the outrageous fees for checking a bag, so I have perfected packing light and now advise others on how to do it more easily.

Coordinating colors – Bring clothing that all fit within a main color scheme. Plan for all your bottoms or all your tops to stay in one color range, like tan or black, so that all your pieces will mix and match with each other and allow you to make the maximum amount of outfits with fewer key pieces.

Less shoes equals more space – I generally suggest bringing two pair of shoes – one walking pair and one comfortable, but dressier pair – as well as a pair of flip flops. If you’ve followed rule number one, then it should be simple to keep your shoe choices to a minimum. Look to bring a nice pair of sandals or ballet flats for women and a pair of loafers or similar for men as your extra pair. These will go with any less casual outfit choice and ready you for a night out or even a business meeting.

Bring layers – You never know what the weather might be where you go, unless you’ll be traveling to the Equator. Layers are essential and also give you more combination choices. For my upcoming trip to California, which will be mostly summer weather, but with some cooler nights, I chose 3 tank tops (in the same colors), a sleeveless cream and gold top for afternoon tea and a fancy dinner, a cream-colored cardigan, a pair of khaki shorts, a pair of khaki capris, a pair of lightweight jeans, a dress, a bathing suit, a pair of wedge sandals, a pair of flip flops and a pair of folding gold ballet flats. Yes, I will have to do laundry, but that is a small price to pay to be able to pack in less space. Quick drying fabrics, like bamboo, soy or polyester, are ideal for this.

Accessorize – Turn a boring tank top or plain dress into a fun going out look by adding statement pieces like necklaces, belts or scarves. They take up little space and can give you totally different looks. Men just need to bring a nice dress shirt and several different ties. They are easy to pack and different patterns can make the same shirt seem completely like a whole new outfit.

Eyeshadow palette, lip/cheek stain, tinted moisturizer and powder base.

Double Up – When making your packing list, look for things that do double- or triple-duty. Shampoo can be used as shower gel (like philosophy’s 3-1-1 gels), tinted moisturizer can double as lightweight foundation and sunscreen if it has SPF in it and your iPod can work as a video player, e-reader, laptop and handheld gaming device.

With these tips, you can easily fit everything you need for a week or more in just a weekender-size bag like I did. I even had room for all my toiletries, netbook, Kindle, snacks, camera, mini straightening iron and my travel blanket. Just remember that the clothing you wear on the plane will also figure into your travel wardrobe. Notice that the outfit I'm wearing will easily coordinate with other other pieces I'm taking. Now, get started on your packing list!

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