I have a number of friends who travel a lot for their jobs, and I am always amazed at their abilities to pack lightly and still look wonderful every place they go. It is an art, I think, to be able to anticipate the types of events that are on the itinerary and make sure you have enough clothing, shoes, etc. that will also accommodate the weather, and still look good.
Purchasing classic clothing that is neutral enough to go from day to night in just about any climate is one of the key tricks of the traveling trade. Packing an extra makeup kit that is ready to go at a moment’s notice is another important tip. And, don’t forget to place your valuables (including your makeup kit and extra pair of underwear) in your carry on bag. This is really important! Once, while traveling across country I lost my all of my bags, except my carry-on, and I never got them back. I’m sure that someone is still enjoying that new raw silk blouse that I packed in my suitcase.
But, what are some good ways to actually pack your bags? First, I am going include some tips from my husband on how to pack a blazer so that it doesn’t get wrinkled and dirty.
Turn the collar and lapels up
Turn one of the shoulders inside out
Push or punch the other shoulder inside the one that you have already reversed
Lay the jacket down Either fold the blazer, or,
Roll it up
This method of folding will ensure that the blazer doesn’t get dirty or wrinkled.
Now, here are some tips from flight attendants on packing. The information that I found in an article sent to me by Conde Nast’s Traveler is fantastic! Some of it is common sense, but other ideas are completely novel and brilliant! Here goes:
“Packing cubes are a great way to pack for each day (if you would like to be super organized).
One of the simplest but often overlooked packing tips is to put heavier items at the bottom of your suitcase, meaning the short end where the wheels are—it’s easier to roll a bag through long airport hallways when the weight is down there.
Shoes always seem to kill my suitcase space. What’s your advice on which shoes to bring and how to pack them? Always bring flip-flops—hands down the most useful shoes. They take up no room and are perfect for the beach, to wear with shorts or a dress, or to use as ‘house shoes’ in your hotel. Then also bring a nice pair of flats that looks great with pants or dresses, but are comfortable enough to wear walking around a city as well. There is always a chance to work out or take a beautiful walk in a new city, so bring a pair of sneakers. They usually can pack up tight, and a nice walk in comfortable shoes usually leads to sleeping better when your internal clock is off. Save room by wearing the bulkiest shoes you are bringing to the airport; if it is fall or winter and you want to bring boots, just plan on wearing those on the plane.
One thing that we always pack is a swimsuit, because you never know when you might need one and it takes up so little room. What do you always pack no matter where you are going?
Always bring a bathing suit, especially if you live in a cold climate—the chance to get a little color is priceless—and sunscreen, though flight attendants are not subject to the same liquid restrictions. Make sure you bring a small one in your carry-on. Also, always bring flip-flops, black yoga pants, and a large pashmina-type scarf (drape over your shoulders if it is chilly, or use it as a blanket or rolled up pillow on the plane). Pack a small outlet extender, one that makes one outlet turn into three with USB charge ports, which eliminates the need for extra plugs and chargers (and then you can just bring the USB cords and not all the cumbersome plugs).
I have two suitcases that I use: a regular Briggs and Riley black 21” suitcase (which is totally worth it because of their lifetime warranty), and a backpack/roller bag hybrid. I live in a snowy city and sometimes you need something you can wear on your back when dealing with train stalls and snow, or water on the ground.
Flight attendants hate to see folding garment bags—they don’t fit in overhead compartments and closet space is very limited. So if you aren’t flying first class and you are carrying one of these, expect it to get checked into baggage and for your suits to be delivered wrinkled.
What are the best tips for packing toiletries, cosmetics, etc.? It depends on where you are going. If you are going to a hotel that carries nice shampoo, conditioner, and soaps, then do not bring those at all, because they take up so much room. Also, most hotels have hair dryers, so never pack one of those. Then slim down your makeup bag by taking only what you know you will be using—you would be amazed at how much smaller that bag becomes. If you wear contacts, always bring another set. If you forget anything, most hotels have all basic amenities you might need, like razors, toothbrushes, etc. Most flight attendants also bring a little squirt bottle of wrinkle reducer spray and a travel-size pack of makeup wipes (makeup wipes get the job done without requiring you to carry liquid cleansers).
Everyone seems to travel with a laptop, iPad, phone, camera, headphones, etc. Any tips or tricks for packing electronics? Think about what you will really need. If I am traveling for fun and not work, I just bring my phone, which also doubles as my reading device and my camera. Most phones take amazing pictures now, and they also double as books, etc.
I feel like I always end up eating overpriced, unhealthy food when flying. What is your advice on packing snacks? Are they worth the real estate?
Bring a large Ziploc bag of snacks in your carry-on. Choose items that will keep well for a couple of hours—think picnic food—and make them somewhat delicious so you will actually want to eat them instead of giving in to the Auntie Anne’s pretzel smell. Cut up celery and carrots, include hummus and string cheese, and add protein in the form of salami slices or peanut butter. Bring along apples, and maybe a pasta salad tossed in olive oil and vinegar with cheese cubes, artichokes, etc.
What do flight attendants pack to make themselves feel right at home while traveling? Perhaps flight attendants learn to not be sentimental about objects that take up space, as everyone we talked to simply said: ‘I have my kids’ photos on my phone.’
Do you have any work-arounds for the “one carry-on and one personal item” rule? Bring your roller bag, a tote, and a purse (hiding the purse in the tote). I always do this, and it’s a great way to bring everything on that you need.
Do you have any other great tips that we didn’t even know to ask? If you are traveling with children, bring extra diapers and formula—most airports do not carry these items. Also, I always [make] a list before larger trips to make sure I am not forgetting any essential items. Pack a stash of large Ziploc bags, because they are so handy. For example, if you take a last-minute swim, you can plop your suit in the plastic bag and pack it away. They can also help keep all kinds of things organized so your carry-on is a little tidier.
Note: One trick many flight attendants use, though there’s no proof that it works, is to unwrap a bar of soap and stick it between the mattress and the box spring in any hotel. The thought is that the soap attracts bed bugs. We may never know its success rate, but every flight attendant we talked to said they had never seen an actual bed bug, so it’s worth a shot?”