It’s everyone’s least favorite holiday tradition – packing. When traveling, I used to manage to only wear about half of the clothes I brought while simultaneously feeling like I didn’t bring the proper attire for every occasion – telltale signs of poor packing. Luckily I’ve vastly improved now, thanks to lots of practice and great tips from friends who travel a lot for work. Since the holiday travel season is upon us, I thought I’d pass along some key guidelines to help you pack as efficiently as possible while still looking fabulous and apropos for every occasion.
1. Pack in outfits! Think about your travel plans. What will the weather be like? What will you need for every occasion, every day? Plan out everything from shoes to underwear to accessories for each outfit, and pack only those items.
2. Bring extra necessities. Socks and underwear take up little space in your suitcase, and running out of them is highly unpleasant. Pack extra just in case.
3. Go easy on the shoes. It hurts me to say this – you have to pare down on shoes when traveling. Pick pairs that are relatively compact and that will match with multiple outfits. Deciding whether to pair the knee-high boots or the spiky pumps with that dress? Pick the pumps. They take up way less space, and you’ll still look hot.
4. Wear the bulky stuff to the airport. Put on your heaviest coat and boots on the day you’re traveling (as long as they’re comfy enough for the airport.) It saves space in your luggage for other things.
5. Pack an extra bag in your suitcase. If you expect to come back with far more than you left with, packing an extra bag is the way to go. But beware – many airlines charge $25 for every checked bag, so the extra space isn’t free.
6. Cut down on the toiletries. Do you really need the hair gel, mousse, body lotion, face lotion and shave gel during your stay? There are probably some items you could do without or purchase when you get there. And remember – 3.4 ounces is the max for liquids in your carry on.
7. Pack light, but bring warm accessories. If your final destination is cold, you can still ditch the bulky sweatshirts and sweaters as long as you bring a warm coat, hat, gloves and scarf.
8.*Pack socks inside your shoes. Put items in every crevice of your suitcase. Put socks in your shoes and pack your underthings last. You can squeeze them into the wasted space between clothes.*
9.*Pack toiletries in a plastic bag. It’s not pretty when your liquids leak. Make sure any liquids are stored in a plastic bag – regardless of whether they’re in your carry on or checked bag.*
10. Utilize the resources at your destination. If you’re going to your hotel, friend’s, or parents’ house for the holidays, chances are you don’t need to bring many toiletries. Think about the items that will already be available at your final destination and don’t waste space packing them.