Packing 102

packing 102 - how to pack light and right A little while ago I wrote about Mastering the Art of Packing, aka packing 101. In it, I talked about well- and lesser-known space-saving packing tips like "slip underwear, socks and electronic chargers into shoes" and "place belts around the perimeter or your bag." I religiously put these tips {and others} into practice when I travel, and along the way have reformed my egregious overpacking tendencies into carry-on bliss.

Feeling pretty proud of my ever-evolving packing techniques---affording me a small carry-on for a 6-day trip last month---I thought I might actually have packing semi-mastered. Not so much. Conde Nast Traveler's Wendy Perrin reminded me of this while reading her Perrin Report column under a grass-topped beach umbrella in Mexico. It was entitled Confessions of an Unfashionable Traveler, yet I firmly believe you can pack stylishly AND light. There's always room for improvement!

Packing 102 Here are a few things Wendy taught {and reminded} me:

1} "You can't be a slave to the fashionistas when you're a slave to the overhead storage bin." My translation: keep the size of your bag in mind while selecting garments and shoes. Bring a few key peices that work together and double in the program. For example, when I went to Mexico last month, I wore a vintage, waist-length sweater-jacket with my plane outfit, a) because it kept me toasty getting to the airport in a cold climate, and b) so I'd have a warm option for wearing over dresses on breezy evenings.

2} "Not only can I fit {everything}... into my {carry-on} wheelie, but I can find anything at a moment's notice and NOTHING gets wrinkled." Impressive. I haven't totally mastered the no wrinkles thing, but I've dabbled and now swear by dry cleaner bags. Why? I learned: wrinkles are caused when fabrics rub up against other fabrics. So, put your fancier, wrinkle-prone items in individual dry cleaner bags and gently fold flat at the top of your bag. You can also avoid wrinkles by folding items over each other, like in this 1-minute video. *If you still have trouble getting out wrinkles and hate using hotel irons like me, pick up some wrinkle releaser next time you're in the USA. I just found some and it works well.

3} "Go light on the items you plan to shop for during your trip." This one's a given, but we so often forget this rule while frantically picking the just-right items for our trip's limited wardrobe. Take Vegas for example, I can't speak for guys, but if a girls trip to Vegas happens, you know it's going to involve at least one trip to the mall, likely for a dress! Similarly, when you go to Peru, hold off on bringing toques if you know you want to buy a llama one there.

4} "I always pack a LeSportsac nylon duffel in case I accumulate so many purchases they can't all fit in my wheelie. In that case, for the flight home, the duffel becomes my carry-on and I check the sturdier wheelie." I've mentioned this tip before, but it's so important. Plus, Wendy agrees and she's a rockstar traveler.

5} "Carry two or three accessories that instantly dress you up and send a signal to airport and hotel employees that you're a professional." Words to live by when traveling---whether you're backpacking, weekending or traveling like Posh Spice. I always wear some nice, understated, non-metal-detector-beeping jewelry and scarves for this very reason. They can dress up any outfit. For men, a scarf works well too.

Related Content {Apparently I'm a little obsessed with this topic} Mastering the Art of Packing High Rolling :: To Roll or Lay Flat? A Summer Weekend Packing List Go-To Carry-On Toiletries Choosing the Best Type of Carry-On Travel iPhone Apps :: PackingPro The Art of Carry-On Travel Going Away? Packing and To Do List

[photo by ben husmann]