I've been doing quite a bit of traveling as a travel agent and I couldn't agree more. I plan ahead and only take the essentials in a carry on bag. It is amazing how many outfits you can devise by adding a scarf or changing the blouse with a basic black or white skirt or pant for woman and for men sticking to a basic color scheme. Here are some other tips for packing. You save the drudgery of having to deal with a large suit case, save the frustration of looking through two bags for things, as well as save unpacking time.
- Pack light to travel light. Pack light weight clothes and use a light weight suitcase.
- Wrinkle-free clothing. When possible, bring wrinkle-free and quick-dry fabric clothing with you. Not only does it make it easier to roll and pack (so you can get more in your now perfect carry on), you’ll be able to unpack and start seeing the sights when you arrive! You’ll probably want to wear comfortable clothing on the flight, but your carry on bag should have at least one complete change of clothes in it.
- Wear Bulky Items on the Way To Your Destination. I always wear tennis shoes when I'm on the plane because they take up too much space in my suitcase. I pack my sandals. I also take a sweater or sarong on the plane. It can be used as a shawl or blanket.
- Buy Luggage that Fits You. I like a suitcase with an extra zip compartment in the front to put my liquids. It is very easy to access them when you go through security.
- Easy Carry On Liquids. I use the same travel size shampoo, conditioner, and face creme containers and just refill them as needed, I also have a small hair spary bottle that I refill. I keep them all in my quart sized see through bag for my next trip. You can carry on one quart-sized clear plastic bag for all of your liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes. None of these can be in containers holding more than 3.4 oz. each.
- Capitalize on empty suitcase space. I use a combination of the flat and roll method to pack. I start with laying pants, shorts, and skirts flat on one side of the suite case and blouses flat on the other side. I roll my underwear and put it in the middle. Any spaces in shoes are packed with socks or accessories. Leave no space unused.
- Use a Large Purse or Computer Bag For Your Second Bag. I use a very large purse for my computer, cords, books, and documents. I put a small purse in to organize cards and small items. It still fits under my seat. It is easy to carry as I put it on top of my roller bag when I walk down the concourse.
- Bag it. Kitchen sandwich bags can be used to hold your accessories, vacuum pack bags can be space savers, and trash bags have multiple uses (laundry bag, shoe covers).
- Skip airport snacks and bring your own. You can save yourself a bit of money and keep your hunger at bay in case you have a delayed flight.
- Make photocopies before leaving home. If you’re traveling out of the country, make two photocopies of your passport. Carry health and car insurance information. Use your smartphone to take pictures of your car in the airport’s parking garage and do the same for your luggage and its contents in case it gets lost.
- Don't Worry About Forgetting Something. If you forget your toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, deodorant, check with the front desk of your hotel… they’ve always got small samples available.
This applies to both checked luggage and carry on luggage when you’re traveling with a companion. You already have the perfect carry on for you, but consider keeping a copy of your travel companion’s documents with you (and give them copies of your documents) in case the worst happens. In checked bags, keep an extra change of clothes in your travel companion’s luggage (and vice versa) in case either your bag or theirs doesn’t make it. If checking more than one bag, divide your clothes (and other essentials) evenly between both so that if the airline misdirects one, you still have clothes to wear.
By incorporating these tips when you are packing your luggage, you’ll save yourself some potential headaches and will be prepared to fully enjoy your international vacation. Bon voyage!