Packing for travel can be a daunting task, particularly for women. Outfits, shoes, purses, makeup, hair accessories — the list goes on and on. Combine our natural sense to be chic with our impeccable urge to overpack and you might end up with a fashion disaster. With a little planning and tweaking your travel wardrobe, you can pack a suitcase and leave your worries at the boarding gate.
Pack Like a Man
Yes, step outside of our estrogen realm and think like a man. Look at what a man puts in his suitcase and compare to yours. They pack the necessities, not for, “Well, it might be cold at night and warm during the day,” or, “I might look jet lagged in this.” Face it girls, men just might have the upper hand on how to pack a light load.
Brent Jones, a Harrison native, who travels two weeks of the month for his work, says that he packs one matching color. “Its either black or brown. Pants, shoes, belt — just choose one and stick with it.” That means for us ladies, try to stick with one color scheme for the entire trip as opposed to each day. Jones points out that when you are traveling for business, you often don’t see the same people each day; therefore you don’t need to have something drastically different to impress.
Jones also suggests wearing dress pants two times. “Most of the time you are inside. You aren’t doing anything to get them dirty.” Jeans always fit better the second time, why not those black pants that make your legs look long and lean? Another tip from Jones, who meets with many clients during the day, “Remember, a suit jacket covers a lot!” Of course we can put our feminine touch to it. Try packing a couple of light weight, colorful, sleeveless tops and use a black suit jacket to make the outfit professional without looking wrinkled.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Just as you do with any trip, check the weather. Try searching www.weather.com for the actual zip code you will be staying in rather than gauging with a local stations report for national weather conditions. Pack only what you will need for the weather there and how much you will be outside.
Jones suggests checking with the hotel you will be staying at for provided appliances, complimentary items and toiletries. Being able to leave your hairdryer at home saves packing space, and having an iron available gives you the freedom to pack items that tend to wrinkle.
Also, don’t wait for the last minute to pack. This is when you tend to just start throwing things in your bag and then can’t get it zipped. Take your time. Pick out some outfits and the accessories for the ensemble, and then try taking a few pieces away. Finally, when you have your travel wardrobe picked out, try everything on exactly how you plan to wear it. This way you know what it looks like on you at that given time and you won’t have that feeling that your outfit looks horrible once your are 500 miles away from your closet in Cincinnati.
Going out of town doesn’t have to be a production as big as Broadway. Using tools around the house or taking alternative routes can save a lot of space and keep your clothes neat. Here are a few more tips from Jones:
- If you have a rental car, hang up your wrinkle prone items as soon as you get it. This gives your clothes a little more hang time and postpones any unwanted creases.
- Ship some of your items to the hotel. With airlines charging now to check in bags, you can save time and money by using a carry on bag and a courier service to ship a box via ground to where you are staying.
- Get to the airport early, and try to get seats that board first. You have more room to put your carry on in the overhead compartment rather than cramming your bag and possibly having something leak all over your clothes.
- Use a book or atlas to cover your clothes before strapping them down for added wrinkle prevention.
- Like women need an excuse to shop — try hitting up a local mall or boutique and buy a nice shirt or dress if you feel the need to have something different.
When it comes to folding items, try using a clipboard as a template for shirt folding. Everything will be the same uniform size and you can fit more in your bag. Try Space Saver® bags too. You can buy an eight-piece set for less than $20, plus they are reusable.
Keep your jewelry in a plastic baggie to keep snags at bay and use gallon size plastic bags to put all liquids in to prevent leaks. Also, try using plastic grocery bags to wrap your shoes in to keep the dirt off your clothes.
Packing less doesn’t mean you have to have a dull wardrobe; it just takes a little more time and effort to pull off your polished look. Next time you travel, remember these tips and the only thing you’ll have to worry about is if your plane is leaving on time!