Whether you’re a snowbird heading to a sunny destination or an urban aficionado attracted to the holiday lights of the city, you’ll need to bring a bag. We’ve compiled these tips to help you pack efficiently, taking only what’s essential and putting together the right outfits to look your best on your trip.
Create a Custom Packing List
Many people pack things they never end up wearing. To streamline the process, make a list of the items you take on each trip. When you get home, cross off everything that didn’t make it out of your suitcase and eliminate those items the next time you pack. Over time, you’ll cull your list down to just the essentials and be traveling like a pro. You can use our online packing list to get started, then customize it with your travel favorites (such as 1 black tank top, 1 floral skirt, 1 pair tan sandals). Keep the list on your computer or smartphone for easy retrieval.
To get the most out of your luggage space with the least impact on your clothes, follow these three simple rules:
- Roll it: By rolling your clothes, you can pack into the farthest corners of your bag and avoid creases that develop from folding. Use one of our Smart Pouches to keep items contained. Our Leather Jewelry Roll works the same way.
- Stuff it: For maximum efficiency, stuff socks, gloves, scarves and hats in your shoes.
- Zip it: Don’t pack full-sized shampoo bottles and liquids. They add unnecessary weight and tend to expand at high altitudes. Get smaller bottles (no more than 3 oz. for carry-ons) to transport liquids. If you’re not checking a bag, put liquids in a leakproof clear plastic zip bag for easy inspection at security. If you’re checking a bag, use a toiletry kit for additional peace of mind.
Get the Right Luggage
Although hardsided bags have their advantages (especially if you’re packing fragile items), soft-sided luggage fits more easily in overhead compartments, under ship beds and in the back of overland vehicles (if you’re going on safari, soft-sided bags are often your only option). Foldable luggage is easy to store once you’ve unpacked, plus it’s ideal for small New York City hotel rooms and tight cruise-ship quarters. Expandability is an added bonus for the souvenirs you pick up on your trip. These days, there are plenty of options—even duffel bags are equipped with wheels.
Pack by Category
When you separate smaller items by category (such as underwear, jewelry, socks, accessories and toiletries), they’re easier to locate. Use packing cubes to keep items in place and discreetly contain personal items like underwear (in case security inspects your bag). As you travel, you’ll find it’s easier to find what you need—and you won’t ever need to repack your bag. Our handy Compress-It Cube even saves space by compressing 5 inches of clothing down to 1 inch.
Choose a Basic Color Palette
Whether you’re layering for colder climates or packing for sand and sea, your clothes should be complementary and versatile. A basic color scheme of dark, neutral and earth tones works best. With three strategically selected tops and bottoms, you can create nine different outfits:
- 3 skirts/pants/shorts in basic colors
- 3 tops that complement the skirts/pants/shorts
Dark colors show the least marks and wrinkles, and work especially well for pants and shorts. Choose different textures to make your outfits interesting. Add brightly colored accessories for a splash of color.
Easy Dressing in the Festive Season
If you’re in an urban center like New York during the holidays, you’ll experience a very festive atmosphere. To get into the spirit, pack a vibrant scarf or gloves to perk up a dark or neutral color scheme. For a nice dinner out, a concert or a show, think about a dark skirt or pants with stylish boots and a festive top, a wrap or a shawl. Our Metallic Crinkle Skirt is lightweight, easy to pack and festive—ideal for those heading out on cruises or to warmer climates.
Whether you’re visiting relatives or taking the family on the road, you’ll need power for all the devices (phones, cameras, e-readers, computers) you bring along. Hotels may have limited outlet space, especially overseas. To get around these issues, pack a portable power strip that comes with multiple plugs and a USB charger. If you’re going somewhere with limited outlets (such as on safari), the Phonesuit Power Core Max works as a portable power plant for digital device recharging. You’ll need adapter plugs if you’re going overseas, unless you get a device like the Powermonkey Extreme, which comes with its own.
The Great Shoe Dilemma
Since shoes take up more space than other items, pack those that multitask. For colder locations like NYC, bring a solid pair of walking shoes or boots with good treads that can handle rain, slush and snow, and keep your feet warm and dry. Many styles look nice enough to wear at night, too. Add a pair of boots with a heel for nicer outings. If you’d rather wear heels for a special occasion, pack a tote so you can bring them with you to change into at your destination. Be sure to pack shoes in bags to protect the other items in your suitcase.