Lighten the Load

Tips for Packing Like a Pro

Whether you’re hoping to avoid checking your luggage or just trying to permanently evade your chiropractor, learning to pack lightly (yet effectively) is a skill worth setting your sights on.

Don’t doubt yourself; even if your closet is packed and your shoe racks are overflowing, it’s possible to learn the ways of the chic and savvy minimalist.

Here's a plan to help you pack.

  • Flight Plan

Wear your bulkiest items on the flight or drive to your destination. Your favorite pair of knee-high boots or stylish trench coat would take up too much space inside your suitcase, so keep these handy rather than hidden away. Think about light weight vs hard ware when packing your suitcase. Choose flats over heavy heels, cotton over wool - and do you really need 5 pairs of shoes? (The answer is "No" for you fashionistas).

  • Lots of Layers

It’s a given that you should bring comfortable items that easily lend themselves to mixing, matching and layering. Especially on longer trips, you will need to wear your clothes more  than once. Basic tee shirts and camisole tops in day or night colors are key. Consider packing a pair of dark jeans that can be dressed up or dressed down. Plan ahead of time to make sure all core items can be worn together, separately and over and over again.

  • Customize It

Nothing is worse than finding yourself inappropriately dressed in another country, so check out the local customs before packing it up. On overseas trips, avoid offending anyone by following the example of the women around you. Stay away from shorts and be prepared to toss a sweater over those bare shoulders in certain situations (think: religious sites and chilly restaurants). Another good rule of thumb: If it's inappropriate at home, it's probably taboo over there, too.


  • Material Girl

Don’t just base your packing decision on color and style; material is also an important matter to attend to. Anything wrinkle-free, quick-drying and lightweight will surely come in handy as you gallivant across the globe. Polyester blends are perfect for traveling because they're easy to wash, dry, and don't need to be ironed. Remember, packing less means washing more so make sure your haute couture doesn't have to be dry-cleaned.

  • Leave it Behind

What not to bring is just as important. If you can't picture parting with it, leave it at home. Irreplaceable items like photos or family heirlooms should probably remain at home. Also play it safe. Don't bring valuable items along without making sure you'll have access to a safety deposit box. On a practical note, check to see what amenities your vacation rental offers; it may be a waste of space to lug your hairdryer or hand iron along.

  • Talk About the Weather

Rain or shine, you're taking that vacation. Even when weather conditions are never completely predictable, you can still come prepared. Do your homework. Try to find out the forecast in the region you're visiting. While the information may not be 100% accurate, it's still better than a complete shot in the dark. Check the recent trends and come prepared for what Mother Nature may hold.

  • Follow the Rules

Aside from your own personal standards, there are broader and more official rules to heed. Study up on the latest airport restrictions concerning liquids, luggage size and anything else that could arise before heading out ("sharpies" like eyebrow tweezers are no-nos and lighters are off-limits). This will save time in line and also prevent having to toss out your bottle of mouthwash, makeup remover or thirty dollar salon brand shampoo.