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Packing Light : Essential Tips

5 Essential Tips for Packing a Light Suitcase for Travel

Want to pack just a small carry-on bag for easy fall or holiday travel this year but don't know where to start? Packing expert Susan Foster, author of SMART PACKING FOR TODAY'S TRAVELER, gives the following advice gleaned from years of living out of a suitcase for weeks at a time.

1. PLAN: Write down your planned activities for each day and list clothes to wear for every event, check the weather forecast and plan for the worst. Take only what you need for the activities planned, not what might be nice-this is only a suitcase, not your closet.

2. SIMPLIFY: Plan around one basic color and, if traveling for business, take only one suit with different shirts/tops for each day. Pack no more than two pairs of shoes (plus one pair on your feet when you leave home).

3. EDIT: Lay out all the possibilities and make sure that each piece interchanges with all others for maximum versatility. Pare down to the most useful pieces. The clothes you wear while traveling should also interchange with these choices.

4. ORGANIZE: Group small items such as underwear or rolled up tee shirts in clear plastic bags. Packing and unpacking are faster and you can easily locate your favorite socks. Rolling works best for casual clothes and underwear, which allows you to fit more in your suitcase.

5. DOWNSIZE: Travel-sized toiletries minimize weight and space, as do 2-in-1 products such as moisturizer + sunscreen. Take an adequate supply of all essential products. Women should never leave home without a few mini-tampons tucked into the bag.

Even though many consider packing one of the least pleasant parts of travel, deciding what to take and making it fit are skills that are easily learned. Study and practice now before the seasonal travel rush and you will be a "smart packer" too.

P.S. Avoid traveling with wrapped presents, as they may be unwrapped at security checkpoints. Consider shopping in advance, purchasing gift certificates, or carrying unwrapped gifts and gift bags for quick wrapping at your destination.


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