Packing is never the best part of traveling. You’ve got to figure out what you’ll need, how to fold it and how to fit it all into a bag small enough to fit in the overhead bin. That’s right. The overhead bin. If you follow these nine tips, you’ll find it’s possible to travel with just a carry-on and save all of those checked bag fees.
1. Scan yourself. Scan important documents including your ID, passport and credit cards, and email them to your smart phone or Internet-based email account so you can access them from anywhere in case the originals are lost or stolen.
2. Pick a color, any basic color. If you choose clothes that are in the same color family (gray, brown, black), it’s easy to pack efficiently in one bag.
3. Accessorize. Add color accents to your basic wardrobe with scarves, jewelry, wraps and T-shirts, all of which are easy to pack and take up very little room in your bag.
4. Stay warm. Pack at least one cardigan or pashmina. Hotel meeting rooms and airplanes tend to be chilly. A wrap is a great way to stay warm and add color.
5. Plan to be active. Pack your exercise clothes. Roll them tightly so they don’t take up much space.
6. Bag it. Small bags (whether Ziploc bags or eco-friendly reusable bags) are a traveler’s best friend. Use them to keep all your electronic chargers in one spot, to organize socks and underwear, and to package up dirty clothes for the trip home.
7. Be Frugal about footwear. If you have packed clothes in the same color family, you only need one pair of dress shoes, one pair of casual comfortable shoes and one pair of sneakers. Wrap each shoe in a bag (see #5 above) before packing to keep shoe dirt off of your clothes.
8. Remember 3-1-1. Every airport security checkpoint is different, but packing any liquid or lotion in a container bigger than three ounces is sure to draw the attention of the TSA. To make getting through security easier, pack all of your liquids (including makeup) in a small 1 qt. Ziploc and place it in the security bin separately.
9. Charge it. Traveling these days is a technological endeavor and all those gadgets run on batteries that have to be recharged. So bring a power strip. You can use it at the airport where there are never enough plugs for all of the travelers in need of a charge (your fellow travelers will adore you for sharing the extra plug spots). It also will come in handy in the hotel room. Use it as your charging station and you’ll only have to find one open plug and significantly reduce the chances you’ll leave a charger behind when you check out.