It’s taken me several years to perfect the suitcase packing, and I’m almost there! I still take too many books and magazines to read, but otherwise have a very compact suitcase that is easy to lift into overhead bins, rental car buses and car trunks.
Here are some tips that have worked for many experienced female travelers:
1. Decide on a color-of-the-week so that only one pair of shoes is needed. I work around one color scheme: Black and gray for the week so that I only need black shoes, or brown and tan with brown shoes. If I leave for the airport on a Monday morning, the one pair of shoes I need is already on my feet, which makes it even easier.
2. Two pair of rotating pants for the week (for example, black pants worn on Mon/Wed; gray pants worn on Tues/Thurs) with varying colored tops, blouses and jackets or scarves. Reversible skirts are also great, as they can be worn twice with different tops, and no one would know that you have the same skirt on as a previous day.
3. Select a couple of jewelry items that can be interchanged with the above clothes, giving a different look each day. Have a small jewelry pouch to keep things together and prevent tangling. I only put custom jewelry in my bag so that if I do end up checking my luggage, I am not worried about valuable jewelry disappearing.
4. If your luggage does not have a fold-out section for you to lay out your clothes, then roll them up. Rolling them seems to save space and also keeps wrinkles to a minimum. In case of wrinkles, the above site also has small sizes of WrinkleSpray and Febreze to freshen up your clothes.
5. Put together a travel bag of makeup items — small kabuki brushes, several colors of eye shadows (to mix with your color-of-the-week clothes!) and mineral makeup, which is not liquid! Many of us traveling women swear by Bare Minerals. I bought the ‘getting started’ kit, which gave me small travel-sized containers of my Bare Mineral necessities. I buy full-sized containers for home and for refilling my travel-sized containers. And it’s non-liquid, so it doesn’t need to squeeze into my quart-sized plastic bag! Each time I fly through Atlanta airport’s Terminal T, I always pick up something new.
6. Have all personal care items in 3 oz. sizes or less so that they easily meet the requirements of the airports’ TSA-security. I find everything I need at Minimus.biz, and they ship for free if your order is over $20. Their selection is extensive, and prices are very comparable to a local drugstore. Individual-sized packets of Tylenol, Pepto-Bismol, etc. are easy to fit in your purse or laptop tote. To prevent leaking of liquids, leave space at the top of the bottles for expansion during flight. And keep the containers in a tightly-sealed quart-sized bag so that no leakage spills into your clothes. (Also keep an extra quart-sized bag tucked into your bag in case your original bag decides to rip or not seal.)
7. Place a family photo (one not in a glass frame) or a recent greeting card into your bag and put them on your hotel room nightstand. They don’t take up much room in your luggage, and seeing them each morning and night will evoke warm feelings and keep you connected with home.
What are your favorite tips to add to this list?