|image credit: pixabay|
Travel can be equal parts taxing and relaxing, though there's no denying that the stress quotient rises as journeys become more complicated. One of the easiest ways to enjoy not just the destination but also the journey, is simplification. And the first step in traveling simply is packing purposefully, whether that means packing more of what you need in your carry-on or forgoing checked bags altogether.
Downsizing to a single carry-on for domestic and international travel isn't just about enjoyment, however. More airlines are charging for all checked luggage, and thanks to vigorous behind the scenes bag checks, more travelers want to keep their valuables close at hand. Sure, a lot of travelers prefer to take a number of shorter trips throughout the year (so packing light is a no-brainer), but it's also entirely possible to travel the world with nothing more than a carry-on bag.
Whether you're going away for the weekend or setting off on an epic round-the-world voyage, here are smart tips for stress-free carry-on packing.
Find a Do-It-All Bag
Cute carry-on bags are a dime a dozen – what's much rarer is a carry-on bag that is comfortable, durable and light. Structured rolling bags may be convenient but soft bags have give, which means if you accidentally over pack you can still stuff them in the overhead compartments.
This weekender by Henri Bendel has a bottom zippered compartment that's the perfect spot for a pair of flats when you're traveling extra light. But for longer trips, try the large weekender from LeSportsac. Just don't forget to check the size and weight requirements of the airline you’ll be flying! Skip this step and your carry-on could end up in the luggage hold.
Pare Down Toiletries to the Bare EssentialsThanks to TSA restrictions, most of us are used to bringing travel size bottles but if you're feeling adventurous, consider packing only those cosmetics, lotions and cleansers you absolutely can't live without. Plan to stop by a supermarket or drug store for the basics once you arrive, or just use whatever your hotel provides. Don't forget that any and all liquids still need to be packed separately. While you could just use a plastic zipper bag, a clear TSA-compliant AirQuart travel bag will let you fly through security stylishly.
Design a Capsule Wardrobe
Packing an outfit for every day and every night is old school. A modern capsule wardrobe that is based around a dark color like navy or black with a few light accent pieces and accessories can be put together in dozens of ways. Always bring a classic pair of sunglasses (to make napping easier and hide jet-lagged eyes), and a statement watch. Choose tops and bottoms to mix and match, and try to find a pair of shoes that works for everything you plan to do. Surprisingly, Crocs (if you can believe it) makes ballet flats and wedges that are amazingly comfortable for long days of sightseeing and look nothing like gardening shoes.
Lay out Everything You'll Need
Do a packing test run to make sure your carry-on bag will comfortably hold everything you'll need en route or for your entire trip. Don't forget:
· Your flight documents
· Wallet, ID and passport
· Phone, tablet and laptop plus chargers and headphones
· Clothes (or an extra set of clothing in case your checked bag is lost)
· Makeup for touch-ups on arrival and other must-have toiletries
· Medications you might need while traveling
· A light sweater because it gets chilly in the air!
Pack What You Don't Need First
If your carry-on bag will be the entirety of your luggage, it makes sense to layer your extra clothes on the very bottom. That way, you're not digging through socks and undies to find your allergy medicine and your clothing acts like a cushion to keep fragile things like your laptop safe and sound.
Don't Forget Your One Personal Item
Though a few airlines no longer allow passengers one personal item in addition to the allotted carry-on bag, most still do. What that means is that you can stash everything you'll need on-hand (e.g., tickets, wallet, phone, book, snacks, etc.) in a purse or small backpack and everything else in a weekender that stays in the overhead compartment for the duration of your flight.
Beyond these tips, packing is something every traveler needs to figure out for herself. The guidelines above will help you find your own carry-on packing style, so thoughts of lost luggage never stop you from setting out on that next great adventure!