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How to Pack Light

A day doesn’t go by that the media isn’t informing us of more restrictions to our travel plans. Although these alerts haven’t seemed to curtail travel too much, it doesn’t hurt to do all you can to reduce your own personal stressors when you leave town.


Susan Foster, a packing expert and author of Smart Packing for Today’s Traveler, says that packing smart has never been more critical; taking too much has never more costly. It is time to learn to pack less.


Susan recently wrote an article about packing light for the Los Angeles Times that shares some great pack less tips. View the article here.


She is also quoted in this Associated Press article which ran in many newspapers and online news venues. The packing tips from all sources are excellent, she says.


More pack light tips from Susan:


1. Take a smaller suitcase -- the bigger the bag, the more we pack.


2. Let go of packing a different outfit for each day. Instead, pack interchangeable pieces based on one neutral color and plan to wear each piece more than once. Two pairs of dark slacks plus one jacket plus four shirts/tops will last for one week. For two or more weeks, launder/clean and repeat.


(Women’s shopping tip: Make the jacket and pants a versatile suit that can be worn together or separated -- the Limited suit mentioned in the AP piece is comfortable, wrinkle resistant to pack beautifully, and it looks great.)


3. Choose items that pack small: a merino wool sweater packs smaller than a sweatshirt; micro-fiber slacks pack smaller than jeans; loafers pack smaller than boots. Several lighter weight layers are as warm but pack smaller than a bulky coat.


4. Plan to wash basics in the hotel bathroom sink. Buy “wicking” underwear, socks and tee-shirts -- they are more comfortable to wear as sweat is pulled away from the body plus they dry fast. I pack three pair of wicking underwear for a trip of any length: one pair to wear, one to wash, and a spare. Or pack disposables and just toss.


5. Minimize shoes as they take up more room than anything else. Men’s shoes have a larger profile so take only two pair -- one pair worn during travel and one pair packed. Women’s shoes are a smaller profile so take three pair -- wear one and pack two.


6. Make use of every inch of real estate in the bag -- fill shoes with rolled up socks or underwear, roll casual clothes and tuck into the “valleys” created inside the bag by the handle assembly.


7. Wear, don’t pack, your heaviest and bulkiest items, especially shoes.


For more information, visit Susan’s website.

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