My father traveled for business during 80% of my formative years. I can’t tell you how many times I sat on his bed begging him not to leave–oops, getting off track–I mean watching him pack. Yet somehow when I started traveling, I was at a complete loss. Packing is completely different for most women and men. If traveling with family, woman often have the responsibility of packing for the kids. When traveling alone, women bring more stuff–and no, stuff is not a code word for shoes. We bring more stuff because we don’t have the luxury of wandering the dark streets of a strange town, looking for a store that can replace something broken or forgotten.So after much trial and error, I have it mostly figured out. I can now pack for a week in less than an hour and under the checked bag weight limit. If you are comfortable, prepared and organized, travel will always be fun. Here are some things I’ve learned.You will pack less, forget less and worry less if you plan your outfits in advance. Take the time to check the weather at your destination and plan outfits in advance. I use the See Jane Work Fashion Planner,click here to download. I don’t always follow it exactly. Weather and plans can change, so I try to throw in a few extras, a versatile blazer, scarf and white t-shirt. Once you finish the plan, photograph it with your smart phone or throw it in your suitcase.Next, using your plan, get your clothing and accessories together. Set off to the side anything you plan to wear, or carry with you, while traveling. (Always keep valuables, like jewelry, with you. This was a lesson learned the hard way.) Pack heavy items first, things like shoes and toiletry bags. This protects delicate items, maximizes space and balances the weight of your suitcase. There is nothing worse than a suitcase that is constantly tipping over.Throw in an extra tote bag, something sturdy enough to carry-on if needed. It takes up little room, but can be a big help. I’ve used my extra tote for shopping, going to the pool, carrying catalogs from a tradeshow, and to carry-on some of my bag contents when I was over the checked bag weight limit. A $20 bag once saved me $50 in fees.If you like to be ultra-organized, are packing for a long trip, or multiple family members, give packing pouches a try. Just be sure to press down after zipping to remove any extra air.You should roll clothes even inside packing pouches.Don’t scorch that silk blouse by throwing in your recently used flat iron. Invest in a heat tool cover so you can finish getting ready and get out the door, without waiting for it to cool down.It’s a good idea to fasten the straps inside your suitcase, especially if it’s not packed full, to keep the contents from shifting. Worried about the straps damaging your delicate clothing? Some people use tissue paper to protect silk, cashmere, beaded or embellished clothing.When traveling internationally, to a remote destination, or if you have an early meeting, it’s a good idea to include a change of clothes in your carry-on. Luggage can be delayed or lost and while shopping is always fun, especially if the airline is paying, it isn’t always convenient. Also, keep in mind that most airlines will not cover the cost to replace a bag’s contents, until it has been missing for more than 24 hours. For additional tips click here, or see our luggage buying guide.
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