I got home late last night from another trip to New York City (second on in two months!). As fun as it is to go the “big city” every once in awhile….I wouldn’t mind staying put for a little while either. :-) Anyway you look it it….traveling is STRESSFUL! But, one thing I did differently this time that made it a little LESS stressful was I finally researched and found a way to pack a carry-on that was SO much easier than I’ve been doing it in the past. A number of people have actually asked me about this lately so I thought this might be a good time to see what I could come up with!
I ended up finding and watching a great YouTube video from Dr. Tina Alster, a dermatologist that travels a lot and is often referred to as “Mary Poppins” by her friends because she can pack so much into one carry-on bag! After watching the video I could see why!
The video is a bit long (about 15 minutes), so I’m going to try and consolidate it here with some picture I snapped while I was packing my bag on Monday afternoon. I left Tuesday morning and got back late Friday night…so I was packing for roughly 4 days. I usually like to plan on two outfits a day…whether I actually use them or not.
The first thing I did was pack small clothing items like underwear, nylons, camisoles, scarves, swimsuits, socks, slips, etc in the very bottom of the bag, in between those ridges that are made by the extendable metal handles of the bag.
It never occurred to me before to take advantage of this space…but I was really surprised at how many little things I was able to fit in there!
Next step is to start layering. This is where I’ve been doing it all wrong. I heard a long time ago that ROLLING your clothes was the way to go…but after trying the LAYERING technique, I was able to pack at LEAST twice as much stuff! Honest!
The key is to pack your clothing items completely flat. Not only does this save space, but when you get to your destination there is no ironing needed. Every single thing I packed for my trip was material that could easily wrinkle (except for one long, knit skirt) and I didn’t have to iron one thing when I got there.
As you can see from the following pictures….some items fit in perfectly with just one fold (like my pencil skirts)…..
…..while some needed a few extra folds (like my blouses).
Make sure you button all your shirts and sweaters up before you pack them, that way they lay much nicer and flatter.
Then just keep layering! I overpacked for this trip (like I always do!) but I just couldn’t believe how much I was able to keep adding…with room to spare!
After you are doing layering your clothing, now it’s time for layering your footwear. I’m not much of a shoe fashionista (I’m more about comfort than style in that department), so I just packed some animal print flats, a pair of sandals, and some zip-up ankle boots. I easily could have fit a few more pair. Just think of the shoe layer as a simple jigsaw puzzle.
It’s also a good idea to wrap each shoe in a plastic bag to keep them from getting your clothes dirty, plus you can re-use the plastic bags each time you travel.
Another tip: WEAR the bulkier items you want to take on the plane. For example, I wanted to take my Frye boots and even though they aren’t necessarily the easiest shoes to take off when going through security, they would have taken up a lot of room in my bag…so I just wore them with jeans while traveling.
Depending on what you will be doing at your travel destination, you also might want to add one or two small (preferably flat) handbags on top of the shoes. I actually chose not to and was kind of sorry when I got to NYC. Lesson learned. :-)
At this point Dr. Tina was done with packing her large carry-on. Everything else she carries in her second, smaller carry-on. Make-up, jewelry, health & beauty products, electronics, cords, etc.
I actually decided to pack my very expensive (NOT!) jewelry and my skin & hair products, etc in small bags that I put in the large carry-on suitcase. I had room after all. :-)
My makeup, my computer, my mouse, my electronic cords, etc. all went into my second smaller carry-on (ie…a large tote!)
At first I thought I wouldn’t like carrying that much stuff in my second, smaller carry-on bag, but it actually was very handy to have it all in one place and I didn’t mind it at all.
Before this last trip I’d been using a rolling garment bag like this one….
It’s a nice bag but always has to be checked (to the tune of at least $25.00!) because it won’t fit in the overhead bins. It’s also much bulkier and heavier (because I tend to pack more in it!) to drag around the airport.
Now that I know how to efficiently pack THIS bag, traveling just got a whole lot nicer…and at least a little less stressful. :-)
What are you tried-and-true packing/traveling tips?! :-)