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How to Pack and Travel like an Expert PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta   

Love traveling but hate packing your luggage? As veteran travelers, Luxury Experience Magazine provides packing and traveling tips to help make your next trip a breeze.

With some airlines now charging to check a second piece of luggage, it is now more important than ever to learn how to pack like an expert. Whether you are a frequent traveler or an occasional one, with the airline rules of the game constantly changing, and the holiday travel season upon us, we thought it would be helpful to provide a few of our favorite tips.


After years of traveling, we have put together some easy to follow tips that we use to help us look as fresh upon arrival at our destination as when we started our journey. It is actually easy to do, and only takes a few minutes of preparation.

Clothing Selection:

It all starts with the selection of clothing and how you pack them in your luggage. Natural fabrics make the best travelers, think wool, cotton, silks, as well as rayon, and linen can travel well, if packed correctly. Select clothes that you will be able to wear more than once if matched with other clothing pieces or accessorized differently in order to minimize the amount of travel clothes that you bring. We are not suggesting drastic measures of wearing the same outfit throughout your trip and washing it nightly in a hotel sink for goodness sake, but that you optimize your outfits. Although it does sound pretty basic, thinking of the airline baggage allowance will make you rethink if you really need to take 5 similar pairs of black shoes and 4 sweaters for 3 days.

Packing items needed: tissue paper, plastic zip-lock bags, and plastic bubble wrap.

Clothing selected, it is now time to pack. To help your clothing arrive at your destination in the same nice-and-neat, ironed, just-returned-from-the-dry-cleaners condition as they started out, fold your clothes with a layer of tissue paper, and place the clothes in large zip-lock plastic bags, (we use the 2.5 gallon size bags that will hold 2-3 folded shirts and larger folded clothing, and gallon size bags for other items). Press the air out of the bag and seal. Clothes will stay neat, and in the case of a security agent opening your luggage for inspection, or if you are sifting through your clothes looking for an outfit, your clothes are clearly visible and will stay much neater than if placed loosely in your luggage.

Place shirts in a bag, slacks or skirts in another bag, dresses in another bag, etc., and also include the accessory for the outfit (scarf, stockings, etc.), which makes selecting an outfit easier. Although it seems obvious, make sure that you keep jewelry in your handbag or in your carry-on bag, and unless it is imperative, do not travel with family heirlooms, as a friend once did, and had her carry-on case stolen at the airport while she was not watching it.

Packing your clothing in plastic bags not only keeps the clothing in their pressed state, but as an added bonus, your clothing remains dry in humid climates or when luggage sits on the tarmac in the rain. We have seen this happen on many occasions, and are always happy that we consistently pack with plastic bags.

Bring extra zip-lock bags in different sizes to hold snacks, dirty clothes, wet bathing suits, bottles or other breakable items (which are first wrapped in bubble wrap and then placed inside the zip-lock plastic bag.)

Bring bubble wrap to take up extra space in your luggage without adding weight. Later, it may be used to wrap breakables, or discarded if no longer needed.

Make a list of the contents of your checked luggage and keep the list in your briefcase or carry-on luggage. Take a photograph of the outside of your luggage and take it with you. In the case that your luggage is lost or missing, it will help with identification or in the replacement process if necessary.

Make copies of your itinerary and place it in your luggage in the event that your luggage is lost or missing, the baggage tag is lost, etc. Use your business address, not your home address.

Pack large size toiletries in your checked luggage in plastic zip-lock bags in the case the toiletries open under pressure.

Preparing your Carry-on Luggage:

If you want to bring toiletries in your carry-on luggage, current airline requirements state they MUST be in quart-size zip-lock plastic bags and may only contain 2 ounces of liquids (medicines, small lotions, toothpaste, etc). If the items are not in a plastic bag you may ask for a bag at the airport, however, if the toiletries exceed the size limit, security may throw the items out.

Although most people believe that it will never happen to them, bring your Health Insurance cards with you and make sure that your insurance is valid in foreign countries if traveling abroad. If not, you might want to consider investing in Travel Insurance. A friend of ours had an accident while traveling abroad and forget his insurance card at home resulting in hours of telephone calls to straighten out the problem, so be safe, and always carry your insurance card with you.

Make sure to bring a change of clothes and other relevant items such as a bathing suit if you are traveling to a beach or there is a pool at the hotel,  in the case of lost or missing luggage, or a delayed check-in, you will at least have something else to wear. (Edward once had his luggage missing for 3 days before it showed up, and this was on a  non-stop flight.) If traveling to a warm climate, make sure you bring sunblock, aloe vera, chapstick, and a hat, as blisters and peeling skin will definitely ruin your holiday.

Bring a tote bag inside your carry-on luggage that can be stored below your seat to hold your shoes if you remove them during the flight, and also hold books, magazines, travel pillow, etc. to keep items in one location so you do not need to open the overhead compartment during the flight to remove items from your carry-on luggage.

Bring mints or hard candies to help keep hydrated during the flight. It often seems like forever for the beverage cart (if there is one) to arrive at your row. Bring earplugs to help muffle airplane noises, crying babies, etc. and also an eyeshade to help you sleep on the airplane.

Bring legal-size envelopes to hold receipts, business cards, and other information that you acquire on the trip.

Traveling with Passports:

If traveling with family members, make two copies of each person's passport and leave a copy at home in a secure place, and bring a copy of the passports with you to assist in the process of replacing the passport if it should be lost or stolen. Keep your copy of your passport in a separate location (not with the passport) and keep it secure.

Unless it is required by the country that you are visiting, lock your passport in the hotel safe when you do not need to carry it. Do carry a form of Identification with you at all times such as a Drivers License and contact information of someone not traveling with you in the case of an emergency.

Airport Security - Saving Time:

Security lines can be time consuming, but with a little pre-planning, our tips will help you expedite this process.

Outerwear including coats, jackets, blazers, suit coats, sport coats, etc. and belts must be removed and placed in a plastic bin on the security conveyer belt. To speed up this process, remove your coat before entering the line. If space allows, place the coat and your belt in your carry-on bag, so there are less items to remember to remove from the conveyer belt once you complete the security check. Put the items back on after you pass security.

Shoes must be removed and placed in the plastic bin on the conveyer belt, so be prepared. Today is probably not the day that you want to wear lace-up to the knee boots unless you enjoy listening to the passengers behind you grumbling as they wait for you to remove your boots. Do bring an extra pair of socks and place over your socks, stockings, or bare feet before you enter the security line. Thousands of people walk over the airport floor daily and they are breeding grounds for germs (athlete's foot, plantar warts, etc), so be prepared.

Everything must be emptied from your pockets before you walk through the security scanner, including mobile phones and coins, so either leave your change at home or place the change in your briefcase or in a plastic bag. Picking up coins out of the plastic bin not only takes extra time, it is also one more thing to remember.

Drink all beverages that you brought with you before entering the security line. You may not bring any liquids with you, or in your carry-on luggage, not even unopened bottles, past the security checkpoint. If you have bottles with you, Security will ask you to throw away the bottle before you are able to pass through the security check.

Do lock your luggage. Use TSA locks on your luggage, as they are the only locks that are allowed by airline security. They are combination locks, so you do not have to keep track of luggage keys, and certain TSA locks have a display that changes from green to red indicating if they were opened by security.

At the Hotel:

Make sure that you use the hotel safe deposit. We know that it sounds obvious, however, lock your passports, money, all jewelry (even costume), valuables, and laptop, if space allows. Make sure that the hotel safe is locked at all times, even when you are sleeping.

Lock your luggage in your hotel room, even if it is empty. After you have worn an outfit and will no longer be wearing it, fold it up and place it in a plastic bag in your luggage. Daily packing makes packing on the last day easier, and it also provides you with extra time to maximize your trip.

Although you cannot control airline delays and other travel irritations, you can at least be prepared. Have a wonderful time and remember to make each trip a Luxury Experience.

© November 2008. Luxury Experience. All rights reserved.

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