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Going On a Plane? Try Carry-On Only

These days, with almost every airline charging for luggage, travel can incur additional expenses depending on the number of bags taken on a trip. So what’s a budget-conscious traveler to do? As winter vacation approaches, The Fashion Link collected some tried-and-true methods, as well as the advice of professional organizer Eileen Bergman ([email protected]), in an effort to downsize your travel needs without limiting your fashion.

Be Familiar With TSA Rules

The rules for airline travel constantly change. Some have become stricter and occasionally some are more lenient. Knowing the rules, and even when possible the specific requirements of the airports you are using, can guide choices in what you pack as well as how you pack. For example, some airports now allow electronics to stay in your carry-on while it goes through the X-ray, and some airports require you to remove all food and put it through separately.

Pack by Category

“In the airport, security may start unpacking your carry-on and you’ll have socks, toiletries, undergarments and other clothing getting displayed for all to see,” warned Eileen Bergman. Some seasoned travelers swear by packing cubes for breezy travel organization. These are lightweight squares in different sizes, often with a mesh cover for easy viewability. Bergman is a big fan of Ziploc bags for organizing and storing. Whether you’re a fan of fancy travel cubes or Ziplocs, Bergman reminds travelers that it is important to keep your luggage contents sorted and accessible.

Upgrade Your Carry-On

Once you have familiarized yourself with TSA carry-on sizes, Bergman also recommended finding a carry-on that works as your primary luggage. Recent innovations to luggage sets have carry-on suitcases made of lighter and more durable materials, wheels that glide through frazzled airport crowds with ease and extra space inside the carry-on itself.

Mix and Match Outfits

Everyone knows the conventional wisdom (but don’t want to limit themselves) of packing just a few colors of interchangeable outfits. “Everyone wants tons of colors, but to eliminate extra luggage, black, tan and neutral tones are your friend,” said Bergman. If this is too stark for some readers, pack a few lightweight, small colorful accessories that can add a splash of glamour to your outfits. Bergman also recommended taking items that dry quickly (in case of spills or other mishaps that require a quick rinse in a sink), don’t show every stain and don’t wrinkle easily.

Many women also like to pack multiple shoes, but footwear variety is not so necessary. A basic pair of shoes can double as dressy wear or casual wear, and most importantly, pack a comfortable pair of sneakers, especially for all the walking done in an airport.

Bergman also suggested travelers open themselves up to the possibility of doing laundry even on vacation. Finding a nearby laundromat or even utilizing hotel laundry services will save money on the no-longer-needed checked baggage, as well as save heartache if a suitcase doesn’t make it to your destination with you (something that has happened to many a traveler).

You Are Your Own Carry-On

Wear layers rather than packing them, especially bulky ones. Yes, you will have to take them off for security and it may take an extra couple of minutes, but a coat and light sweater can be worn through the airport and then stashed in an overhead compartment instead of packed, thereby freeing up valuable space in the suitcase.

Whether you roll your clothes or fold them crisply, stuff socks into shoes for shape and space or cram them into corners of your suitcase, everyone has a packing method that works for them (or doesn’t work for them in some cases). Bergman’s tips will hopefully help travelers plan their trips and make packing a more-efficient and less-stressful experience. Besides cost savings, there is a huge measure of comfort in having all your clothing on the plane with you. Getting to a destination without your suitcase is a stressful start to any trip or vacation, and “once you’ve been in a situation where your luggage has been lost, you never forget the trauma and make judgments based on that,” said Bergman.

Here’s to fun and safe vacations and staycations all around.

By Jenny Gans


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