how to pack

Packing 3.0 - List It!

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I interrupt this month's Oahu and Lanai programming to share a simple packing epiphany: make a list THEN assemble your "wears". Before you close this page in search of more important internet insights, hear me out; this trick can save you hours and a heavy load.

Packing is life for me this fall, so I'm having to be more efficient than usual. Instead of my right-brained approach standing in front of my closet waiting for a flash of fashion inspiration, I've become more calculated. Inserting my little left brain into the mix has saved a ton of time.

1/ Up to three days before my trip, I consider my trip style {ie. urban, tropical, etc.}, the destination and its weather. Then I list my days away, as well as clothing potentials in major categories like "pants," "jackets" or "tops".

2/ I give myself time to craft this list to allow for inspiration and refinement. For me, inspiration comes from fashion blogs and magazines. When I see a classic or on-trend look I like, I incorporate an element of it into my trip fashion. As far as refinement, seeing my list from a bird's eye perspective allows me to spot outfit repeat opportunities, and mix 'n match possibilities.

3/ Then I pack, confident that my approach has eliminated any need for frantic, last-minute editions, which always seem to tip my suitcase scale from collected to crazy.

For example, I'm headed to Portland this weekend for the second-annual Feast food festival {see my 2012 coverage here}. Knowing I'll be learning about food, exploring the town's tastes and going to odd after-party, I'm bringing a mix of denim, plaid---it IS Portland after all---my faux-leather pants and easy-to-walk-in booties. Here's what I'm channeling:

PS. I packed for Portland in 20 minutes.

[photos via google images]

Packing Pointers With Shaun

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Last week we had the great pleasure of interviewing Shaun, a Canadian rock star and author of "How To Pack Like A Rock Star" for our monthly feature, The Savvy Traveler.

Today, we get a sneak-peek at Shaun's packing prowess. Curious about how he fits a LOT into a LITTLE space, I asked him to share a few of his never-before-published techniques {that I plan to incorporate into my own packing process}:

1/ About his patent-pending folding method
"It's about being able to see all your clothes from the moment you open your bag; that way you're not rummaging through everything just to find that one article of clothing."

2/ What he likens his packing method to
"Bricks. For the same reason bricks aren't round, in a square suitcase you don't save space by putting in cylindrical objects because they don't stack well on top of each other."

3/ How many articles of clothing he fits in his carry-on {for a two-week trip}
"Ten t-shirts, two pairs of jeans, four dress shirts, a hoodie, 10 pairs of underwear, five white and five dark pairs of socks, and a toiletries bag. I can easily hide a pair of runners underneath as well, not to mention the two external pockets that are empty, but I tend to use those for dirty clothes and shower sandals."

4/ What items are always on his packing list
a} "Two words: Shower. Sandals." "My work lends me to exploring many great cities; however, it can also include some very dark and dirty music venues with dingy showers. Cheap flip flops have saved me on numerous occasions and they slip away easily into a wet pocket on the outside of my suitcase!"

b} "Three words: Industrial. Strength. Earplugs." "When I wake up on the plane or in a new country, I prefer to ease my ears into it by keeping them covered until I'm fully ready to explore. I like taking in the sights of a new city first without overloading my senses."

Packing 103
Packing 102
Packing 101 Size Matters
Travel iPhone Apps :: PackingPro

[photos c/o shaun]

Packing 102

packing 102 - how to pack light and right A little while ago I wrote about Mastering the Art of Packing, aka packing 101. In it, I talked about well- and lesser-known space-saving packing tips like "slip underwear, socks and electronic chargers into shoes" and "place belts around the perimeter or your bag." I religiously put these tips {and others} into practice when I travel, and along the way have reformed my egregious overpacking tendencies into carry-on bliss.

Feeling pretty proud of my ever-evolving packing techniques---affording me a small carry-on for a 6-day trip last month---I thought I might actually have packing semi-mastered. Not so much. Conde Nast Traveler's Wendy Perrin reminded me of this while reading her Perrin Report column under a grass-topped beach umbrella in Mexico. It was entitled Confessions of an Unfashionable Traveler, yet I firmly believe you can pack stylishly AND light. There's always room for improvement!

Packing 102 Here are a few things Wendy taught {and reminded} me:

1} "You can't be a slave to the fashionistas when you're a slave to the overhead storage bin." My translation: keep the size of your bag in mind while selecting garments and shoes. Bring a few key peices that work together and double in the program. For example, when I went to Mexico last month, I wore a vintage, waist-length sweater-jacket with my plane outfit, a) because it kept me toasty getting to the airport in a cold climate, and b) so I'd have a warm option for wearing over dresses on breezy evenings.

2} "Not only can I fit {everything}... into my {carry-on} wheelie, but I can find anything at a moment's notice and NOTHING gets wrinkled." Impressive. I haven't totally mastered the no wrinkles thing, but I've dabbled and now swear by dry cleaner bags. Why? I learned: wrinkles are caused when fabrics rub up against other fabrics. So, put your fancier, wrinkle-prone items in individual dry cleaner bags and gently fold flat at the top of your bag. You can also avoid wrinkles by folding items over each other, like in this 1-minute video. *If you still have trouble getting out wrinkles and hate using hotel irons like me, pick up some wrinkle releaser next time you're in the USA. I just found some and it works well.

3} "Go light on the items you plan to shop for during your trip." This one's a given, but we so often forget this rule while frantically picking the just-right items for our trip's limited wardrobe. Take Vegas for example, I can't speak for guys, but if a girls trip to Vegas happens, you know it's going to involve at least one trip to the mall, likely for a dress! Similarly, when you go to Peru, hold off on bringing toques if you know you want to buy a llama one there.

4} "I always pack a LeSportsac nylon duffel in case I accumulate so many purchases they can't all fit in my wheelie. In that case, for the flight home, the duffel becomes my carry-on and I check the sturdier wheelie." I've mentioned this tip before, but it's so important. Plus, Wendy agrees and she's a rockstar traveler.

5} "Carry two or three accessories that instantly dress you up and send a signal to airport and hotel employees that you're a professional." Words to live by when traveling---whether you're backpacking, weekending or traveling like Posh Spice. I always wear some nice, understated, non-metal-detector-beeping jewelry and scarves for this very reason. They can dress up any outfit. For men, a scarf works well too.

Related Content {Apparently I'm a little obsessed with this topic} Mastering the Art of Packing High Rolling :: To Roll or Lay Flat? A Summer Weekend Packing List Go-To Carry-On Toiletries Choosing the Best Type of Carry-On Travel iPhone Apps :: PackingPro The Art of Carry-On Travel Going Away? Packing and To Do List

[photo by ben husmann]

Master the Art of Packing

packing 101Do you have pre-trip packing figured out?

I don't think I'll ever have packing fully figured out. Every trip I take reminds me there's always room for improvement. But I'm up for the challenge, are you?

A Good Packer a) doesn't take much time to pack b) always packs for the climate c) brings the right---and appropriate---amount of clothes

Packing Tips Go Odorless

  • Bring a plastic bag or reusable laundry bag to stuff dirty items into throughout your trip
  • Pack dryer sheets to place between clothes to keep them laundry fresh

Be Efficient

  • Know the weather at your destination, and pack accordingly
  • Write a list before you go (and make a note of what you wear and don't wear for next time)
  • Assemble and keep a travel toiletries kit in a clear plastic case so it's always ready to go...or send toiletries to your destination

Your Right Foot Forward

  • Keep shoes in clear plastic bags so your other items don't get dirtied
  • Slip items like underwear, socks and electronic chargers into shoes

Use Your Suitcases's Real Estate Wisely

  • Wherever possible, unstructured or soft garments should be rolled instead of laid flat
  • Leave out socks, underwear, ties and scarves until the end to fill in packing gaps
  • Place belts around the perimeter or your bag

Preventative Maintenance

  • Wrap items you don't want to wrinkle in a suit bag, dry cleaning bag or tissue paper
  • Don't just throw in combs, brushes or spiky hair dryer attachments, cover them with socks, bags or tissue paper to prevent snags

Related Content High Rolling :: To Roll or Lay Flat? A Summer Weekend Packing List Go-To Carry-On Toiletries Choosing the Best Type of Carry-On Travel iPhone Apps :: PackingPro The Art of Carry-On Travel Going Away? Packing and To Do List

[photo by Drew Coffman]