As an international fashion model for the past 20 years, I’ve done my fair share of traveling. Over the years I’ve gotten really good at packing like a pro. As I prepare for my next adventure, I wanted to share with you some tips that will make your next vacation a breeze…
1. Make sure you can handle all your luggage by yourself.
Have you ever seen that woman in the airport struggling to roll three bags while juggling some duffle bags? Don’t be that girl. Not only will it make you more stressed, but it’s completely unnecessary. I limit myself to one rolling suitcase (a large one to be checked for longer trips and a small one that fits in the overhead bin for shorter trips), a carry-on size duffle bag (for your valuables like your laptop, accessories, and expensive shoes!), and your purse. If you are going on a short trip and don’t want to check any bags, make sure your purse fits into the duffle bag (airlines only allow two carry-ons). Use a roomy purse that can fit a bottle of water, your passport, and a book or magazine. Make sure your purse has a zipper…you don’t want anything falling out! I also like to throw a change of clothes in my carry-on duffle bag…you never know when your luggage could get lost.
2. Invest in a good suitcase.
If you’re checking your suitcase, it’s going to go through hell. Invest in a good suitcase (I like Tumi) to ensure that all your belongings stay inside. I learned this lesson the hard way…
3. Stick to one or two color schemes.
Shoes and bags take up the most room in your luggage. I suggest sticking to one or two color schemes to cut down on the amount stuff you’re schlepping around. I usually pack black heels and clutch for night, and neutral flats/sandals and bag for day. Make sure all your outfits match these shoes and bags. I know you love those Leopard print Jimmy Choos with the pink accents, but unless they match everything in your suitcase…leave them at home.
4. Expect the unexpected.
I always throw in a few extra cocktail dresses into my suitcase. They take up very little room, and you just never know when you will get invited to an unplanned event. It’s best to be prepared. There’s nothing worse than being in a foreign country and having to run around to try and find the appropriate outfit. This cuts down on your stress and allows you to enjoy your vacation!
5. Think smaller.
Yes, I know that nothing but your special ionic hair dryer can make your hair look so good…but it’s so freaking big! Buy a hair dryer that is tiny and folds up. You just never know if the hotel or the friend you’re staying with will have this essential item…bring your own!
6. Never pack old clothes.
If you haven’t worn that dress in three years, don’t put it in your suitcase. Only pack the newest clothes you have, things that you are excited to wear. Make sure you bring the stuff that you know fits well and makes you feel good.
7. Pack in advance.
Traveling can be really stressful. Nothing is worse than doing last minute packing and stressing that you aren’t going to make your flight. I usually pack a day or two in advance, and then wear what’s leftover in my closet. It would really be a shame to realize that your favorite dress is at the dry cleaners and you can’t take it with you!
8. Over pack accessories…but not the expensive ones!
Earrings, necklaces and bracelets take up very little room, so feel free to pack as much of these items that you want. The right accessories can transform any outfit from day to night. Just don’t pack the expensive stuff! I learned not to do this after my favorite Tiffany earrings were stolen in London. I even have a friend who has what she calls ‘travel jewelry’, inexpensive replicas of her diamonds…at a fraction of the cost. It’s all about not being stressed over here…see a pattern?
9. Leave a little room in your suitcase for new purchases.
I love to shop, and I especially love to shop when I travel! You can find some very unique items that you wouldn’t find at home, and having anything from the place you visited is a memorabilia of your travels.
10. Ship home your dirty laundry.
If you need to make even more room in your suitcase, you can always ship home dirty laundry, or anything you’ve already worn a few times. Doing this makes more room for those souvenirs you bought for your family.
And last but not least…
11. Don’t forget your passport!!!