how to: pack smart

packing-smartI know. It’s not easy to pack light. I don’t know how guys do it – well, I do know how they do it. They pack one pair of shoes, one pair of jeans, maybe a pair of shorts and two T-shirts. They don’t mind that everything doesn’t match and they have no problem leaving their products (if they even use any) at home. Oh, they just don’t understand us women. The clothes, the shoes, the hair products, the skin products, the makeup, the purses, sweaters if it’s chilly, sundresses if it’s hot … did I mention the shoes? Like I said. I know. It’s not easy to pack light.

But … I will say that I myself have learned from my BF and travel expert, how to pack smart, without having to leave all my fabulous stuff at home. It all started when he and I began planning a trip to Hawaii and Australia, with a pit stop for me in Los Angeles, that would last 16 days. Awesome! Until he called me up one night and said something about only bringing carry-on luggage. Huh? Was he planning a different trip than me? Didn’t he realize that we were going away for SIXTEEN days? I started to argue until he made the one point that was unarguable. We would, he explained, be flying on some small planes, including one puddle jumper to Fraser Island. We simply couldn’t weigh the plane down with excess luggage. Gulp. Carry-on it was.

But how? It was like the riddle of the Sphinx. I was stumped. But with the help of my ever-ingenious mom, we figured it out. The key is rolling.

First, I place my shoes around the perimeter inside the suitcase. Small shoes like flip-flops can easily fit into pockets. That leaves what looks like not-a-whole-heck-of-a-lot-of-room for anything else. Before you start packing your clothing, survey everything you’re planning to take and cut it down by half. OK, maybe by one-third. Then start rolling. Clothing rolled into tight cylinder-like shapes can be lined up in rows tightly against one other and you’ll be surprised just how much fits. Depending on what you’re packing, you may even be able to do another row on top. If you’re heading to a warm-weather destination, this is much easier as summer clothes are so much smaller and lighter than those in our winter wardrobes. But the principle still applies. Packing this way, I can still fit two pairs of jeans along with shorts, skirts, dresses, tops, shoes and accessories.

But what’s the big advantage to traveling light? Well, there are lots of pros. First of all, you don’t have to get to the airport quite so early if you’re not checking a bag. You won’t have to worry about it getting lost in transit (it’s a real pain, trust me!). You don’t have to waste time at the baggage carousel once you’ve landed. It’s safe and secure with you at all times and it gives you added flexibility. Say you want to change flights for some reason (maybe there’s an earlier flight or your flight is significantly delayed); having your luggage on your person means you can make quick decisions and change your travel plans … on the fly.

There are lots of other packing tricks like socks inside shoes. What are your packing tricks? Leave a comment and share! But remember ladies, you don’t have to bring everything but the bathroom sink! It took me a while to feel comfortable traveling without my hairdryer (even still the thought stresses me out), but for the most part, all hotels have hairdryers. They’ve got shampoo, conditioner, soap – so leave that stuff at home. I know you’re partial to your own products. But what would you rather have – your own shampoo or your cute strappy sandals? That’s what I thought.


  1. It sounds like a huge pain but take a few minutes to plan out a few outfits in advance. Then if you want options add another shirt that will go with the pants or skirt you already plan on bringing. And plan on layering! You can make more than one outfit out of a few pieces.

    Good posting! 🙂

    • Thanks, Kari! Packing can be stressful but I think it’s more stressful to be weighed down with too much stuff, especially when you’re trying to navigate your way through airports. I swear by carry-on! Thanks for the comment! 🙂

  2. I’m always a heavy packer, I like to have extra clothes just in case. This has gotten me in trouble many times, however, I’ve had to pay heavy bag fees and leave things behind. I do roll a lot of my shirts, but my worst fault is I take too many shoes and that takes up so much space in my suitcase.

  3. Hey there I came across your post by sheer luck, I was surfing around for Designer Fashion when I came upon your webpage, I must say your blog is very great I truely think the layout, its amazing!. I’m in a bit of a rush at the moment to totally absorb your blog but I have favorited it and also subscribed for your RSS feeds. I will be back in a day or two. Thank you for a great site.

  4. Great advice!

    Rolling is the best! All I wear are dresses with leggings, even to fancy dinners. My staples are Diane von Furstenberg – all of her clothes are easily rollable due to material – silk, chiffon, silk jersey. Forget jeans and pants. I packed 16 DvF dresses in my international carry-on for my last trip to Hong Kong. I looked fabulous and dressed-up 100% of the time.

    The worst part is packing one pair of heels…but it must be done to avoid checked luggage.


  1. […] ago I blogged about how tricky it can be to pack smart when you’re traveling. What I also love about these cuffs is that they’re perfect for […]

  2. […] the first time (and I don’t expect it to be the last) that I am bemoaning the difficulties of packing light. Everything about the idea of it appeals to me: It’s easier to haul around a small carry-on […]

  3. […] benefits far outweigh the drawbacks of leaving those cute shoes that I may or may not need at home. Here’s more on that subject.  Anyway, packing light is easily accomplished when traveling to a warm destination (cotton summer […]

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