ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway
In Part 1 of our packing series, packing expert and head of Tortuga Backpacks, Fred Perrotta, outlined the basic rules of traveling carry-on-only and how to keep your toiletries within the rules. In Part 2, he’ll cover how to limit your wardrobe without looking like a bum.
Packing Clothes in a Carry On
Never Pack for More than Two WeeksEven on long trips, never pack more than 7-14 days of clothes. You’ll need to do laundry, so pack for a shorter trip and wear the same, laundered clothes again every week or two. No one will notice and you’ll save a ton of space in your luggage.
Wear Neutral Colors
Choose a neutral color palette for your clothes. Neutral colors are easier to mix and match. Re-wearing them will be less obvious. I wear a mix of blues, grays, and muted greens.If you prefer bright colors and patterns, limit them to accessories like leopard print flats or colorful scarves.
Mix and Match
Pack interchangeable clothes. Each top should be able to be worm with each bottom. Neutral colors make this much easier.For example, don’t pack three complete outfits. Pack three tops and three bottoms that can be worn in combination. This strategy yields nine outfits, not three.
Dress in Layers, Not in Bulk
Traveling somewhere cold? Plan to dress in layers, not in bulky sweaters and jackets. The latter are huge space eaters in your luggage.Instead of packing a huge sweater, pack a base layer t-shirt, long-sleeved mid-layer (or two), and a lighter jacket. These items will take up less space than a sweater and will be more versatile in different temperatures.
Pack Quick-Drying Basics
Buy basics like underwear and socks made of quick-drying fabrics. Then you can quickly hand wash them between laundry cycles. You could pack as few as two pairs of each, alternating them each day. No one would know how often you’re re-wearing them.You don’t need to be that extreme to see the benefit. For a ten day trip, you could pack five pairs of socks and hand wash them in your hotel’s sink once in the middle of your trip. For five minutes of effort, you saved bringing five extra pairs of socks.If you pack basics made of quick-dry fabrics, you can hang them to dry overnight. I recommend ExOfficio for underwear and Smartwool for socks.
Wear Your Heaviest Items
Wear, don’t pack, your heaviest items when flying. Boots and jackets are much easier to wear than to pack. You can still bring them without sacrificing the space in your luggage.
Roll, Don’t Fold Your Clothes
Rolling your clothes, instead of folding them, takes up less room in your bag. Even flight attendants recommend rolled packing.
Condense Your Load with Cubes and Folders
Keep your clothes organized and condense them even more with packing cubes and folders. Cubes come in a variety of sizes to fit any luggage. You can also buy two-sided cubes to separate types of clothes or to keep dirty clothes away from clean clothes.Packing folders are ideal for anything that needs folded like dress shirts, blouses, and slacks. If you need something for a business meeting, consider packing it in a folder.
Packing light is easy once you have a system in place. Start with the advice above then adapt it to your own travel style and wardrobe. Once you have your technique nailed down, you’ll know what you need for every trip and will be able to pack quickly without dreading it. Keep that $50 in your pocket, not the airline’s.