When it comes to vacation, your only thoughts should be what time you want to head to the beach and where you should go to dinner.
Unfortunately, packing for time away can add an unnecessary stressor into the mix with excessive checked-baggage fees, worrying about what you need to bring, and the dreaded wrinkled clothes.
To shed some light on what you really need to pack on vacation, we spoke with fashion expert Stacy London, host of “Love, Lust and Run” on TLC, who gave us great tips on the art of packing and traveling in style.
A versatile piece of luggage with plenty of room for extras.
1. Find the perfect bag.
Finding a great piece of luggage is key. Whether it’s a broken zipper, faulty wheels or flimsy fabric, many bags on the market just aren’t up to the usual wear and tear of frequent travel. For London, it’s all about Tumi. She swears by their suitcases, and goes as far as to call them “magic.”
She prefers a big carry-on model with four way wheel directions, that boast a large amount of space in a sturdy construction. Many of their suitcases like the Alpha 2 line, feature a lid that’s perfect for separating shoes. The main compartment expands with a side zipper for even more room when needed. If you’re carrying on—which London prefers whenever possible– make sure to use a secure luggage lock.
When it comes to color, London prefers basic black.
2. What to pack.
Even with the perfect suitcase, figuring out what to pack can be a daunting endeavor but London says packing versatile items is key to remaining fashionable on the road. A struggle for many is creating a stylish yet functional wardrobe– and at the same time, getting it to fit in your suitcase. Vacation is a time where travelers hope to show off some of their newest purchases and flashy outfits. Although this seems like a great idea– don’t.
“You want to take all the fun things to show off but be practical. Editing is the most important thing when packing,” she said.
Begin with a neutral color pallet and bring in one accent color and a few special pieces. You should be able to mix and match tops and bottoms that you can wear more than once. Always think in layers and pack outfits that can be converted from day to night ensembles. Women can start the day with a great pair of boyfriend jeans and t-shirt, then add in a cool jacket with sexy little heels at night.
“Just like that you turn casual into the sophisticated.”
While winter travel can be tricky with bulkier items, London says you can still be versatile on that trip to a cold-weather destination– wear your big layers, coat and heaviest boots while traveling on the plane.
Related: Traveling Abroad – Helpful Tips Before Your Departure
3. How to pack.
Have you ever carefully planned your vacation outfits, laid them out on your bed in organized piles—and still struggled to fit them into your suitcase?
To avoid checking a bag, travelers must understand a fundamental rule of packing: The folding versus rolling principle. What way will allow for the most room and which one leaves less wrinkles? The answer, says London, is both, depending on the type of garment.
Rolling will work well for casual pieces while folding is best for formal items. When you do fold a lace dress or suit, you should fold it tight, pack it in a saran wrap Ziploc and press out the air. Most carriers have space in the bulkhead for fancy items in suit bags but always check with your airline before getting to the airport.
Toiletries should be placed in the corner of a suitcase but anything of importance like medication or expensive jewelry should always be in your carry-on bag.
And while sitting in the bulkhead or first row may provide a little extra legroom—and save you from having to deal with those pesky knee-defender users—London advises booking a space that allows for under-seat storage so you can keep an eye on your bag.