Top Packing Tips

How to leave your excess baggage behind--while making it through security.

With stories of lost luggage everywhere these days, we decided to pare down to the essentials for a smart, streamlined trip.

  • Make a List

"A week before your trip, make sure to make a list of necessary items," advises Karen Tina Harrisa, an NYC-based travel expert (who only carrys on her luggage). "Be a minimalist and pack only one of everything except for shoes and undies." Our top suggestions? A silk or cotton dress that can be worn day or night, a cotton sweat, a long-sleeved tee for layering, plus one longer and one shorter skirt. Most importantly, make sure everything can be mixed and matched!

  • Know Your Limits

The TSA (together with most airlines) allows one piece of carry-on luggage, plus one personal item (think your purse or his laptop). Most requirements state that the size of luggage not exceed  45 linear inches and weigh no more than 40 pounds. You'll easily make the requirements if you stick to our list-making technique (outlined above).

  • Accessorize!

Accessories are lightweight and can help you get lots more wear from your basic clothing. We love using costume jewels for an evening out or slipping on a skinny belt to turn a beachy caftan into a cocktail-ready dress. Shoes are bulky, though, so make sure to limit those to the basic essentials.

  • Go Mini

Thanks to the TSA's on-board liquid carry-on policy, there have been myriad sites and beauty lines devoted to creating an under-three fluid ounce iteration of their classics. Make sure to stock up on these (especially ones packaged as single-use products, like antibacterial wipes), but just remember: your hotel will have plenty of shampoo and soap, too.