Between personal and work trips as a Fashion Buyer, I spend at least once a month in an airport. Needless to say, I have the traveling thing down packed and think about George Clooney’s character in the movie “Up in the Air” – It’s all in the packing. I’ve seen it too many times – People getting frustrated at the airport: Over packing, having too much to carry and the inefficiencies of going through security. Traveling, either for work or for pleasure should be an exciting experience, not a stressful one. There are many things that can not be avoided at the airport but here are a few tips to help you ease the pain:
1. Lot’s of little bags. I am a huge fan of lot’s of little bags. I zip lock bag and use reusable protective bags for absolutely everything. You can find all sorts of reusable mesh baggies at the dollar store. I bag my shoes separately, all my silks and delicates in another and all other clothing items in another bag. This makes packing 100 times easier as things will not go array inside the luggage during transport. I live and die by the ones at MUJI and it has changed my life.
2. Rolling vs folding. I was taught to roll my clothes for camping. “You can pack more in a small space,” my dad would say. What I have learned is that this works best for soft shelled luggage. When using a more structured or hard shell bag, I place all my “bagged” and folded clothes in the centre. If I happen to not have enough bags, I then continue to pack in things like toiletries and rollable items like jeans, socks and jogging pants around the edges. This will cause less movement of your contents in the luggage during transportation and you can fit more into your bag.
3. Some must have clothing items. This all depends on where you are going of course but I have found a few things always stand true:
4. Travel size everything. The idea of not being able to bring full sized liquids in your carry-on is a pain but it’s something we have to deal with. Now remember, if you check your liquids (beauty products, shampoos etc) in your luggage, no problem. But if you are only traveling with a carry on, you’ll have to miniaturize everything. I down size all my products into little containers like the ones from The Container Store.
All you have to remember is that every bottle has to be 100 ml or less, it all has to fit in one transparent bag totaling no more than 1 L = 1000 ml. Also remember, gas curling irons, scissors and razor blades need to be checked in. If you are unable to find containers you can purchase most travel size items at your local drug store. Also, when I buy my cosmetics from the beauty counter, I always ask for samples! Most times they will stock samples in most your regular sized items and these are perfect for travel.
The reason for using zip lock bags is because you simply can not avoid the fact that some of liquids will spill or bust open due rough handling of the baggage and air pressure on the plane. If you’d like to minimize the liquids you pack even more, try ONE’s solid shampoo and conditioner. It comes in an earth-friendly, travel-smart formula that features gentle ingredients and comes in a recyclable tin container housed in cardboard—no plastic in sight.
5. Know where you are going. Have all the relevant information in your purse or travel tote handy or better yet enter it all in your iPhone, Blackberry or smartphone. You’ll need all this information when checking in and if you are traveling international, at customs. Know where you are going: Have your passport accessible, know all your flight information and the full address to your destination. (Try to always keep a pen with you as you’ll need it to fill out forms).
6. Be light as a feather - I can not stress how important this is as I do believe over packing and not knowing what to pack are the culprits to travel stress. Key in on the essentials (as listed above) and from there add separates and mix and match. I lay everything out on the bed and EDIT. Shoes that make the cut should serve a dual purpose. Everything for that matter should have a dual purpose and it’s a great bench mark for things that make the cut.
I truly believe when you travel light you learn how to live with less and this will make your travels less stressful. It takes some practice and like I said, I travel frequently so I have really worked out a system and routine that works well for me. Once you have figured out your luggage you have figured out your life.
Sunny Shum, Footwear Buyer for Sterling Shoes Inc, Blogger & Your Industry Insider | Follow me @partly_sunny