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Whether you’re traveling domestically or abroad, the desire to keep your luggage on board and avoid checking a bag at all costs is becoming more common.  How do you pack for different activities and events for a week, a month, or longer and keep it to a carry-on? Doesn’t seem possible based on how women especially typically pack for a long weekend, let alone 3 weeks in Europe!  Having a set system that works for you not only reduces the forgotten pair of sandals or rain jacket, but allows for a quicker and less stressful time when packing. 

Here are some general tips to ensure comfort and proper attire for most travel destinations:

1.  Pack clothes in a few coordinating colors

For example, any combination of black, white, navy and charcoal is a safe bet. For a beach vacation or outdoors excursion, khaki, white, and bright hues like orange or yellow always work.  A pair of jeans, a pair of nice pants, a striped button down, a blazer and a comfortable T-shirt are always good options. Ideally you should be wearing each piece two or three times on your trip.

2. Minimize the shoes

For women,try and keep it to 3 pairs or less.Exercise sneakers, a comfortable daytime shoe to walk around in, low boots or sandals and, for evenings, heeled sandals if you want them. Men on the other hand, can generally get by with two pairs: Sneakers and loafers, which can be worn both during the day and at night.

3. Fly in exercise gear

Suggested would be compression leggings for women with layers or long sleeve cotton shirt and jacket.  Men can wear track pants with a t-shirt, track jacket or hoody.

4. A few key accessories

Accessories can change the entire look of an outfit. Women can pack a few costume jewelry pieces (ring, necklace, bracelets) and for men a few pairs of fun socks and/or a statement tie will do.

5. One dressy outfit-yes, just one!

Even if you have more than 1 special occasion, bring just one dressy but flexible outfit. Women could opt for a slip dress, high-heeled sandals and a pair of bold earrings, while men should go for a pair of slacks, a flexible, multipurpose blazer, a crisp white shirt and loafers. Ideally, all of these are things you could use for another evening, a different outfit, or can be packed easily without adding bulk to your carry-on.

Although it may be easier said than done, once you leave home with the basics that can be mixed and matched and accessorized to a whole new look, you will never miss the 2 other suitcases you left behind.  Make a list as you go along, check it once, check it twice, and make sure you have all bases covered. From then on, just pull out your list, pack in a flash, and spend time enjoying your trip. You won’t miss waiting for baggage claim and lost luggage!


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