Packing Everything But the Kitchen SinkSep 27, 2000 Write an essay on this topic.
"Wow!" my male co-workers always exclaim upon seeing my tiny suitcase. "That's all you're taking? But we'll be gone for a week and a half!"
I always smile smugly and shrug my shoulders. Only I know the truth: I've got more junk in my tiny bag than they have in two of theirs.
I can see where most girls get into trouble, toting around more luggage than they can handle. It could very easily happen to anyone. The key is to strategize. These are my sure-fire tips for business trip packing:
1. Take only one pair of shoes. OK, two if the trip will require both dressy and casual ensembles, but it's best to find one pair that will work with both. If you do pack a pair in addition to the pair you wear on the plane, pack small things like socks inside the shoes to conserve lost space.
2. Limited shoe choices mean that you have to choose a color scheme. Black or brown. Not both. Pick one and be that. Your entire wardrobe selection for this trip should be determined by the color of shoes you chose. If you picked black, you don't get to pack the brown skirt, regardless of how cute it is.
3. Get travel sized versions of your favorite toiletry items. If they aren't available, invest in some of those little plastic bottles and make yourself a travel kit instead of packing full-sized items.
4. Pack shirts made of thin material. Long-sleeved, short-sleeved, it doesn't matter. Just be sure that it folds flat. If travelling to a cold destination, take a substantial coat or jacket with you to compensate for the thin fabric. Instead of putting it in your suitcase, though, take it on the plane with you. When folded up, coats can double as pillows on long flights. Besides, it would take up too much room in the suitcase.
5. Choose pants or skirts of neutral colors that can be worn with multiple shirts. Try to plan on wearing each skirt or pair of pants at least twice.
6. Pack things that don't wrinkle very easily. Viscose, polyester, nylon: GOOD. Linen, cotton, rayon: BAD. Cotton or rayon blended with polyester can sometimes work, though. Just know your clothes. Always take at least one hanger with you in any case. You never know when hotels are going to have those funny "unstealable" hangers. If you need to steam something in the bathroom, it's hard to hang it up if the hotel hangers don't have hooks.
7. When you actually pack your suitcase, maximize your space by putting things in flat layers instead of stacks. Think of the bottom of your suitcase as a puzzle board. For example, lay your folded shirt in the corner of the suitcase and your folded pants lengthwise, perpendicular to the shirt. If your pants are thicker than your shirt (which they should be -- see #3), continue stacking shirts until they reach the same depth as the pants. Continue placing your clothing in the bottom of the suitcase until the layer is relatively flat, then repeat.
Place any "unflattenable" objects (e.g. shoes, toiletry kits) on top of your flat layers of clothing, making the layer as shallow as possible.
If you have something that you really don't want to wrinkle, hang it in a plastic dry cleaning bag. Lay the bag lengthwise over the suitcase, with the open end of the bag against the inside wall. Now fold the hanger side over so that the bag is folded in half and the hanger is on top.
You will be amazed at how much room you can save in your suitcase just by placing things differently in the bag. I am able to pack a week and a half's worth of clothing, toiletries, etc. using only a small, rolling carry-on suitcase.
The extra space I gain isn't just good for impressing my co-workers. I usually even have room for luxuries like the travel iron and the can of Pringles.
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