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Packing Tips from Our Readers

A Boon for Bookworms

ereader e-reader kindle electronic reader"I have finally solved my toughest travel packing dilemma -- reading material. I usually go through four books a week, and want at least two for each long plane trip, just in case. I got Amazon's Kindle before I left for my last trip, and it was great. I downloaded a couple dozen books before I left, and added a few French novels available for free online during my trip. It was pricey, and I waited about six weeks because it was out of stock, but it was more than worth it." -- soozzie

A Method to the Madness

"I use a rolling duffel and mix various packing methods, flat-folding shirts, pants and shorts, rolling underwear and PJ's, using zip-lock bags for loose items and a spare trash bag for impossibly dirty laundry. Used shirts are folded for reuse if reasonably fresh. I can't stand to wear the same shoes for a full vacation, so I pack one pair of walking shoes and wear the other en route. I include one brown pair (not fancy, but passable for nicer restaurants). Socks, handkerchiefs and underwear go into ample side and end pouches." -- Bob W.

The Clean Rises to the Top

"I like to pack a foldable suitcase inside my regular suitcase. My husband and I can't stand having our dirty clothes mixed in with our clean clothes. The second suitcase works great; we just dump our dirty clothes into the second bag and don't have to worry about odor or remembering which layer is the dirty layer. It also gives you more room for souvenirs." -- traveljunkie6987

Keep It Under Wraps

"My tried and true trick for keeping special fabrics and/or items of clothing wrinkle-free is to use the plastic from your dry cleaning (save those plastic wraps). Lay it out flat on the bed, place your item of clothing on top of the plastic (use two pieces if you must, but the longer pieces of dry cleaning plastic, like the kind for coats and dresses, always work) and begin to carefully fold your clothing so that each fold is wrapped, i.e. every bend has a piece of plastic in it. Once done, carefully place the clothes in the part of your suitcase that has those 'X' straps on one side -- OR, if you don't have that, put the wrapped pieces on the bottom of your suitcase. THIS WORKS!" -- Host Bonjour

Fashion Forward

"I make sure all my tops go with all my bottoms, so I can mix and match them. I also avoid prints and try to stick with solid colors ... if I want to add some color, I add a scarf or some inexpensive local jewelry. I also try to bring lightweight layers, so I can add or subtract them depending on the weather." -- gypsychick

Cube It and Forget It

"I use mesh packing cubes and packing envelopes (folders)! I try to take mostly travel knits, which are rolled up and secured in the mesh packing cube(s). Any item that could wrinkle (hubby's shirts and trousers) is folded and packed in a packing envelope. I love this system because everything (underwear and socks included) is either in a cube or envelope, so there are no loose things in the luggage. We usually just leave the cube items in our bags when we arrive at our destination -- they're already organized and easy to find. We've never had wrinkle problems since using the envelopes." -- desdemona01

Four Signs You Have a Packing Problem

The Bottle Is Half Full

"I always work out how many days it takes to go through my favorite shampoo, conditioner and deodorant and then take half-filled bottles because I know that I will run out on the last day of my trip. I can always use the hotel-provided ones for one or two days if required." --pookyandjo

Primed and Ready

toiletry bag toothbrush bathroom travel"Have a 'travel' bag filled with duplicate lotions, shampoo/conditioner, slippers, etc. put away for trips. I keep mine in a small shopping bag so when my next trip comes up, all I have to do is reach in, pack what I need (seasonal items like suntan lotion don't always go!) and I'm ready! When you return from each trip, refill or purchase what has been used. It saves so much time." -- Sallie J.

You Mean You Don't Trust the Airlines?

"I always pack my carry-on as if it's the only bag I'm taking. I know all my essentials are there, including a change of clothes. Then I pack my checked bag. It's a bonus when it arrives with me." -- Wendy

Walk Through Your Week

"For an extended trip (more than a week), try packing a week before. Then mentally walk through how you will wear each change of clothing and other accessories you think you'll use. That way, you can reduce the amount of clothing packed and be able to make a list of all those last-minute items you need to buy -- batteries, electrical converter, rain poncho, toiletries, etc." -- Jonathan B.

Master Your Packing List

"Create a master packing list that includes everything you might need for any trip, and then highlight the items you will need for a particular trip. My list has been invaluable and helps me to remember things that don't readily come to mind." -- Tim H.

Bag the Bottles

"Instead of packing toner or astringent for the face, I put cotton balls in a heavy zip-lock bag and pour toner or astringent on it -- one ball or two per day. That is one less plastic bottle to pack. Same format for moisturizing lotion: Buy a cheaper quality lotion just for the trip. Put it in a heavy-duty zip-lock bag and use it from this bag morning or night while on the trip -- one less container." -- Carolyn S.

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--compiled by Sarah Schlichter


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