A client once asked me why he had to pack light when he had a driver pick him up from the airport and take him to the hotel.  At first, the question took me aback – EVERYONE knows you should pack light…..what a crazy question!!  After I thought about it for a while, however, I could see where he was coming from….. He was on an educational tour and although he was closer to *my * age,  his trip was loaded with twenty-something students whose idea of packing light is two pair of shorts in a backpack.  That is when I realized that packing light means different thing for different types of trips and for different people.

The point of packing light is to

(1) Not schlep a too heavy suitcase or pay overweight baggage fees (remember that you may want to shop at your destination).

(2) Be able to utilize the sometimes minimal closet and drawer space in hotels (hotel closets seem to have a rule that they must only keep like four hangers in the closet).

(3) Not give your taxi driver a hernia when he picks up your bag

When traveling for a week to ten days, I try to plan to wear each basic piece of clothing at least twice.  If I am at a conference, however, I may apply this rule to skits and pants and maybe a jacket, but I am a girl and I don’t want to look the same every day.  Anything ten days and beyond, I try to stretch it to three or more.

Before putting anything in my suitcase, I first lay it all out on the bed and “marry” items to each other.  This is the best way to eliminate unnecessary clothing items.   When I am uber organized, I will hang them in the closet next to each other for several days to let myself percolate on what I want to bring.

If you are going out on the town or have more glitzy evenings, try to utilize a nice pair of black pants or skirt you wore one day to go with a fab shirt for evening.  Try to alternate days and you won’t feel as if you are an orphan with one pair of clothes.

Shoes, shoes, shoes.  The bane of suitcase weight (much like tagalongs are the bane of MY weight).  Try to streamline your shoe choice.  This may take a bit of creative thinking, but it can be done.  Keep your shoes to a minimum!  Besides, nothing ruins a good pair of shoes like traveling in an airplane suitcase!!!  They seem to come out looking like you ran a half-marathon in them!

TIP:  Roll  upyour tank tops, socks, swimsuits and other small items and put them inside your shoes to keep them from being squished.  Try to put them near the sides of your suitcase or buried within your clothing to prevent smushing.  Bring a few ziplocks to put them inside to keep your clothes clean.

Look through your jewelry—you know, the stuff you never wear anymore, to find items to spruce up your wardrobe.  Grab a scarf you never wear – put on a few bangled bracelets.  Travel is a great time to accessorize in ways that we forget to do at home!

Finally, remember that unless you are going to the Serengeti, if you need something different or if you are just sick and tired of what you are wearing, you have a fully justified shopping excursion!!!