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Keep Calm & Carry On

A perfectly packed (and small) bag is the hallmark of the well-seasoned traveler. Here, tips on how the pros pack



Katrina Bischoff

If the ever-rising fees for checked baggage don’t convince you to become a carry-on convert, delayed and cancelled flights will. Expert travelers never let their luggage out of sight. The mad scramble at boarding time isn’t about getting to your seat on time, it’s about scoring precious overhead space. Check your airline’s website to ensure that your carry-on is appropriately sized, get in line early and never give up your bag for gate checking if you don’t remove valuables first.

When local stylist and packing professional Katrina Bischoff packs for her clients, yes, that is a service the jet-set enjoys, she puts together complete outfits for each day and photographs them. This avoids two mistakes—over-packing or forgetting something. Except for perhaps a ski trip to the Alps, Katrina swears there is no vacation that can’t fit into a well-packed carry-on.

We sat down with Katrina to get the lowdown.  


Katrina’s Expert Tips

  • Wear your heaviest items. People in the security line will hate you, but you will avoid checking a bag and you will be able to fit more in your luggage.
  • Use dry-cleaning bags to wrap clothes. This helps stave off wrinkles, and then you can use the bags for dirty laundry for the trip home.
  • Only bring precious jewelry if you are going to keep it in your purse or wear it. Never, ever pack them in a bag that might be taken if overhead bins are full. This also applies to medications.
  • Bring an extra bag that is easy to fold and doesn’t take up space. It can serve as a pool bag, shopping bag or general carry-all.
  • Make sure everything you pack fits you. Try everything on before you pack it. Especially when switching seasons.
  • When packing, lay out your clothes by day. Make sure you can wear one item at least three different ways. This also allows you to see what you are bringing and plan your outfits.
  • To avoid over-packing, pack shoes for activity rather than for each outfit. For example: daytime casual/beach, evening casual, active shoes.
  • Always bring a cozy cashmere sweater or shawl. If you win the airline lottery and get a blanket, you can’t trust that it’s clean.
  • Make sure to tape down lids on all toiletry bottles. They can slowly twist open and leak. Then pack in Ziploc bags. The TSA allows for 100ml total volume of liquids. Buy sunscreen when you land.
  • Spray your favorite perfume on your clothes before you leave and do not bring it with you. Your clothes will smell pretty and the TSA will not confiscate your favorite perfume.
  • When packing to come home, roll each item of clothing. For some reason, dirty clothes take up more space than clean ones.
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