Jump to content

Article contributed by
Text and photos from The Finder | 1 December 2017
Anne McAlpin, a packing expert and the author of the book Pack It Up: Travel Smart, Pack Light, never checks in luggage. She shares her tips so you won't be bogged down by bag after bag on your next vacation.
1. Go for a soft bag

Stick to a soft bag versus one with a hard case, said McAlpin, because it has a bit of give."If you're trying to get your bag into an overhead plane compartment, a soft one will bend a little to fit, but a hard one won't, so you may be forced to check it in," she said.

A soft bag like a backpack will be easier to fit into a plane's overhead compartment
2. Pare down the toiletries

McAlpin advises minimising toiletries. "Take all your favourite products, but you don't need large quantities of them for a week away," she said. A clear quart-size plastic bag can hold the bulk of your liquids, such as shampoo, conditioner and body lotion.

For liquids that you need a small amount of, such as face cream, she suggests using a contact lens container, available at any pharmacy. She also relies on the growing number of travel-friendly non-liquid toiletries that are readily sold online and at pharmacies

3. The magic number for shoes

Wear a pair of stylish and comfortable walking shoes on your flight and pack two more. Men should take dressier loafer shoes to wear in the evenings, while women need a pair of strappy sandals or low heels that can go from day to night. Both sexes can also take along sneakers, preferably a fashionable pair that can be used both as day shoes and to work out in, and a pair of flip-flops - because they take up minimal space.

4. Choose a colour theme

McAlpin recommends going for a dark shade such as black or navy because it looks more chic than a lighter hue, and packing no more than nine tops and three bottoms around this tone. "The number of looks you can put together with these pieces is endless," she said.

A pair of fitted jeans looks sharp. Women should also pack a pair of capris or pants, a skirt or dress that can be dressed up or down, a mix of long- and short-sleeved tops and a tank top. Men should take a pair of slacks, a tailored button-down shirt, a zip sweater, a few polo shirts, a shirt with a fun pattern (like a colourful plaid) and a sports coat (wear this on the plane). Bathing suits take up little room, so feel free to pack two.