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Pack Like a Pro

I pride myself on being a light packer, but there's really no great mystery behind traveling light. The secret is simply good planning: If you decide what to wear before you leave, you'll have no reason to overpack. By employing a few smart strategies, you should be able to fit everything you need in one small piece of luggage—such as this Roxy Van Karmen 22-inch Roller, available for $135 here—whether you're going away for two days or two weeks. Here are some tips to help you become a super packer.

  • Before each trip, make a very detailed packing list where you plan what outfit you will wear each day and how you will reuse each clothing item. The web site OneBag has lots of great tips, as well as a downloadable packing checklist.
  • Get lots of mileage out of each clothing item. A nice blazer, for instance, can double as a daytime jacket and a going-out essential when paired with a dressy camisole. And though you'll probably want to switch out your t-shirts and camis daily, you can wear the same two sweaters for a number of days.
  • For more tips,

  • Don't bring too many shoes. This is one of the biggest—not to mention heaviest—mistakes that female travelers make. On most vacations, you'll need just two pairs of shoes: One comfy pair, and one dressier pair. Save the perfect accessorizing for home.
  • But do use lightweight accessories, like scarves and necklaces, to keep your outfits interesting.
  • Launder clothes as you go. At night, wash lingerie and other lightweight clothing items in the sink with Woolite; they'll easily be dry by morning.
  • Ditch stuff along the way. Travel with older socks, undies, and paperback books that you can get rid of as you go. That way, you'll have room in your suitcase for things you buy on the trip.
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