Exploring culture, countries and comfort zones
Lose your luggage and lighten your load
in seven days
Maybe it's because my luggage was lost on both flights, coming
to and leaving from a weeklong training session, or perhaps I’m just just sick
and tired of the wasted time, bogged
down at check-in and waiting around
at baggage claim.
I did something drastic.
I threw away my 26-inch suitcase
and vowed that if it doesn’t fit in a 22-
inch carry on, it doesn’t come with me.
Stay with me. Here’s a surefire
seven-day packing plan that takes me—
and anyone else—anywhere in style.
Having recently returned from 12 well-dressed days in Paris with a 21-inch
carry-on bag (Air France is notoriously
stingy with space), I can assure you it
works, whether you’re packing for
business or personal travel.
Determine your image. How do you
want people to perceive you? And in
what setting will you be? Remember,
you might want to dress business casual
if you’re speaking at a resort, but business professional in a metropolis.
What will you be doing? Make a calendar of what you’ll be doing throughout
the day and how dressy or casual you
need to be. Once you’ve assembled
your wardrobe, jot down the actual
outfit you’ll wear to each event.
What’s your color? Build your
wardrobe around one or two neutrals,
such as black, navy blue, brown, khaki.
This will simplify both planning and
packing. Then use another color to
accent your basics.
Bring more tops than bottoms. My
rule of thumb for a four-day trip for
women is two bottoms, two jackets (or a
jacket and a cardigan), five tops and two
pairs of shoes (including what I’m wearing on the plane). For each additional
three days away, I add another bottom
and two tops and perhaps a dress, if
there’s room. For men, this translates to
two suits (or one suit and one sport jacket and a pair of pants), eight shirts, a
sweater and a pair of shoes.
Accessorize for flair. You can quickly
change your look with accessories.
Granted, it’s easier for women to
throw a bright shawl around a simple
top and bottom or add an interesting
necklace. But gentlemen, you can use
colored shirts and patterned ties to give
the same blue suit a change of face.
Look great on the plane. Even if you’re
wearing jeans, make it an “outfit.” I like
to wear my heaviest or most unwieldy
things when I travel. For example, a
jacket over a turtleneck with jeans and
boots. A man might wear a sport jacket
over a shirt and sweater.
Fold, roll and seal. Fold and then roll
every garment separately and then tuck
each one into a quart, gallon or two-gallon sealable plastic bag. This cuts
down on wrinkling and allows you to
see at a glance what's what without
unpacking the entire suitcase.
When rolling pants, start at the hem
and roll up; shirts and sweaters, fold a
section of each side and the sleeves
back, and then roll from the bottom
up. Do the same with jackets. Group
hosiery in a bag; underwear in another.
If you want to maximize space
(translation: pack more stuff), right
before the last inch of the zipper seal
closes, squeeze as much air as you can
out of the bag, and you might just
compress enough space to make room
for that “nice-to-have” item.
Pack efficiently. Put shoes on the bottom of the valise (each in a plastic bag
or a soft shoe bag). Pile your plastic
bags in next. I bag all my incidentals as
well. If they’re fragile, I tuck them
among my sweaters. Pack your one-quart bag of liquids and gels last, in a
place you can quickly grab and replace
them through security screening.
Less stress, more time to do what
you want to do. You can do this.
Susan Sommers is president of Susan
Sommers StylePower and works with people
who want to be rainmakers. Corporations
hire her to teach their employees how to
reach the top of their game in image,
business protocol and
people skills. She’s a new
member of NSA and does
not own any stock in companies that manufacture