Packing Tips 10 Things To Bring

Go light. Checked baggage fees and reduced weight allowances have put a serious damper on the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink style of packing. A great way to pare down: choose basics that can go from day to night with the right accessories -- jeans dressed up with a pair of pumps, a tank top matched with a necklace and earrings. That way, you'll end up packing fewer outfits (and leave enough space to bring home new clothes and souvenirs).

Check in about checked bags. No one wants to be held up by the one person who checked her bag; likewise, if everyone else is checking one, you might as well too.

Color coordinate. If you and your travel companions are about the same size, one person can bring black and white clothes, and another can pack bright colors. You can play mix and match to compose complete outfits.

Use space savers. A hanging toiletry bag will help keep limited counter space clutter-free (biggest culprit here: cruise ships). For an affordable alternative, tuck your personal items into the pockets of a hanging shoe organizer, and fold into your suitcase.

Share the load. Agree on who is bringing what ahead of time. Split the heavy stuff, and pass around guidebooks and curling irons once you get there. That said, there are some things that everyone should pack. For example, if traveling internationally, each person should remember to pack a travel adapter to recharge camera batteries and other electronics.

Bag it. Ziplocs not only help you organize your packing but can be used to store just about anything: shoes, dirty laundry, wet bathing suits, or shampoo bottles subject to leaking.

See double. Consider packing items that have multiple uses: sandals can also be worn as bedroom slippers; a scarf doubles as a shoulder wrap; a sarong makes a great cover-up and an airplane blanket.

Book exchange. Before you leave, read novels set in the locale you're visiting, and then swap books once you get there -- it will spark lively discussions as you explore the destination.

Be Scent-sitive. Even a spritz or two of perfume may seem overpowering in the space of an airplane cabin or a subcompact rental. Go easy.

Pack a soft-sided bag. Somebody will always purchase more than they anticipate. Pull it out in the case of a (shopping) emergency. Many companies make collapsible duffel-style bags. Try packing something like Timbuk2's Hidden Stuffle (, $30) -- when not in use, the nylon bag folds into its own pocket.