Pack With Panache


With the season's most versatile fashions, the right bag, and some nifty packing tips, you'll be ready for anything.

Lighten up All the airlines have cut back on weight allowances--if you check more than 50 pounds in a bag, you'll have to pay a fee. Here's a great way to pack light: Pick two colors to mix and match throughout your trip. You'll cut down on luggage, and you won't have to bring as many shoes.

Cruise control Pack a swimsuit in your carry-on. If you're going on a cruise, you'll be able to hit the pool when everybody else is waiting for their baggage to be delivered to their cabins.

Balancing act Place any heavy items--such as books--in the part of the suitcase that'll be at the bottom when the suitcase is standing on end. This way, the weight will hold the bag upright and it won't tip over.

Roll with it In addition to saving precious space, rolling wrinkles most clothes less than folding, because it minimizes creasing. It works especially well for items such as jeans, T-shirts, and workout gear.

Ziploc fever! You can use them to hold absolutely everything: toiletries that are prone to oozing, cell phones and wallets when you're on water rides at amusement parks, umbrellas that are too wet to carry in a purse.

Nesting isn't just for birds Pack things inside other things--your digital camera inside a pair of socks that are inside shoes, for instance.

Extra! Extra! Put shoes inside those plastic bags that your newspapers are delivered in. They're sturdy, just the right shape (long and thin), and you can throw the bags away at the end of the trip.

Presto change-o Lightweight and multifunctional, a sarong is an easy and practical addition to every traveler's don't-leave-home-without-it bag. It also comes in handy as an airplane blanket, a beach towel, or a tablecloth.

Share the load Decide ahead of time who's bringing what. If you're sharing a suite, you won't need multiple hairdryers and umpteen bottles of shampoo.

Box it up Household items like film canisters, contact lens cases, and soap dishes can be used to hold small doses of over-the-counter medications and jewelry.

Beat the system Another sneaky way to avoid extra baggage fees: Slip a small collapsible bag into a side pocket of your suitcase. If you exceed the luggage weight limit at the airport, pull out the extra bag, fill it with some heavier items from the suitcase, and check both bags.

Pack chronologically If you know you won't play tennis or take a yoga class until the last day of your trip, put those clothes at the bottom.

Plastic wrap Dry-cleaning bags can stop silky clothes from wrinkling. Slide each garment into its own bag (leave the hanger at home) and place the bags flat on your bed, one on top of another. Then fold the entire stack to fit in your suitcase. Once you get to your hotel room, hang up everything as soon as possible.

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