Here's our comprehensive look at the best ways to travel: how to find a deal, avoid lines, pack, fly, tip, and more.
PART FOUR: PACKING
Pack as little as possible
Your goal is to never check bags (more on that in a minute). That means packing light--even if it means doing laundry at your destination--and cramming your belongings into as small a space as possible (those compressible mesh bags are a godsend). Most airlines charge for bags over 50 pounds, and some charge for far less, or for checking bags at all; Spirit Airlines just began charging $5 to $10 for every checked bag. If your bag is over 50 pounds and the airline allows two checked bags per person, simply pack in two smaller pieces of luggage instead.
Sure beats ironing
By now we all know to roll our clothes as a way to best utilize space and avoid wrinkles (it's better than folding). As for the clothes that won't handle rolling well: Layer them inside plastic dry-cleaning bags--friction is what causes wrinkling, and the plastic is friction-free. Hang them upon arrival.
FedEx it yourself
There are companies that will ship your luggage (or your skis or your golf gear...) so you don't have to schlep them to and from airports. Here's the thing: Most simply ship via Federal Express or a similar service. You'll save half--or even more--by going directly to FedEx.
WWMD: What would Martha do?
Rather than racking your brain to remember what you take every time you go away, create a master list on your computer of the items you always pack; then do a "save as" and customize copies for different kinds of trips (beach, city, skiing). Also make a list of the stuff you have to do at home before leaving on a trip, such as putting a hold on the newspaper and lowering the thermostat.
It's a germy world
Go out and buy a big box of antibacterial wipes in travel-size packets, and then put some in your luggage and some in the trunk of your car. (Or remember to never touch the remote control in your hotel room.)