Travel Like a Pro: Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Luggage and Packing
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Travel Like a Pro: Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Luggage and Packing

Heed these packing tips and travel confidently.

Traveling can be stressful but also simultaneously exciting. Packing, on the other hand, is mostly just stressful. You need to pack enough without bringing too much, have the right size toiletries, consider inclement weather, and ultimately, make sure your suitcase isn’t so cumbersome that you can’t get it from one place to another on your own.

We talked to Barbara Reich, a New York City–based professional organizer at Resourceful Consultants, who knows all too well the headaches of packing. Here, she shares expert tips on luggage selection, paring down, and what to bring along for pain-free travel.


Three is the magic number of pieces, according to Reich. “You should have one large piece of luggage, a carry-on roller, and a collapsible piece,” she says. “For luggage on wheels, spinners are great.”

“There are also trackers you can buy to put on or in your luggage,” says Reich. “It will never get lost again!”

As far as storage, there aren’t many rules. “Put luggage under the bed, at the top of your closet, in basement storage lockers—wherever you can find room!” says Reich. “Fold the collapsible duffle, and store it inside another piece to save space.”

Packing Tips

Separate your clothing: “For airline travel, employ ‘the rule of fractions,’” says Reich. “If there are four people in your family, pack a fourth of each person’s clothing in each piece of luggage. If your luggage is lost or stolen, everyone will have enough to wear until it’s found.”

Simplify your shoe situation: Reich says: “If you can, plan your wardrobe around three pairs of shoes: one pair of sneakers, and one pair of shoes for daytime and another pair for all your nighttime outfits.” Store rarely used items separately: “If you have clothes that are specific to a type of vacation, such as a skiing trip, separate it at home. By keeping the gear separate, in one spot, you’ll stay organized (making repacking easier) and save on drawer space.

Remember laundry: “Consider traveling with pop-up laundry hampers for your whites and colors; your hotel room will look much neater,” she says. “At the end of the vacation, pack the dirty laundry into separate bags and fold up the hampers. It will be ready to wash when you get home!”

Keep valuables and medications with you: “Carry prescription medicines, cameras, laptops, and any expensive jewelry on board with you,” Reich says.