9 Worst Packing Mistakes You're Making
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Pack Rat1 of 10
By Mariel Goodson
Whether you're heading on a road trip or jetting off to somewhere more exotic, avoid these nine common packing mistakes for a hassle-free trip.
Flat Out2 of 10
Mistake: Choosing between shoes is like choosing between children, so you always bring way too many.
The Fix: "No matter where you're going, you only need two to three pairs," says Alexandra Jimenez, editor of Travel Fashion Girl. She suggests a pair of sturdy winter boots, comfy flats for walking around and one specialty pair, like nude heels if you have a formal event or trainers if you'll be doing outdoor activities. Wear your bulkiest pair while traveling and tuck socks into shoes to save space.
SHOP NOW: Tieks by Gavrieli, $195, tieks.com
Cotton Off3 of 10
Mistake: You packed lots of cotton shirts, but "pure cotton traps odors, wrinkles like crazy and it doesn't dry quickly if you need to hand-wash it," says Jimenez.
The Fix: "Merino wool is magic for traveling," says Jimenez. "It's lightweight yet warm, it dries quickly and it doesn't trap moisture so you can wear it again." Also look for wrinkle-resistant pieces made of microfiber, rayon and polyester.
Bling Ring4 of 10
Mistake: You hide your baubles in checked baggage, but when you unpack, you notice a beloved piece is broken or—even worse—missing.
The Fix: "Airlines won't cover the cost of anything that breaks in checked baggage," says Kim Mance, host of Dream it. Book it. Do it! for Comcast on-demand. Plus, you never know who'll be rifling through your roller when you're not around. Tuck valuables in a slim jewelry roll, then slip it into your carry-on.
SHOP NOW: Clava jewelry roll/organizer, $46, ebags.com
Wrap Star5 of 10
Mistake: You're not sure how to transport all the perfectly wrapped presents for your hostess.
The Fix: Skip the gate-check drama and ship gifts in advance. Or pack gifts in along with folded gift bags that won't eat up extra space—you can put it all together after you arrive.
SHOP NOW: Cost Plus World Market mini travelers' gift bags, $4, worldmarket.com
Alter Ego6 of 10
Mistake: "It's easy to get caught up in the fantasy of a trip," says Jimenez, so you load up your luggage with Moroccan caftans or safari vests. "You'd never wear this stuff in real life, so you don't feel comfortable in any of it."
The Fix: Your closet may be full of options, but you probably only wear a handful. Identify garments that feature heavily in your rotation, then pack them into space-saving compression cubes, advises Jimenez.
SHOP NOW: Eagle Creek Compression Cube Set, $38, eaglecreek.com
Double Duty7 of 10
Mistake: For a seven-day trip, you pack seven tops, seven bottoms and a few just-in-case items to be safe.
The Fix: To keep your look fresh without hauling your whole wardrobe, rely on convertible garments that can be worn different ways, like a multi-wrap top or maxi skirt that doubles as a dress. "I bring clothing in a single color family to get the most versatility while minimizing the accessories I need to bring," says Mance.
SHOP NOW: DKNY long-sleeve cozy, $195, dkny.com
Less Is More8 of 10
Mistake: You can't leave home without all your beauty essentials.
The Fix: Leave behind toiletries like shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, body lotion and soap, which are easily provided by the hotel or your host, says Mance. Only pack must-haves like one mascara, concealer, blush and eyeliner. Stow non-liquids in a designated travel case, so you know exactly what you're bringing.
SHOP NOW: Kestrel Nidus cosmetic case, $58, anthropologie.com
Fluid Motion9 of 10
Mistake: You filled each TSA-approved bottle to the brim, but one explodes mid-flight.
The Fix: Abide by the rule of two-thirds. "Reusable bottles should never be filled completely because when cabin pressure changes, they'll leak," says Jimenez. "If you leave a little room at the top, you'll allow for some swelling. "For added protection, use a TSA-approved toiletry kit that comes in a clear quart-size case, then double-bag it with a Ziploc bag.
SHOP NOW: Travel Smart 13-Piece travel kit, $13, conair.com
Extra, Extra!10 of 10
Mistake: You didn't leave any space for extras in your suitcase. How will you lug home souvenirs?
The Fix: Plan ahead by packing a collapsible bag into your luggage. "Store a foldable duffle that you can fill with whatever you acquire on your trip," says Mance. "Check that on the way back home."
SHOP NOW: Victorinox large travel duffel, $90, lordandtaylor.com
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