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Pack Light, Dress Well

Look stylish and lighten your load with these handy packing tips.

hands packing clothes into a suitcase, image
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Photo: Chutima Chaochaiya/Shutterstock
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Stick with a color theme, roll T-shirts and jeans, and take a minimum amount of accessories.

Deciding what clothes to pack for a special trip can be tricky, especially if you’re heading to a destination known for its stylish inhabitants. A little advance planning makes it easier, according to AAA Travel counselor Rose Rogan. With a bit of forethought, you can hit the road with plenty of nice outfits, all tucked into a single suitcase. Here’s how.

Go feet first “Overpacking usually starts with shoes,” Rogan says. She suggests that three pairs should be your maximum: comfortable walking shoes, one dressier option, and sandals if needed. Wear the bulkiest pair on the plane, and pack the other two in a plastic bag or shower cap to keep them from dirtying your clothes.

Color coordinate Pick a theme—black, navy, khaki—and go with it, then mix and match as your itinerary evolves. Avoid plaids and patterns, and remember that dark colors tend to look less rumpled than light ones.

Roll with it When it comes to T-shirts, underwear, and jeans, forget folding. Rolling them saves space. Then wrap more formal clothing in drycleaner bags and layer them on top of your rolled-up staples.

Repeat after her Don’t be afraid to wear something twice, says Rogan. She wears clothes on the plane— comfortable jeans, layers on top—that she can don again during her trip, either together or separately.

Accessorize smartly Stylish touches such as scarves, ties, and reversible belts can add variety without taking up much room. Jewelry can serve a similar purpose, but don’t overdo it. Bring along one striking necklace or pair of earrings that goes with many outfits.

Spray wrinkles away Pack a small, empty spray bottle that you can fill with water at your hotel. Hang your clothes and spray them lightly. “It’s a great way to get rid of wrinkles,” Rogan says.

This article was first published in May 2014. Some facts my have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.