Gone are the days of loading up two “rollerboys” to take on a weekend excursion for you and your sweetie, or of dressing up as though you were embarking on a transatlantic journey on the Queen Mary. Here are our experts’ surefire packing tips to make air travel as smooth as possible for yourself and your wallet.
1. Invest in a lightweight, microfiber, rolling carry-on: You’ll be less inclined to overpack and less likely to go over the airline’s allowed weight limit.
2. Pack one pair of shoes. Make the ones you wear on-board slip-ons, like loafers. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and your fellow passengers will thank you when it comes time to remove them.
3. Decant your shampoo. No need to pack whole bottles into your checked luggage. Buy inexpensive 3-ounce plastic bottles at your drugstore, and decant at home.
4. Stay away from salty snacks. The TSA now demands that any drinks brought on board be purchased after security check-in. Stick with fruit and cheese, and beware salty chips: you’ll get dehydrated faster once aboard.
5. Pack one lightweight sweater suitable for day or night. Unless you’re visiting the Arctic, there is no reason to travel with your entire winter wardrobe. Choose carefully, and pack lightweight clothes that can be layered.
6. Stick with one color scheme. Our experts uniformly agree that packing clothes that are black or white is the wisest way to travel. Everything will always match, black can be very dressy (or not), white always looks crisp, and you can brighten up outfits with a simple, lightweight scarf.
7. Avoid checking luggage. Packed intelligently, a carry-on rolling bag can work for trips as short as a weekend or as long as a month. Another reason to go this route: airlines are all starting to charge for checked luggage.