Envision yourself dining at Le Cinq at the George V on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, visiting The Victoria & Albert Museum in London, or lounging on the deck of a luxury yacht cruising through the Greek Islands. Your next thought is… what are you wearing. To help you avoid the inevitable panic and anxiety you feel at that moment, we turned to travel writer, Priscilla Pilon who pens The Weekend in Paris, on how she manages to look her best while traveling by organizing her suitcase.
The Organized Suitcase
Every trip requires different packing essentials. These basic tips can apply to your trip to Paris or to Africa. “Coordination, is the keyword, ” says Priscilla. “While packing, think of every item as a potential mix and match with everything else in your suitcase. If you’ll be away for 2 weeks, pack light and have the hotel laundry refresh your wardrobe.”
Start with a plan and write down each daily activity, even if it’s a free day to wander the streets. It helps you focus realistically on what types of clothes you need – casual versus business and/or more formal attire. Assign an outfit to the day, or two if changing venues and activities.
Pick a color scheme…Start with one or two colors as the base and build upon it. Black for winter and khaki for summer make good foundation colors for traveling. Add contrast and brightness to your outfits via a jacket, sweater, scarf, or jewelry.
Start with foundation pieces…Choose one or two of your favorite stylish skirts and pants and pair them with white t-shirts or blouses as your base. Layer for warmth or to add color and texture to your outfit. Accessories provide freshness and pops of color.
Bring one daytime handbag…Carry on a large daytime tote and pack a clutch for evening. Tip: Make sure the carry-on is roomy enough for your laptop/iPad, chargers, spare change of clothes (in case of an unplanned layover), and petite toiletries in a gallon-size plastic kitchen storage bag. Make sure the tote fits comfortably under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin.
Limit pairs of shoes and boots…Wear comfortable shoes for the day of travel and limit the rest to your absolute favorites. For winter: one pair of black pumps, black boots, and one pair of evening heels with sparkle or color. For summer: 2 pairs of daytime sandals, one pair of pumps, and sparkly or colorful open-toe heels for night. Sneakers are optional.
Do NOT fill your suitcase! Always leave room for souvenirs. Resist the temptation to add “just in case” items. If you forget a critical piece of clothing use it as an opportunity to purchase something unique from your travels.
Pills: Use pill organizer containers. Make sure you have copies of your doctor’s prescription orders in case you have to fill your prescriptions or in the unforeseen event of a hospital emergency.
Documents: Make a photocopy of your driver’s license, passport, medical insurance, travel insurance and put it in your carry-on. Keep your passport, driver’s license, medical and insurance cards, on your person at all times. (Never, ever leave them in your hotel room.)
Traveling for Sport or Special Events: Use a separate suitcase for ski trips, diving adventures, black tie events. Packing specialty clothes and equipment separately eliminates the need to rifle through regular attire and keeps activities well-organized.
Jewelry: Make a photocopy of your proof of ownership such as a sales receipt or evaluation. Expensive items may be confiscated if Customs thinks you bought them in the country you visited.
Electronics Charges: Keep them in small plastic baggies.