Ever wondered just how much a flight attendant can cram into those carry-on bags? Plenty. Though many see packing as the least favorite part of the vacation prep, it is a necessary to learn how to do it well. Flight attendants are away from home for up to five nights a week. Here are a few tips I’ve learnt in my travels that will change packing for your next vacation from a mundane chore into an exact science.
Consider your itinerary
How will you be spending your time? Do you plan on being clad in a sarong or flip- flops? Will you be going to the movies or fine dining? Knowing what you’re doing will make planning what to wear easier.
As if you needed an excuse right? Find a key garment or color scheme that will tie the entire wardrobe together. Look for pieces that can transform from daytime wear to eveningwear with an accessory change. Choose lightweight or wrinkle free garments so you don’t have to spend your time ironing. If you plan to spend up to a week the packing plan calls for one shirt per day, one bottom every two days, an underwear every day and a jacket or a sweater.
Choose a Travel Outfit
Look at the clothes you’ve set aside to carry and choose the clothes you plan to wear on the plane from the lot. There will be less to pack. Try to include a lightweight sweater, as the temperature is very cool on the aircraft. Pilots keep it cold in case the aircraft encounters turbulence; the likelihood of airsickness is mitigated.
One item: Three purposes
Try to have every item serve a few different purposes. How many outfits can work with a trench coat? A shirt or blouse should work well with pants and a skirt. Some women like the idea of separates, but a dress is complete outfit.
The Shoe Dilemma
Deciding what shoes to wear is a difficult decision for many women. Here’s the plan (you must do this to retain sanity): pack three shoes. That’s all you need. If you have been following the plan thus far you would have a dress, a shirt that goes with a pants and a skirt. Every outfit does not need a matching shoe. If you don’t plan on taking a walking site-seeing tour or even working out, then why bring sneakers? All you need are nude color heels, stylish black flats and flip flops to wear in your hotel room. You don’t want to know what’s been on those carpets.
Reserve a travel kit for toiletries. Flight attendants double up on their favorite items, they have one for the home and one for the road. The travel kit should have a permanent place in the suitcase. Follow the TSA 3-1-1 rule (http://www.tsa.gov/311/index.shtm). As you did with your clothes, take travel toiletries are multi-purpose. Why carry and hand, body and face lotions when an all -purpose moisturizer will do? Substitute washing your clothes with shampoo instead of bringing detergent.
Now before you go…
Keep important items in your carry-on. These are include medication, diapers, passport, laptops and small expensive electronics (airlines do not cover loss or damage of electronics and jewelry). Also be sure to pack an extra set of clothes in case your luggage is delayed.