1. Be a Carry On Rock Star - Packing Tips from the Pro's
  • Travel: Carry On

    Plan Your Carry On Strategy

    Mega milers share packing tips. Yes, "sit on the suitcase" is one of them.

    Sources: Elizabeth Gianini, vice president of government relations for the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute. Caroline Dyal, general manager of the Canary Santa Barbara Hotel. Let's face it: Packing for a trip is often the least fun part of traveling, especially as we all try to avoid the extra fees most airlines charge for checking a bag. We turned to two travel pros for practical advice on fitting it all in the overhead. Elizabeth Gianini logs 90,000 to 100,000 miles per year in airline travel as the vice president of government relations for the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute. Caroline Dyal has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years, currently as general manager of the Canary Santa Barbara Hotel. Both believe in planning ahead to lighten the load and make use of all your resources, including your hotel.


    • Invest in a Hard-Sided Suitcase

      "My favorite bag is my hard-sided four-wheel-drive suitcase. I can pack for 10 days in that thing. The four wheels make it easier to push, rather than pull, and the hard sides allow you to stuff as much as you can in there and still have it fit in the overhead. The best part is that if you overstuff it, you can always sit on it to get it closed," Gianini says.


    • If You Have a Soft-Sided Bag

      Keep items such as a flatiron, brush and shoes packed in the inside, not in the outside pockets. "If you have bulky items in the outside pockets of your suitcase, your bag will never fit properly in the overhead, no matter how hard you try," Gianini says.


    • Plan Your Wardrobe by Day

      Listing it out will keep you from over-packing, Dyal says. "Pack lightweight items and if you are going somewhere cold, carry your jacket with you and use it as a blanket on the plane."


    • Color-Code Your Wardrobe

      "I pack in color-coded outfits, take two pairs of shoes that go with every outfit, and make sure that everything can be mixed and matched. For example, my black sweater set goes well with my tweed skirt, cream pants, and another suit," Gianini says.


    • Use Your Resources

      When staying at a hotel, call ahead or email the front desk with your needs, Dyal says. For instance, if you need your suit or dress steamed for a meeting shortly after your arrival, let the hotel know. "As long as we know your needs in advance, we can meet your expectations."


    • Don't Fold It. Roll It.

      "It even works on business suits," Dyal says. "Place them flat in a plastic dry cleaners bag with no hanger and roll them up. Or, after placing them in the bag, fold the suit like you would a business letter and pack it on the top of your clothes in the suitcase. Place all rolled items at the bottom of your suitcase and then the tri-folded suits on top. Once you get to the destination, simply air out the suits or steam them while you are in the shower."


    • Basics at the Bottom

      Pack your basics at the bottom of the suitcase and then place accessories on top of them.

      "Pack your accessories in ziplock bags, then you can squish the air out of the bags, seal them and place them in gaps between clothing throughout your suitcase," Dyal says. "Another good place for these bagged accessories in is your running shoes."


    • Ship It

      "You can always ship something to the destination by priority mail to the hotel in which you are staying and they will have it for you at the front desk when you check in," Dyal says.


    • Sources:

      Elizabeth Gianini, vice president of government relations for the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute.

      Caroline Dyal, general manager of the Canary Santa Barbara Hotel.