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We travel a lot.  In fact, we’re in San Francisco now and have already left the sunny shores of Connecticut and the piney woods of Minnesota.  Because we’re on the go so much, I’ve gotten very cute (Irish slang for “smart”) about how and what to pack.  Friends have often said they “don’t know how I do it”, so, for the record, this is how.

The Luggage:

For starters, I usually take a large suitcase, a roller bag, and a carry-on tote for trips lasting more than a week (the children get one large suitcase shared between them and either a roller bag or backpack each for their personal items).  For shorter trips or weekends away, I can get by without the large suitcase.

The Clothes:

When it comes to clothes, I nearly always pack 1 pair of dressy jeans, 1 pair of black trousers, an easy-care dress that doesn’t wrinkle, 1 white shirt, 1 dressy tank top, 1 white t-shirt (long-sleeved in the winter and short-sleeved in the summer) and 1 black t-shirt, 1 long-sleeved jumper (Irish for “sweater”), 1 work-out outfit,  a nightgown for bedtime, underwear, sports socks, 1 pair of black kitten heels, 1 pair of leather runners (Irish for “tennis shoes” but in this case I actually mean something like a pair of “Keds”), a gold belt, a reversible black/brown belt, a pashmina, a small umbrella and a crushable hat (for either sun or rain protection). With these few items, I have seven complete outfits, clothes for exercising, and something to wear to bed.  The pashmina and the long-sleeved jumper change the look of my day and night outfits.

The Technique:

My packing technique is simple.  I put tissue paper between each folded item and place groups of things together inside a clear plastic garment bag (like you get from the dry cleaner) to prevent the clothes from wrinkling.

Resealable plastic bags are an absolute necessity.  The cords for all my electronics (mobile phone, laptop, camera, video camera) are packed in them, as is my makeup and toiletries.  Speaking of makeup and toiletries, because I don’t usually like hotel soaps, shampoos and conditioners, I always ask for or buy travel size bottles of the products I like and keep them especially for trips. Aveda has great travel-size products which smell wonderful. And, for my Irish friends, if you’re visiting America check out Target or the local chemist and you’ll usually a good selection of travel-size products to stock up on for future holidays.

The Accessories:

Other items that typically make it into my bags include a dual voltage hair dryer (unless I know the hotel or hostess we are visiting has one we may use), curling iron, pocket-size hair brush, sun glasses, jewelry (leaving the big or really good pieces at home), small purse in black or brown for day and nighttime use, and a small zippered bag for any unexpected purchases.

Surprisingly, everything mentioned fits neatly, albeit tightly, into my roller bag and carry-on tote and leaves me with just enough room for a magazine or book and a bottle of water (an absolute must for long haul flights).  And, one last packing tip, buy a carry-on tote that slips over the handle of your roller bag – your shoulders will thank you.  Bon voyage!

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