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Traveling is one of life’s greatest pleasures, but the actual process of packing and getting from A-B, not so much. As a fashion director who regularly traveled to Europe for the runway collections, I became a master at packing like a pro and streamlining the space in my suitcase.  Here I share my top travel hacks, along with some tips from other fashion frequent flyers.

Sarah Meikle, Fashion Director

@sarahmeiklestyles

“I always steam my blouses, dresses in the bathroom while showering to get wrinkles out of my clothing depending on the fabric. To save space in my suitcase I pack my socks in my shoes and layer my nice dresses with dry cleaning plastic bags. I also carry a large tote, I love my Corroon Big Daddy it fits so much, and in it you will always find a Turkish towel, as they are light, roll easier and double as a bath and beach towel or a wrap for the plane.”

Sarah Rutson, Global Brand Builder

@sarahrutson

“I always pack two suitcases and take two days of outfits in my carry-on, just in case. I have always been an expert at layering and playing with proportions to reimagine different looks.  I am not a roller. I have my shirts professionally dry cleaned and lay them flat in my suitcase. I never wear makeup on a flight and I apply my Augustinus Bader The Face Oil to keep my skin hydrated throughout.

April Uchitel, Co-founder, THE BOARD

@apriluchitel

“My main travel tip came from my years working with Diane Von Furstenberg, the queen of global travel. She taught me to roll everything in order to get a lot more items into my bag. She also traveled light and wherever she went took a carry-on if possible. This trick served me well when our flight was canceled in Madrid on the way to Morocco and we had to run through subways,  airports, and fast train terminals to make it to Marrakech. I also never leave home without Lake and Style cote du Paradis fragrance oil, it’s like a vacation in a bottle and my Clare Vivier fanny pack, it’s the ultimate travel essential.”

Zach Weiss, Brand Consultant, and Writer

@ZacharyWeiss

“I always try to pack based on an itinerary whenever possible, which makes it easy to repeat basic pieces that you can build on with statement items. Otherwise, if I need to go crazy with packing and have multiple stops, I use a service called Luggage Forward to send bags ahead of me to lighten the load.”

Yolanda Edwards, Founder of Yolo Journal

@yolojournal

“In addition to whatever suitcase I’m bringing, the size depends on length of trip and time of year. I pack one large tote that has a flat bottom, and I put a bucket bag in that, as well as a clutch. Within those I put books, sketchbooks, pens, so once I get to the destination I have some accessories besides my one crossbody that I wear on the plane.”

Aya Kanai, Content & Creator Partnerships, Pinterest

@ayakanai

“My most important tip is to collect the plastic shower caps provided in hotels. I use them as shoe bags because the elastic edge makes them perfect to keep dirty shoes away from your other items.”

Peter Frank, Travel Writer

@peterjfrank

“I’m a serial over-packer, so I love my Briggs & Riley expandable roll-aboard. I can pile clothes inside, zip it up, and then it all smooshes back to overhead bin size. I try to stick to one color palette for each trip, so I don’t end up with one random pink shirt that doesn’t go with anything else. I mean, you can never go wrong with basic black. All my cords and plugs go into a zippable pouch. I cinch the cords up with these amazing Velcro ties so they stay neat and tidy. And I label them so I know I’ve got everything covered: iPad, iPhone, laptop, Fitbit, etc. OK, I’m a huge dork.”

Kristina Rutkowski, Senior Fashion Market Editor, In Style

@kristina_rutkowski

“I don’t like checking luggage, so I edit my wardrobe and mix in pieces that can be re-worn and restyled. It’s nice to bring a special item for a night out, but I gravitate towards pieces with ease and wearability. You can dress up any outfit with extra jewelry which is small and easy to pack. l also bring a silky satin drawstring purse as my one ‘fancy’ bag, since it packs flat, and dresses up a casual look. In my carry-on, I include a cashmere wrap as they feel super luxurious and keep you warm in air-conditioned environments, along with a reusable water bottle as I hate buying lots of plastic water bottles when I travel.”

Tina Chai, NYC Stylist

@tinachai.tumblr

“I always have a toiletry kit packed in my carry-on and a duplicate set of my products in my luggage. I also always keep a bathing suit, hat, and sunglasses in my carry-on since you never know if you’re going to go straight to the pool. I also always bring a slip and camisole with me in case I bought something while traveling and want to wear it right away. For the plane, I take a large cashmere blanket or scarf since I hate being cold and it’s also a useful layering piece and wear compression socks so my feet don’t look like I have elephantiasis. Even before Covid I packed wipes for the plane seat and now I bring a mini hand sanitizer spray, hand cream – the plane air is so drying – and an eye mask too for sleeping.”

Amy Synnott, Executive Editor, Elle

@amysynnott

“What I do is you put different categories of clothes in big Ziploc bags. That way it’s easy to find things without all that rummaging around in your suitcases. I usually roll my T-shirts like a towel and then put them in the Ziplock you’d be amazed how much you can fit in one bag.”

Malia Mills, Swimsuit Designer

@maliamillsnyc

“I always travel with one big tote plus carry-on.  Inside the big tote, I stash a small purse, snacks, toiletries, and shoes.  I never travel without two slip dresses, our Stevie Slip in washable silk one and a vintage one with lace. Bias cut is so damn beautiful on all shapes and sizes, it easily goes from barista to beach to dinner to dancing to bed.”

Larissa Thomson, Co-Founder ONDA Beauty

@larissa111

“My habit since my magazine days in fashion is to tightly roll my shirts, pants, dresses to save space, and, voila keeps everything mostly unwrinkled.  In my beauty bag and for the plane, you’ll find Plant Water Mist, to keep my face hydrated and De Mamiel Skin Recovery Blend, it’s like a solid oil with nourishing botanicals that’s great for the face, hands, elbows wherever.”

Sydney Finch, Communications Director Dior

@sydneyfinch1

“I do lots of quick trips during the summer all around the Med, and I love my Rimowa Cabin Luggage. I pack day on one side, evening on the other. I also stick to basics and neutrals and double one-piece swimsuits (Eres) as evening tops, take dresses that look great day and night and a slim fit sweater that can be worn with jeans or a dress. I’ve edited heels from my summer wardrobe in favor of sneakers and flat sandals (I buy new ones every summer in Positano). This summer I will be staying with my dear friend Christian Louboutin in Portugal so I did pack his Ella sandals which have a chunky heel so they can go from day to night. I stock up on favorite beauty products in travel sizes so they can be reduced to carry-on. I always pop in a good hair mask to combat beach hair. I use an oversized handbag on the plane that can also double as a beach bag.”

Uwern Jong, Editor-in-Chief OutThereMag

@uwern

“If you’re a frequent flyer, optimizing your relationship with your airline and being a top-tier loyalty cardholder will always give you more luggage space. We travel with a lot of electronics, so my advice is to take the smallest, lightest versions; laptop, tablet, camera, gimbal, or drone. Narrowing down all the chargers, leads and plugs is also a clever space saver. I travel with a compact universal, 4 USB point plug and I only ever need two types of charging leads. Clothing-wise, a lightweight roll-up down jacket for winter destinations has been a life and space saver. Planning my looks in advance and being clever with mixing and matching outfits also saves space and gives your travel wardrobe a whole new look.”

Anna Palma, NYC Photographer

@annapalma

“I love a big suitcase. That is my travel secret. It’s never about just carry on luggage for me. We just did a two-week family vacation to Iceland, so of course, I overpacked. I usually carry my camera bag, as I can’t risk losing it, so that is always my rather heavy carry-on friend.”

Robin Fredriksz, Celebrity Make-Up Artist

@fredrikszrobin

“I pack everything in Eagle Creek Bags.  I’ve had mine for years.  I sort the items per bag so everything stays separated. I unzip the bag, flip the top underneath, and put it in the draw.  When I leave I just zip it up and put it in my suitcase. I bring three empty ones for dirty laundry too, it makes unpacking at home easy too.

Natasha Silva-Jelly, Director of Editorial, Travel Curator

@natashasilvajelly

“Packing a hat can be a nightmare, hat boxes are too bulky, so invest in a folding hat, I love my Cuyana Panama.  I also always travel with a scented candle to add a nice ambiance to the hotel room and make it feel a little like home. I also never leave home without band-aids.”

Whitney and Megan Bacon-Evans, Travel Bloggers

@whatwegandidnext

“As a lesbian travel couple, one thing that really helps us maximize space is that we share a lot of clothes, makeup, and toiletries which definitely help. Though we still tend to overpack! A tip would be to try to plan your wardrobe ahead of time, packing for different occasions and including outfits that can be versatile.”

Nana Meriwether, Founder @DrinkCale

@nanameriwether

“I seldom check-in luggage, it allows me to quickly exit once I land and my bags never have the chance to get lost.  It’s a strategic undertaking though. Since most airlines allow you a carry-on and purse, I procure the biggest “purse” I can find and line it with my laptop, toiletries, books, and makeup. My favorite is JadeTribe’s Weekenders, it has ample room. Next comes the carry-on – my go-to is Tumi and my tip is to plan your outfits ahead of time. I will sometimes even take polaroids with my phone so once on the ground I do not have to think about what to wear, I simply reference my photos.”

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