Proper packing can make or break a trip sometimes, so having the essentials can keep your vacation from becoming a scavenger hunt for items you left behind. Packing tips can help you have a much more enjoyable journey.

Gone are the days of traveling reminiscent of when Eloise of The Plaza journeyed to Paris on an airplane with 37 pieces of luggage including steamer trunks of various shapes and sizes. We can only imagine what it must have been like to have a single piece to only house our hats or fedoras. Times have moved forward, airline fees are in place and one cannot “take the kitchen sink!” So what is today’s traveler to do?

We have all heard of the most basic packing tips – make a list, roll your clothes, pack interchangeable clothes, but how about those packers that are a bit needy when it comes to “stuff.” How can one reset the mindset to only take what is truly needed? Possibly a tip my mother always told me when it became time to pack will help.

My mother is an international traveler, who has always said:

Don’t take anything with you that you would not sit in the middle of a road in a foreign country, then turn and walk away. 

Makes one think about what you truly need, doesn’t it?

Here are a few of my personal tips for specific types of heavy packers. Do you see yourself anywhere? If so, try a tip or two and it may change your life or at least your trip.


Toiletry Lovers

We all want more room in our luggage for our return flight to bring back souvenirs or take-aways. You can get more space and less weight by both not taking so many with you or bringing a ton of empty containers back home. I can be as snoody as the best of them when it comes to what I put on my skin, but most hotels have upped the bar on the quality of in-room amenities including their soaps and shampoos. Either take your own from home and leave the empty containers in the recycle container in your room and/or just use what is in the room provided by the hotel or resort. Also, if you opt for a luxury hotel like The Ritz-Carlton, you can leave many items at home. Most of their rooms contain razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and more. This is what I call “Smart Luxury!”

Many companies have products meant for just one use. My newest love is G.M. Collin’s little capsules that can even go in your carry-on and replace multiple products — eye cream, facial lotion, etc. and then the little single capsules can just be thrown away. They take up hardly any space on the way to your destinations, and absolutely none on the way back.

Gnomad Toiletry Tip: If the concierge does not have a forgotten item, check the gym or spa locker room. It can sometimes contain a cornucopia of items — razors, deodorant, shower caps, ponytail holders, mouthwash, Q-tips, etc.

Shoe Queens

We can all have a little Imelda Marcos in us when it comes to shoes, but when it comes to packing, you should never include a “color shoe” — stick to neutrals, such as black or tan. Think comfortable, not necessarily cute.

Always wear your heaviest footwear unless they include buckles or metal. (I learned that the hard way even in the global entry line.) Pack the bottoms of the shoes against the sides of your luggage and they will not touch your clothes.

Gnomad Shoe Tip: Comfortable shoes can make your entire trip so much more pleasant. I always take a variety of shoe inserts.  Recently, inserts made by foot petals worked best when I was on my feet for extended periods at Disneyland. Try the sock-free variety of shoe inserts that can be especially handy when you run out of clean socks toward the end of your journey.


Carry-On Pack Mules

With carry-on rules usually stating one carry-on and one personal item at no additional charge … one needs a plan. A good one! First, I always check one bag for free by using an airline branded credit card. I can usually pack the most in a Delsey Helium spinner trolley, basically due to the fact that is only weighs around 6 pounds. Also it has a zipper that stretches. Just this past weekend it performed a miracle by closing!

Now you can get serious with your carry-on items. I use my carry-on item as part briefcase and part luggage. Lots of zippered pockets are a must and the one that works best for me is Baggallini’s Weekender bag. It is deep enough to hold almost anything you desire — even a Travelocity Gnome! Add a PurseN purse organizer to hold everything else in place. Baggallini’s Plaza Mini purse with a crossover strap has a place for necessaries such as tickets, cell phone, credit cards and that useful Global Entry Card. Together they hold so much that I have no need for anything else.

Always choose luggage that is durable. Tumi has been named by many as the most durable around. I have a CrossBody that has been replaced twice due to wear and tear. The purse has been around the world with me for years, but it finally gave way — Tumi still replaced it for free with the new model.

Gnomad Carry-On Tip: Heading to a sunny climate? Place those sunglasses on your head to reduce the risk of breakage discovery upon arrival. When my family travels, we always have our favs — Costa and Under Armour shades perched on top of your heads … super handy to protect our eyes at a moment’s notice!

What are your favorite packing tips and tricks? Share them with us and help your fellow travelers wander a bit more wisely!

Ava Roxanne Stritt is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Travelocity Gnomads visit

This article was authored by me and previously published on Travelocity – 

“Why look like a tourist when you can travel like a pro? We’ve partnered with vacation expert Ava Roxanne Stritt from the blog Spa Travel Gal as she offers tips on traveling like a pro!”