Simplify Your Life: Pack Faster and Travel Lighter

I travel a lot. So does K. Neither of us ever checks luggage. And I, at least, never spend more than 15 minutes packing. Here are some tips to make preparing for your next trip easier and faster.

1. Choose one or two colors. Reducing your wardrobe to a single color (and one contrasting highlight color) greatly reduces the number of items you need to bring. My choice is black and white or black and gray.

2. Pack only one pair of shoes. Shoes are the most space-consuming item in your bag. If your main color is black, bring black shoes. Wear one pair on the plane – a comfortable pair that can double as gym shoes – and pack a dressier pair that (1) will look fine with a suit/dress, and (2) you can wear to walk in the city.

3. If you’re a man, you only need one jacket. A blazer or conservative sports coat is best. Wear it, don’t pack it.

4. Make your travel pack half the size it is normally. You don’t need shampoo, soap, etc. if you are staying at a decent hotel.

5. Place the heavy stuff … your extra pair of shoes and your travel pack … at the bottom of your carry-on bag. On top of that, put your pants/dresses. Shirts come next. Sweaters go on top.

6. Here’s something I don’t do but K does (and I recommend): If you are going to be away for a week or less, take the time to plan what you’ll wear each day.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]