21599734thbAsk any seasoned travel pro and they’ll tell you: a successful trip starts at home with smart packing!   Briggs & Riley Travelware, a leader in innovative, high-quality luggage, polled a host of well-traveled professionals from journalists to business owners to get their top tips and tricks for successful packing.

Jim Lahren, Vice President of Marketing at Briggs & Riley states, “We polled hundreds of top travelers to get their best packing secrets and tips to help consumers save time and headaches in advance of their trip.  Some of the key themes that came up repeatedly: pack ahead so you don’t rush, only take essentials, keep important items handy for easy access, and many suggested keeping key garments in the plastic bags they come in from the cleaners to eliminate wrinkles. There were also many unique and funny tips as well.”

Here are the top suggestions for anyone who wants to pack like a pro!

“Do what I call packing ahead: start a few days before your trip and as you think of things you need/want to bring either write them down or lay them out. This way you make sure you don’t forget anything in the last minute rush.”

“Never let your husband pack.  No good can come from it.”

“At least a week in advance of the trip, I start reminding my wife she takes too much clothing and packs way too much stuff. I do this with the hope that by the time I’m ready to start squeezing everything in, it won’t be too strenuous an undertaking.”

“Lay everything out that you intend to take, and then remove one-third of it.  This will eliminate ‘over-packing.'”  Another respondent suggested, “To limit what I carry, I go through my bag a second time after packing to eliminate things that I might not need.  Simple toiletries like tooth paste, mouthwash, and even white t-shirts can be purchased in small quantities after arrival at my destination.”

“I save clothes that I’m about to throw out and then I pack them when I take a trip. I wear them on the trip and then throw them out before I pack to come home. That means I now have room to pack the new stuff and any souvenirs I bought. Beware though: two people emailed me that they threw their old clothes away at very fancy, high-end hotels. And the hotels had them dry cleaned and Fed Ex’d back to them, thinking they had thrown them out by mistake!”

“Business travelers who frequent the same hotels can pack a bag or plastic storage box and leave it at the hotel until their next visit.  In the interim, the hotel will launder, press and fold clothes as necessary, and hold them for you until your return.  Slip the concierge $20 every now and then and you’ll be treated like royalty each time you visit and your property will be well protected for you.”

“I had a favorite room in a nice hotel in Chicago.  The room had a drop ceiling.  Because of this I was able to lift a tile and hide things in the room above the ceiling.  Every time I went there I stayed in the same room by booking far enough in advance to get it. I kept razor blades, shaving cream, deodorant and several other things in a small Tupperware container above the ceiling and never lost any of it.  I don’t go there very often anymore, but I suspect that my things are still there!”

“I’m on the road constantly and I try to make the road feel as much like home as possible.  I try to get hotels to give me the same room every time, of course, but I also carry a couple of pictures of my wife and a couple of pictures of my daughter in my luggage.  I also bring a small iPod player so I can listen to my music.  My desk – here in Minneapolis today – looks just like my desk at home or my desk in New York or my desk in San Francisco.”

“First rule: NEVER CHECK BAGS.  One roll-on bag that fits in the overhead should do it for any trip – even up to a month.  You can do it if you follow my second tip:”

“Pack EVERYTHING BLACK: black shoes, black undies, black clothes, black makeup bag. It never goes out of style, always looks clean, always makes you look slimmer, it’s good for every season, and it’s easy to accessorize with color.  With black, you can travel for two weeks or two months with one little carry-on bag.  You’ll look chic in NY or London or Kuala Lampur.”

“It’s not the clothes, it’s the shoes that matter!  Pack with similar colors or styles in your clothes so that you can minimize the number of shoes required for the trip as they take up more space than clothes.”

And most importantly:

“I always pack my underwear first so that I don’t forget it.”

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