With budget airlines beginning to charge for carry-on bags, the need to pack light has reached critical mass. Factor in technical gear such as laptops, camera lenses and power packs, and it becomes obvious that more extreme packing strategies are in order.† A three-pronged approach generally serves me well.
Items that store flat and suit a variety of situations make my personal short list. Pack a pashmina scarf for example, and youíve also got a colorful belt, stylish head covering and a dressy wrap. For men, swim trunks styled like cargo shorts create wardrobe flexibility. Tilley makes a smart-casual pub cap suitable for both genders thatís space efficient and looks great with a variety of outfits. My recent purchase of a specialized womenís trench coat from a company called Scottevest was strategic. The $150 price point might seem steep, but the pieceís 18 pockets hold everything from my touch-screen phone and passport to my sunglasses and a small tablet device, providing valuable additional room in my under-the-seat baggage. (See also: Why We Dished out the Dough to Purchase a Kindle Fire)
Minimizing container sizes for things like toiletries and cosmetics will help tremendously. While not normally considered a travel item, miniature bottles of nail polish in the beauty aisle are extremely helpful for those who need to maintain manicures on the road. An unscented lip balm can be also be used to moisturize dry cuticles and elbows. Simply transfer a bit of product to a clean finger and treat the necessary areas. Primavera, a natural skin care company, makes individual seed oil capsules to use as a night moisturizer. Since each one is about the size of a gel vitamin, they work well when traveling to dry destinations such as Breckenridge or Kuwait City.
As with clothing, bringing flexible tools and luggage will make traveling without checked baggage a more efficient experience. Wheeled backpacks allow travelers to seamlessly combine business with pleasure. Osprey crafts a carry-on model with discreetly-stored hip support straps and a removable daypack suitable for laptop storage. Bobby pins are another critical vacation supply. Good for more than great hair styles, they can also be used as emergency zipper pulls, paper clips and to mark a spot in your guide book.
Photo Credit: Dweekly