By Samantha Chapnick
Airline baggage restrictions are just getting worse, and don’t look for them to get better any time soon. Smart packing for travel is now a necessity. Here are some of the ways my family manages to get clothes and gear for three into our one carry-on.
Our main baggage survival strategy is double-duty. If an item can’t serve at least two purposes, it rarely makes it into our suitcase. For clothing, this means either being able to work for day and evening or warm weather and cold weather.
— If I could wear only one item for my entire vacation, it would be
Patagonia’s stunning Morning Glory dress. Spandex and Sam don’t usually mix beyond the gym, until I met this dress. It’s just luscious! The tighter empire waist and halter neck make it sexy and formal enough for an elegant dinner, but the looser A-line skirt and forgiving fabric allow the freedom of movement for a day of sightseeing or mild sports. Then, I pair it with some black leggings (capris, thank you) for cooler nights.
— As they said in Casino Royale: "There are dinner jackets, and there are dinner jackets; this is the latter." Patagonia’s Figure 4 shell jacket (in black of course) seems like an impossibility. It’s a shell with siliconed seams that weighs next to nothing (less than 14 ounces) and still keeps the wind and water out and just enough heat inside. I get eons of compliments both when I wear it casually over a tee-shirt and at night when it becomes a key part of my "little black dress" outfit. As much as I love my Patagonia, my fashionista mother and nothing-if-not-pragmatic husband love their Eddie Bauer Adventure Ripstop Packable Jacket. She because of the color and cut, he because it weighs almost nothing and folds into its own pocket.
— When your husband is 6’4", one pair of shorts, or pants, can easily take up the length of a carry-on suitcase. To hog some more room for my stuff, I got him REI’s Sahara Convertible pant. During the day or for casual nights, he wears the just-above-the-knee shorts. But when the weather is iffy or we need to look a little more respectable, he zips onthe bottoms and they’re a slightly upscale cargo pant. They’re light, don’t wrinkle and block UV rays. As a nice bonus, REI makes a petite women’s size that fit this 5"1′ woman just right. Royal Robbins makes a similar pair with a slighter lighter fabric, alas no petite version.
— I don’t need to say how great Crocs are for kids. And I love that cute logo as much as anyone. However, I shudder when I see those things on anyone too old to dread bedtime. A smart designer took what’s best about them, the ultra-light "croslite" material, and sculpted them into more mature styles. The result are two pairs — one of which I take everywhere, that take up almost no space or weight in my suitcase. For day into night, it’s the wedge sassari. For a slightly sexier evening, it’s the
— Tees for Change make the ideal green summer travel garment. Emblazoned with uplifting slogans in bright colors, they are conversation starters (mine says "Choose Happiness", help the environment (made frompesticide-free bamboo, they are 100% biodegradable), wash easily, don’t wrinkle and dry quickly.
If an item can only do one thing, it better do it really well and be as light as possible. Most of our electronics fit into this category. We’ve whittled down to the ones that are the best in their class with lightness being a key success factor.
— Rand McNally’s fabMAPs are one of those "Duh" products that are so smart you’ll wonder why you didn’t invent it, or at least I did. Not only do these handkerchief sized microfiber maps do double duty: I use them to clean our sunglasses, iPhone and computer screens, but they overcome a weakness inherent in paper maps: neither water nor folding can damage them. After three months, our South Beach and Midtown Manhattan maps are still in pristine condition. Popular pedestrian areas of major cities are available along with some museums, shops, hotels and bars.
Tagged: Family time