What is it about traveling that seems to always unleash the inner uber-organizer guru in all of us? Could it be that last trip we took, we DID tell ourselves it would indeed, be the final trip where we would not over pack.
I for one love to travel and have practically lived in airports, hotels, airplanes, tour buses now for nearly two decades. Having traveled to countless countries in my international modeling career, family vacations and worldwide rock n' roll tours, here's what I have learned:
First off, let's commence with the luggage. Trust me, this is one area you cannot skimp on. Upon graduating from University of San Diego High School, I was accepted and sent a prestigious modeling contract by Elite Model Management to Paris, Milan, Los Angeles and New York. My generous and thoughtful mother gave me a set of Tumi luggage that I literally still have, and use to this day! Those solid black, nylon lightweight four wheeled suitcases, have traveled the world endless times with me. (Hey, if those suitcases could talk, right?!)
Here is my other "go to" with regards to packing for your next fantastic voyage: Go to knockknockstuff.com and purchase several of their "Pack This!" pre-printed packing lists. They are so wonderful! They have it all spelled out for you. This list is literally the best remedy for pre-trip chaos. They've compiled an exhaustive list of all the items you could possibly need to remember to bring. You won't have to ever forget packing your cell phone charger again!
Before you go, make sure and contact your cell phone carrier and your credit card companies to let them know you'll be traveling international. Notify your phone company you'll be wanting to go on their "international plan" before you leave the country. I just learned this the hard way after returning from South America and receiving an exorbitantly high cell phone bill the following month's cycle. It also recently came to my attention, on a recent trip to Mexico, where the roaming rates are quite atrocious, that you should turn your cell phone data connection off. This means that you will be able to text but not e-mail, Facebook or tweet from your phone. It does translate to saving hundreds and hundreds of dollars.
Don't forget to download your newspapers, magazines, books, movies, TV shows prior to travel day. Downloading these things abroad can be quite difficult, AND, on plane delays (oh yes, they happen all of the time), the TV airplane monitors and headphones sometimes don't work! Make like a girl scout, and always be prepared.
I remember one summer tour with my husband's band Velvet Revolver. I had the idea to pre-assemble outfit ensembles and snapped Polaroid photos of these outfits before I left on the road, so I would not over pack while still being rock-wife ready for any look or occasion. A nice little black Vivienne Westwood dress (a.k.a. "going out to dinner look") to my "shed tour rock-Mama" outfit for the day at the Download Festival in the UK's muddy fields, surrounded by celebs and rockers, it was easy. Having those photos truly saved me a lot of aggravation and the avoidance of packing a suitcase versus a trunk for months of travel.
Still wanting to save more room? Always roll your clothes and put your heavy shoes/boots on the bottom of the suitcase to keep it from toppling over when you are pushing it through the airport. Better yet, mail the darn thing in advance: Avoid those extra baggage fees, and pulled muscles and aches, and ship it to yourself. Make sure and write clearly on the package "for arriving guest" if staying at a hotel.
Lastly, some luxe extras I never travel without: my cashmere Ralph Lauren carry-on blanket (those pre-used, thin, small and not-so-soft airplane blankies are -- let's face it -- not the best).
I love my Voluspa "Makassar Ebony & Peach" mini travel candles, and of course, a cute family photo. From my supermodel friends, I have also learned these tips: Cindy (Crawford) turned me on to her Sue London exquisite and foldable leather ballet flats. Stella (Tennant) always flies with Dramamine, for those turbulent flights, and the medicine does actually make you drowsy for an easier handle on falling asleep. Another travel tip from Cindy C.: the fewer colors you pack, the easier it will be to choose outfits on the road.
So wherever, you may be heading to this summer season, keep it simple and elegant. It's a no fail.
Follow Susan Holmes-McKagan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/suholmesmckagan