Jet Set! The Summer Guide to Packing Light

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Want to ditch your checked baggage and take a walk on the lighter side? With these simple travel tips, you’ll be able to consolidate to carry-ons, and save money and time. All it takes is some planning and the willingness to leave that third pair of pumps behind.

Tip 1: Choose The Right Carry On
What good is that roller suitcase if it’s wobbling all over the place? Make sure your carry-ons are not only easy to carry, but that they’re fully functional, too. Good bets are sturdy rollers like the 19 Sidetrack by Northface or hand carried pieces like the Wagner Mens Duffle by Fossil or T. Anthony’s Weekender Duffel, which easily fit into overhead bins on both domestic and international flights (check individual airlines for baggage allowance details).
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T. Anthony Weekender, $375 at TAnthony.com

Pair one of these with a laptop-friendly messenger satchel the Tommy Work Bag by Property Of, below, is a dream and you’re (almost) ready to go.

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Property Of ‘Tommy’ work bag, $242 at Revolveclothing.com

Tip 2: Check The Weather
Before you go stuffing your bags full of linen, it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast for the length of your trip. This will eliminate some unnecessary items, and will help to lighten your load. That being said, packing layers is always smart, as even tropical climates can show volatility, and you’ll have more options to pull from, no matter what your travel plans bring. Plus, you never know when they’ll turn the hotel A/C way up. (Don’t want to be stuck in your skivvies!)

Tip 3: Pick A Color Palette

The key to packing light is to bring pieces that can be mixed and matched. A set of basics in black or neutral colors is a good place to start; then add color and personality from there.

Foundation pieces you can’t go wrong with include: skinny jeans in blue or black, light-weight cardigans and tank tops, a light to mid-weight trench, two little black dresses (one casual, one fancy), a white cotton button-down shirt, and comfortable flats. Depending on your travel climate, you can also add an additional outer layer, a pair of shorts, or another dress to the mix. And if you’re vacationing near water or within easy reach of a hotel pool, don’t forget your swimsuit!

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Jazz up a basic travel wardobe with a bright accessory like this Isabel Marant scarf, $195 at FarFetch.com

Next, select a few key items to add flair. A vibrant scarf, unique belt and sexy pair of heels can transform an outfit without sacrificing space and are even better if you can coordinate colors (blues, greens, and reds are good bets). Add some stand-out jewelry, a head scarf, and some cool shades, and you’ve got some versatile and packable options to work with.

Tip 4: Bring Clothes That Travel Well
The truth is, some clothes travel better than others. When you’re using only carry-ons, it’s important to bring things that aren’t bulky and won’t wrinkle. (Sorry, we love you sweatshirts but you’re staying at home.) Casual linens are great because they look good with a little rumple in them, as are polyester blends, jersey, and light fabrics like chiffon.

Tip 5: Double Up
Opt for items that can double in function: long skirts and shirts that can be belted as dresses, large scarves that can be used as shawls or sarongs, and spandex leggings that can be paired with heels or used for exercise are wonderful ways to make the most of your space. Some clothing pieces, like American Apparel’s Le Sac Dress, are specifically built for multi-functionality, and can be great additions as well.

Tip 6: Be Realistic
Are you really going to wear those platforms on the cobblestones of Paris? Probably not. A good way to assess what you’re packing is to pare it down to the items you wear frequently on a daily basis. While you might want to show off those killer new boots, it’s a better idea to bring the pair that is tried and true: you won’t get blisters, and they won’t fall apart. (If you do want to bring a new pair of shoes, wear them around town at home for a week or two: if they stand the test, they’ll make the cut.)

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A comfy classic worth packing. Sperry Topsiders Seasonal Bahama in Surf Seersucker, $55 at OakNYC.com

While were on shoes, some pairs that are travel friendly and easy to pack: ballet flats, docksiders, rubber flip flops (great for beaches and public showers), and heels with a platform under the ball of the foot (they add some cushion for long treks and nights on the town). If youre athletic, be sure to make room for running shoes, too.

Tip 7: Roll It Up
To save space, skip the folding. Instead, roll your clothes into tight bundles around larger items like shoes, and lay your flat accessories on top. This not only allows you to fit more into your carry-on, it also keeps your clothes relatively wrinkle-free.

Happy travels!

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