AARP Eye Center
Are you bugged by airline restrictions, baggage claim chaos and always packing the wrong clothes? As a beauty and fashion editor traveling around the country for photo shoots, I learned to pack lean and mean from models who never haul more than a carry-on. The same basic rules apply no matter where you’re going or why. Here’s how to wing it with maximum style — and minimum stuff — for 14 days.
1. Buy a tech-smart carry-on
Totally de-stress by getting a sleeker, lighter-weight (easy to lift or drag) but super-durable four-wheel spinner. No more swerving as you race to the gate, or suitcase fall-overs while waiting in line. Look for ergonomic handles, external USB ports to charge your devices (great during delays, but the case must have removable batteries), an app-controlled GPS tracker system (if you accidentally leave your bag in the restroom), TSA approved locks and even built-in weight sensors that make overpacking impossible. FYI: If the plane is full or the aircraft is small, your carry-on bag might get checked at the gate — so add a luggage tag inside and out.
AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.
2. Turn your body into an extra suitcase
Always wear your heaviest, bulkiest, stiffest items on the plane to save space. The best travel outfit is a neutral power ensemble of a tailored blazer, long-sleeved top and slim ankle pants (or neat jeans), a trench coat, and booties or loafers. Looking classy and authoritative can help you snag a seat upgrade or a better room or table at hotels and restaurants. Add a big style-making scarf to finish. It rolls to a neck pillow, protects you from seatmates with colds and coughs, and doubles as an evening wrap.
3. Take a polished handbag that’s big enough
Make your allowed “personal item” a shoulder bag, cross-body or zip-top hobo that leaves your hands free but safely keeps valuables and essentials close. It will save you from reaching for your carry-on during the flight, too. Stash your wallet, passport, eyeglasses or contacts, sunglasses, hearing aids and extra batteries, earbuds, mobile, Kindle, tablet, meds, snacks and that 1-quart TSA-approved plastic baggie for toiletries in your handbag. Your smartphone has a flashlight, GPS and camera, so keep it with you at all times.