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by Sid Kirchheimer, AARP Bulletin, Last updated June 17, 2008
With most airlines now charging to check a second piece of luggage—and some charging for the first—smart packing of carry-on luggage can be a real money saver. But that doesn’t necessarily mean packing more; it’s packing better, says Susan Foster, author of Smart Packing for Today’s Traveler (www.smartpacking.com). Her advice:
• Shoes take the most luggage room, so fewer is better. Even for long trips, men can usually get by with packing one pair (and wearing another); women should pack only two, not counting flip-flops. Put rolled socks and underwear inside shoes.
• A merino wool sweater packs smaller than a sweatshirt; microfiber slacks pack smaller than jeans. Fabrics that are blends—cotton mixed with polyester or high-tech synthetics such as polyester microfiber—are more wrinkle-proof. “Wicking” fabrics can be washed in the hotel bathroom sink and dry overnight.
• When packing, “roll” knits and casual clothing and stack; dress shirts and woven fabrics should be packed flat, then layered with dry-cleaning bags or tissue paper between them.
• Avoid wasting space (and Transportation Security Administration hassles) by buying toiletries at your destination. To avoid the three-ounce limit, opt for nonliquid items—stick deodorant, powder makeup, packets (not bottles) of shampoo.
Airline charges for checked luggage continue to change, so call your airline or visit its website prior to departure.
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