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Travel Tips

By Patty Rai Smith, Ed.D., Extension Home Based Business Program Specialist

From warm, sunny beaches to a convention meeting in a city you've never visited, travel can be exciting. Unfortunately, it also can be frustrating if your preparation is haphazard and you don't have well-laid plans.

Whether you travel often or occasionally, for business or pleasure, or by car, plane, or bus, you can make all of your experiences more enjoyable just by thinking ahead. By doing so, you'll be on the road to a successful trip.

Your travel wardrobe, for example, should be a primary concern at home but not on the road. Included in this publication are practical tips on topics such as luggage selection, what and how much to pack, and what accessories make caring for yourself and your clothes easier.

Selecting the Right Luggage

The Standard Pieces

What to Look for

Other Considerations

What to Take

Carefully review your plans. Think about what you will be doing and what you will need to wear. How many changes of clothing will you need? Will you be traveling with a group or alone? Will you be able to do laundry?

Learn to travel light. Make a two-toned plan: select two colors for your foundation wardrobe and don't take anything that won't work with them. Solid colors are always more flexible than patterns. Use small accessories to add pattern variety.

Simple clothes are more versatile. The more detailed a piece of clothing, the more difficult it is to add accessories or change its look.

Don't skimp on accessories. Experiment ahead of time with color and style compatibility. Also, learn to use accessories creatively. A scarf, for example, can do many things besides tie in a knot at the neckline.

Carry a handbag that works well with everything. Pack a small flat clutch for evening wear.

Consider fabrics when selecting your travel wardrobe. Garments that are "Dry Clean Only" may not be a good choice for your long-term travel needs. Knit fabrics in cotton and wool can be hand washed in cold water and often don't need ironing. They also can be rolled for easy packing. Good synthetic and natural blends, such as polyester and cotton, travel well. Wool, flannel, tweed, and gabardine also travel well. UltrasuedeTM is super for being lightweight and wrinkle resistant.

An all-weather coat in a neutral color with a zip-out lining is good to have for year-round travel. It will be easier to wear than to pack.

Remember to take along a folding umbrella.


The following are sample wardrobes for a two- to three-week trip.*

Wardrobe for Women

1 suit (either skirt and jacket or pantsuit for travel)
1 coat (for day and evening)
1 two- or three-piece knit outfit
2 daytime outfits
2 interchangeable tops
1 long skirt (for evenings; optional)
1 pair of jeans or casual slacks
3 pairs of shoes (including one pair of comfortable walking shoes)
2 sweaters in basic colors (or one sweater and a light- weight jacket for daytime wear)
2 scarves (one of which is a headscarf)
1 folding umbrella (or pocket raincoat)
4 to 5 pairs of pantyhose
3 sets of quick-drying underwear
1 pair of pajamas (or a nightgown)
2 handbags
1 travel robe

Wardrobe for Men

1 suit (a dark color works better for evening wear)
1 all-weather coat (preferably a raincoat with a zip-out lining)
1 sport coat (a blazer works in a variety of situations)
2 pairs of slacks
1 pair of jeans or casual slacks
2 belts
5 shirts (drip-dry is recommended)
2 pairs of shoes
4 sets of undershirts and shorts
3 ties
5 pairs of socks
1 sweater (either a cardigan or pullover in a basic color)
1 pair of pajamas (drip-dry)
1 travel robe
shaving kit (electrical aids as needed)
cuff links, tie clasp, and collar stays (if worn)

*These wardrobe checklists were adapted from TWA's guidelines.

Travel Accessories

Packing for Your Trip

  1. Make a list of what you will need before you begin to pack. Take the list with you so you'll have an inventory in case your luggage is lost.
  2. Do not pack valuables or medications. Take these with you in your purse or in a carry-on bag.
  3. Pack heavy items in the bottom hinged end of your suitcase.
  4. Shoes should be encased individually so they don't soil clothing. Plastic bags or old socks work well, or you can make your own reusable cloth bags. The space inside shoes is a good place to pack hosiery, belts, and underwear.
  5. Keep wrinkles to a minimum by using tissue paper or dry cleaner's plastic bags between folds. You can even leave the garment on the hanger inside the plastic bag. Sleeves can be stuffed with tissue. When you pack around these fillers, they create air pockets among your clothes, which keeps them from wrinkling.
  6. Use the interfolding technique to avoid sharp creases that result when you fold each piece separately. For example, to pack pants, leave the legs hanging over the side of the suitcase. Place other clothes on top, then fold over on top when the suitcase is full. You can do the same with dresses.
  7. Further organize your packing by separating underwear, scarves, and other small items into plastic bags.
  8. When packing in a garment bag, enclose hanging clothes in plastic bags, and place encased shoes in the bottom of the bag if there are no separate pockets.
  9. When packing in soft-sided luggage you can roll knit and casual clothing around tissue or plastic. Place rolled pieces side by side over heavier items like shoes. Delicate or tailored pieces should go on top with as few folds as possible. Cover everything with a layer of plastic.
  10. Unpack as soon as possible after arrival. Hang any wrinkled items in the bathroom and run a hot shower with the door closed. Ten to 15 minutes should do the job.

Before You Leave Home

Enjoy Your Trip!

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