A list can help you take note of if you’re over- or under-packing, Beldie says, adding that, “Proper packing requires time.”
“I recommend adding items to your suitcase about a week in advance – not earlier than that, as it’s important to check weather conditions at the destination, which will be more accurate closer to the trip,” she says.
If a handwritten list isn’t your speed, let your items be your visual list. “Lay everything out and start editing,” McAlpin says. “Hang outfits together so you don’t forget anything.” She says to start two weeks before and try everything on. “Part of the stress of packing is deciding what to take and what fits,” she says.
4. Find your own formula
McAlpin says she’s been recommending her packing ratio – three to one, with three tops for every bottom – for more than 25 years. Most trips work with nine tops and three bottoms, especially in basic colours that mix and match. She also says not to exceed three pairs of shoes: running or exercise shoes, walking shoes, and a pair of sandals or flip-flops.
On the other hand, Beldie is about the twos. For each day of the trip, she says to think of two tops, two shorts, two T-shirts, two pairs of trousers, and two undergarments. “For a business trip, packing two shirts per day is a good idea – one for meetings during the day, the other for dinner and night events,” she says.
For organising guru Marie Kondo, it’s less about numbers and more about categories. “I recommend that you lay everything out first and categorise by type of item to give you a comprehensive look at how many items you have for each category,” she says. “Then fold everything into its smallest possible size. At that point, before filling the suitcase, pare down and be honest with yourself about what you really need for the trip.”
The most important aspect of the packing tips equation is simplicity: “What do you really need to have a joy-sparking trip? If your trip is for leisure, this is the opportunity to free yourself from everyday decision-making and perhaps experience a simpler lifestyle. So the fewer clothing options to choose from, the more you can focus on the joyful experience ahead,” she says. But there is one number she says to follow, “Leave 10 or 20 per cent space so you can buy souvenirs and pack them for your return trip!”
5. Consider clothing material and colours
Eva Air senior assistant purser Jennifer Liao says to select the most packable clothing, so you’re not constantly thinking about ironing. “Most flight attendants travel with clothes made from wrinkle-free fabrics such as synthetics, wool, denim, and knit – we don’t pack linen because it wrinkles so easily,” she says. Hues can also make a big difference. “The colours we pack are important. The darker the colour, the fewer visible wrinkles,” Liao adds.