Packing Advice From A Travel Pro Who Has Never Checked A Bag

nicole banks
Nicole Banks, Gilt City Curator, knows how to spot amazing local style when she sees it. It's her job. She also has one hidden talent we recently learned of that has us intrigued. She has never, ever checked a suitcase when travelling on an airplane. This includes a 13-day trip to Peru, an 11-day trip to Europe, and another 11-day trip to Los Angeles and Maui. Don't worry, we know what bag she uses, calm down. We were so impressed by Nicole's packing prowess that we asked her to spill her secrets. Luckily for us, she obliged.
1. I take only the items I absolutely love. That way, I'll be sure to wear everything I've packed instead of pulling my hair out wondering why I packed something I never wear.
2. I hang all of my tops and layer them on top of one another, spread flat instead of folding, smallest to largest - to conserve space. You’d be shocked to see how much of my closet I can squeeze into Tumi’s removable (hanging) garment sleeve. I also stuff jewelry into my shoes to save room.
3. If it's a short trip, I splurge on a blowout. I can't take every single hair product with me, so if I'm doing a weekend trip to the New York or San Francisco offices, I get a blowout right before I go and wait until the last possible day to wash my hair.
4. Do your homework. Call the hotel or friend's house where you're staying and ask if they have a hairdryer, iron, ironing board, clothes steamers, bathrobes- -anything that's bulky that you think you "can't live without". This applies to weather and any events you might attend while out of town, too. Figure out the temperature constraints and the dress codes for everything you'll be doing.
5. Choose a central color to pack around. A neutral such as brown, black, or tan is a good place to start, then bring accessories and accent pieces that go with this color palette.
6. Bring accessories, sure, but don't go overboard. If you absolutely have to choose between accessories, take a scarf. It goes from day to night, adds interest to outfits, and can be worn tons of different ways.
7. I promise, you only need one handbag. Okay, if you're going to a black tie occasion, maybe you need a clutch or something, but you really only need one bag for day and night under normal circumstances.
8. Dresses are one item, and one outfit. Enough said.
9. Shawls, wraps, and scarves can work as blankets on the plane, as well as cover ups for all kind of attire, casual, business, or cocktail.
Tumi Alpha Frequent Traveler Zippered Expandable Carry-On, $595, available at Tumi. Calypso St. Barth Stripe Solid Linen Blend Scarf, $185, available at Calypso St. Barth.

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