by Anne Garber
By the way, the best way to compare baggage allowances online is via SeatGuru.com, which offers airline-by-airline up-to-the-minute information.
To save space, pack stockings and scarves in handbags.
A cocktail dress -- if you must bring one -- should be covered head to toe in tissue paper, inside and out, and the little black dress should travel everywhere.
Try to fold on the shoulders and the line of dresses to keep their shape.
Take comfortable shoes. You will not have a good time if your feet hurt. Three pairs of shoes are the maximum for most trips: one to wear and two to pack. Include good-looking and comfortable walking shoes or sandals, more dressed up shoes for dinner and social events, and sport or athletic shoes.
Two smaller bags are usually easier to manage than one larger bag. Wheels are an asset on smooth terrain, but you must still be able to carry your bag on rough streets and up steep flights of stairs.
Know the current airline luggage rules. To avoid additional fees and confusion at the airport, understand how many pieces of luggage may be checked, plus the maximum dimensions and allowable weight for each bag. Call your airline or check www.smartpacking.com for the latest information.
What to do with your undies and lingerie? Buy inexpensive mesh laundry bags; they're made of nylon and are lightweight. Stow your delicates in here. An added bonus: if your bag is inspected, no one need touch your underwear since an inspector will be able to see into the bag. Socks, by the way, should be rolled up and placed inside shoes or used to fill gaps in your bag.
Dress the jacket up with a chiffon skirt or down with a pair of khakis. Wear it sightseeing, out to dinner or on the plane. In reality, that's the only jacket needed for a trip that lasts a week or a weekend.
Packing can be a stressful process. As all your worldly belongings are crammed into one suitcase, panic sets in, you run the risk of forgetting your travel documents, and you have yet to master the art of avoiding the crumpled and creased look on arrival. For those who aspire to reach their destination relaxed and in perfect order, here is how to manage packing with perfection.
First and foremost, invest in at least 30 sheets of tissue paper (these can be re-used many times). Compile a list of what you intend to wear each day and lay all items out on the bed. Stick to this list and remember -- no last-minute additions! Select an appropriate-sized suitcase, depending on the duration and purpose of the trip, as this will help avoid over-packing. Layer the bottom of the suitcase with tissue paper. Don't bother with fancy dresses -- a simple-but-elegant, long black skirt will suffice with a plain blouse. A black wrap can be adapted to many purposes.
Sweaters should have tissue paper rolled into the arms with another layer of tissue paper placed on the outside of the sweater before folding the sweater in half.
Push tissue paper into the toes of shoes to keep their shape and wrap them individually in tissue or place in shoe bags (preventing marks from getting on clothes and high heels ripping delicate silks) and place carefully in the gaps in the suitcase. If possible, all toiletries and make-up should be packed into a separate vanity case, otherwise they must be sealed into a waterproof bag. Zippered freezer-bags are perfect for this purpose.