15 responses to “Packing Tips from the Pros: Double-Duty Travel Duds”

  1. ruth pennebaker

    What a great and helpful post, Melanie. I also pride myself on packing as little as possible. My idea of perfect packing is to return having worn everything in my suitcase. Your yoga pants idea is perfect — and I'd never heard of Keens before, so thanks for letting us know.

  2. Melanie Haiken

    That's so funny, Ruth, that's my test too! If I come home with a bunch of clean clothes wadded up in the bottom of my pack I feel like I failed somehow. I've even been known to quietly leave items behind in hotel drawers if their poor performance on a trip tells me they're not for me. Once I was chased down the hall by a room cleaner in Siena who was waving a pair of boots I'd left. I had to try to communicate in broken Italian that they'd given me a blister and hence had been cut from the roster.

  3. Christine Schneider

    thanks for this post, Melanie! I am now packing for my 4 week trip to Spain, and so this will come in handy. In addition, I always carry two black skirts: a short, straight wrap around one, for hot days and a longer silk one (mine is from Eileen Fisher) that is more formal. They both pack very small, and don't wrinkle!

  4. melanie

    I've got a three pair of Keens. One hiking sandal that I'll still wear wit the occasional long hippie skirt and two more versatile. I LOVE my Keens!

  5. Melanie Haiken

    Great suggestion, Christine; in the past I haven't been much of a skirt girl because I HATE nylons with a passion, but now that leggings are back in maybe it's time to rethink? And wow, four weeks in Spain, you lucky duck!

  6. MyKidsEatSquid

    I love my yoga pants but they certainly don't sound as nice as yours. Maybe it's worth paying more for yoga pants that can do double duty.

  7. Jennifer Margulis

    Very cool suggestions! I need some new yoga pants. I think MyKidsEatSquid is right that something this versatile is worth the extra dough.

  8. Melanie Haiken

    You know, honestly, Jennifer, they really are worth the price, even though normally I'm the world's biggest cheapskate. (I'm typically a Ross girl.) They are completely different from all the other yoga pants I've ever had, even Danskins, which would be my runner-up. They're much thicker, for one thing, and the stretch holds its shape and bounces back, so they don't do that bag-at-the-knees thing, which I hate, even after a sweaty class. I used to hesitate to stop and run even a quick errand after yoga class and now I run all over town.

  9. Alisa Bowman

    These are great! I'm going on a trip next week and can use all the packing help I can get!

  10. kris bordessa

    Great ideas. That sarong can also double (triple?) as a table covering/picnic blanket in a pinch!

  11. sarah henry

    Since you've traveled with me you know that I so need this advice — my bag always looks embarrassingly overstuffed, like the zipper might bust. I'm getting better, practice helps (and you get plenty of practice packing for trips, she notes enviously;)

  12. Gary Turner

    Are you on Facebook?

  13. ella

    Oh another thing too! Buy as much as you can at your destination. Especially if that destination is cheaper (canadians in the USA for example or a trip to China)

    Hotels also have lots of stuff they’ll lend you if you “lost” or “forgot” yours (including power converters, hair dryers, irons) but it helps to call ahead just to be on the safe side.

    And for hardcore travelers (like myself) I recommend investing in a tablet and NEVER lugging a laptop. Don’t carry your phone either. You can get free text and calling apps for tablets or ipods that work over wifi. This cuts down on roaming costs as well as giving you more space in your carry on.

  14. ella

    I don’t think this posted properly so i’m posting again. You can delete this if it comes up as a duplicate post.

    Yoga pants are THE go-to for me as well. I’m also a fan of long skirts which are great for wandering around hot urban cities but can also be dressed up when it’s dinner time. I also have a pair of crocs that look like adorable mary janes but are grippy, comfy and WATERPROOF. So they can go to a desert trail and then to dinner. They can also double as shower shoes for creepy youth hostel shower floors. They really are the miracle shoe. They just don’t provide a lot of cushion so you might want to consider insoles if you get foot pain when you travel.

    Also.. and this is something i had to learn over time… keep your clothes simple. I really liked the part about turning the sarong into a scarf because this is how you can dress up daytime wear to make it suitable for evening. I usually carry one dress. (dresses aren’t efficient when traveling) and wear it as a long tunic over pants during the day, then alone at night. Those damn mary janes and a piece of jewelry make it look like a completely different piece and ZERO additional packing required.

    And finally, if you’re temperature sensitive like i am, layers are the way to go. Bulky clothing just takes up space. And convertible clothes with zipped-in shells or removable sleeves are a total godsend.

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