After some recent trips hopping on a plane everywhere from Paris and Rome to London and New York, I’ve put my packing skills to the test. Some of my suitcases have been major fails—like when I headed across over to Europe with far too few outfits I could wear for a winter holiday. But equally bad was a vacation later in the year when I overpacked and ended up with luggage full of wrinkled clothes.
So, if you’re heading on a holiday and want to employ only the most astute packing habits, which rules should you follow? Well, through some personal trial and error, I’ve discovered some holiday packing mistakes I’ll never make again, as well as some guidelines I’ll always follow. Ahead, I’m breaking down my travel packing rules and mistakes I avoid, as well as my packing list for holiday travel with the pieces that always land in my suitcase.
DON'T SKIP A CHECKED BAG
Over the holidays, you’re packing bulky winter clothes, so a checked bag is key. But make sure to bring a carry-on as well for your essentials.
DON'T PACK VALUABLES IN A CHECKED BAG
I’ve had several friends who have had designer bags and electronics stolen from checked luggage, so now I always make sure that I pack valuable items in my carry-on bag.
Don’t Go Overboard on Beauty Products
Beauty products are heavy and take up room in your bag, so keep it to the essentials. This three-step kit contains three SK-II bestsellers, including Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, the iconic Facial Treatment Essence, and R.N.A.POWER Cream, so you have all the essentials in one set.
DON'T SKIP ESSENTIALS IN A CARRY-ON
Other pieces that always go in my carry-on bag? An extra set of clothes and toiletry necessities in case anything happens to my checked luggage.
DON'T PACK A SMALL PERSONAL BAG
With carry-on bag sizes shrinking on airlines, it's often difficult to fit everything you need inside. My solution is to bring a personal bag that’s big enough to fit some extra pieces in.
DON'T PACK COSMETICS UNLESS THEY'RE TSA-APPROVED
There is nothing worse than having to part with cosmetics that don't meet TSA requirements. Now I only travel with liquids that are less than 3.4 ounces (100 ml), per the TSA regulations.
DON'T SKIP PACKING CUBES
Packing cubes have been one of the most game-changing techniques I’ve used for travel. I recently tried this set from Away for myself. What’s great is that they allow you to keep your pieces separated into categories like pajamas or T-shirts, so you can find what you need without unpacking your entire suitcase.
DON'T PACK ITEMS UNLESS THEY WORK TOGETHER
Lastly, I always pack pieces that I can mix and match. My holiday wardrobe always includes lots of layers and bulkier pieces that take up valuable room in my suitcase, so I want to make sure each item will work for multiple outfits.