I Travel Around 20 Times a Year: These Are the Best and Worst Things to Pack


(Image credit: @camilacoelho)

I didn’t always travel this much, but between my semi-recent move to NY (with the bulk of my family still residing in L.A.), an unusual number of destination weddings, the occasional vacation or work trip and more, I’ve somehow managed to rack up quite the number of frequent flyer miles. While my sinuses may hate me for it, but there are some definite upsides to having taken that many flights in recent years—including but not limited to all the lessons I’ve learned in packing ever since.

From the best way to pack your clothes to the one major mistake I spent most of my life making to today’s topic, the best and worst things to pack in general, I’m always game to share my tips because, well, I guess it’s kind of my job. Just keep scrolling to read about the things you should never pack and, of course, shop what should make it into your suitcase instead.

Don’t pack: Miscellaneous items

Instead pack: Planned outfits

One of the first changes I made when I started traveling more was to pack in outfits. I think it cut my items by almost half, but beyond reducing the number of things I'd bring on a trip, it also saved me from wasting time at my destination by eliminating the need to decide what to wear. 

Shop a vacation outfit I love:

Don’t pack: Single-use or uncomfortable shoes

Instead pack: Comfortable and multi-use shoes

With the exception of special occasions such as a destination wedding, if a shoe only goes with one outfit in your suitcase, you should probably find an alternative. Instead pack footwear that works across multiple outfits, such as workout sneakers that you can also wear to sightsee, sandals that look good with both jeans and dresses or block heels that work for day or night. Additionally, leave anything uncomfortable behind because odds are you won’t end up wearing them.

Shop multi-use shoes:

Don’t pack: Backup clothes

Instead pack: Workout clothes and pajamas

I used to use all my extra luggage space for backup tops, pants, dresses and more that I didn’t actually have a use for but wanted to bring just in case. It usually caused me to leave my workout clothes or even proper pajamas behind in the name of space-saving. Every time I got to a hotel, I’d then get annoyed that I had no leggings and had to sleep in one of my regular tees. I’ve learned that it’s much more important to pack those things you actually will use.

Shop workout clothes and pajamas:

Don’t pack: Excessive denim

Instead pack: Your most versatile jeans

The main reason for this one is that jeans are very heavy. You pack three or four pairs and suddenly you’re left wondering why your suitcase is overweight. Most times, you don’t even need all of them because at the end of the day the same pair can usually work with many outfits. As a denim junkie, I’ve finally started editing down the ones I pack and it saves so much space.

Shop versatile jeans:

Don’t pack: Full-sized beauty products

Instead pack: Travel-sized versions

That full-sized dry shampoo and toothpaste tube may not look like much on their own, but when you end up packing four, five, or even more of those types of things, they start to take up a lot of space and also add up in weight. I finally invested in a travel size of almost all the products I use regularly and just leave them in my travel toiletry bag permanently so they’re ready to go when I need to pack.

Shop travel-sized products:

Don’t pack: Impractical bags

Instead pack: Bags that serve multiple uses

That clutch that only goes with one night-out look or the beach bag that can’t really be used anywhere else are prime examples of impractical bags because they aren’t versatile. Instead pack bags that serve multiple purposes, such as a shoulder bag that works for day and night, or a tote that you can use on the flight but also at the beach.

Shop useful bags:

Up next? Trust me—buy these 22 things.


Since starting as an intern back in 2013, Nicole Akhtarzad Eshaghpour has held several roles here at Who What Wear, and she is currently Editor-at-Large. It was a less expected route, seeing as she was graduating from business school at USC when this all began, but it has turned out to be the best one for her. Fast-forward to 2020, and she's moved to NYC from her hometown of Beverly Hills and spends her workdays a little differently from when she was an intern starting out. Currently, she focuses on a weekly mélange of shopping content. As far as her personal style goes, she's largely drawn to classic pieces and neutral basics but will always make an exception for something colorful, printed, or bejeweled as long as it's deemed worthy enough. After all, the only thing she loves more than a good party is dressing up for one. On weekdays, she can usually be found at home eating something delicious for dinner and trying to force her husband to watch 90 Day Fiancé.