I pride myself on being able to pack light, but I also really don’t want to forget anything essential and have to spend part of my trip shopping at the nearest discount store. Last time I checked a bag, it got lost in transit (of course), and I ended up spending the first 48 hours of my trip wearing the swimsuit I bought at the roadside stand on our way from the airport. I was in Malibu, so I’m not complaining.

Point is, if you’re like me, you love to avoid baggage claim by packing the essentials, and only the essentials, that you’ll actually need on your trip.

As I got ready for last week’s trip to LA, I’m teaming up with our friends at Vanity Fair ® Lingerie. After years of packing practice, I know exactly what should make the carry-on cut, like their Nearly Invisible ™ bra that disappears under any look and every outfit.

Scroll on for the packing strategies I’m using to pack for my 3-day trip… in a single carry on.

1. Plan your itinerary down to the tiniest detail.

Before any trip, I lay out my schedule very specifically so I can plan which outfits I’ll need for each commitment. This requires some time on the front end but it’s well worth it when you’re on your trip and feeling so organized. For this trip, I’ll need outfits for:

–A business meeting

–Dinners with friends

–A walk on the beach

… and then I’ll pack a couple casual looks that will take me shopping, to lunch, and headed to the airport. Even though I have to pack for three very different occasions, knowing that my Nearly Invisible ™ Strapless bra will conveniently go with each one of my outfits makes planning for my trip easy and stress-free.

2 – Plan for the weather

Before you can get specific on your outfits, you’ve got to take a look at the weather so you’re prepared for everything. Nights in LA get chilly but daytime can be really hot, so packing layers that I can put on or take off when I need them is key to being comfortable.

Once I’ve checked the forecast, I pencil in exactly what I’m planning to wear for each of my activities. Planning my outfits based on my actual schedule keeps me from overpacking and ending up with a bunch of clothes that I don’t wear. I also like to consider how I can save space by letting certain clothing items — especially bulky items like shoes and jackets — play double duty with different outfits. For instance, I’ll wear comfy leggings on my flight that I’ll also wear to bed as PJ’s. Or, if my dinner with friends is outside, I can throw on the blazer I’m planning on wearing to my business meeting.

I always try everything on that I’m planning to wear to avoid any wardrobe malfunctions and make sure I don’t forget a crucial item for finishing off an outfit. Plus, avoiding overpacking also allows me to save a little space for any impromptu shopping I might squeeze in on my trip!

Another one of my favorite space-saving discoveries has been Vanity Fair’s Nearly Invisible ™ collection. The variety of colors in the Nearly Invisible ™ collection seamlessly blends into your skin tone, and the Flawless Edge design ensures the bra lays flat against your skin. Their Nearly Invisible ™ Strapless bra in Damask Neutral and Black goes with every outfit on my entire trip, no matter the neckline. It’s an essential item for all my trips, and my new favorite travel hack.

3. Organize and Fold

Once you have everything you need, lay it out on the bed and divide into sections so that you can easily find all your items once you reach your destination. I like to divide mine out by:

–Tops

–Bottoms

–Undergarments

–Shoes

–Accessories

–Toiletries (including hair and makeup supplies)

Lay it all out, then see if there’s anything you can omit from the piles. Only keep items that you know you will wear on your trip. Anything else that is a ‘maybe’ gets put into a separate pile, which you can go back to and pull from depending on how much space you have after you have packed all of your essentials. Once you have the necessary items, gently fold each one into a small square to try and prevent wrinkles forming once everything is stacked up in your suitcase.

4. Pack it up and go!

Place your shoes along the outer edge of your suitcase, soles facing outward. Line your suitcase with all your shoes, leaving a big hole in the middle to store your clothing. Organize your folded clothing piles depending on weight. Place your heaviest piles at the bottom of your suitcase, and lighter items on top.

For undergarments, I like to place them in a separate garment bag to help prevent damage and keep their shape. I lay my Nearly Invisible ™ Strapless bra flat in the garment bag, and place the bag on top of the rest of my clothing items. Make sure your toiletry items are safely inside zipped bags, and place them next to your undergarment bag.  If your suitcase has adjustable straps to help keep it all in place, tug on those so all your items are secure.

Zip, and you’re off!

*Sponsored by Vanity Fair ® Lingerie

13 comments
  1. 1
    Shanna | May 28, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Where is the linen shorts suit from?

    Reply
    • Hannah Zahner | June 5, 2019 at 4:27 pm

      It’s actually not sold anymore, but we’ve linked a similar one here xx

      Reply
  2. 2
    Jessica Camerata | May 28, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    I’m so bad at packing in a carryon. Did it once though for Greece in 7 days and can’t believe I managed. Great tips to plan it out with the itinerary, only way to do it!

    xo Jessica
    My Style Vita

    Reply
  3. 3
    David / LA | May 29, 2019 at 10:06 am

    I do my 3-day business trips with a half-full backpack that fits under the seat in front of me.

    (3 day trip being the travel day, the business day and the return travel day)

    I wear jeans, blazer, dress shirt and sandals

    I pack:
    spare eyeglasses
    phone charger with two slots
    phone battery
    two charging cables
    headphones
    underpants for day 2 and 3
    empty plastic bag for worn underwear t-shirt to sleep in
    toothbrush toothpaste and a razor
    (hotel soap serves as shave cream)

    That’s about it
    Some optional items:
    Food
    Shorts or swim trunks
    Extra dress shirt
    Warm shirt
    Socks
    Computer and charger

    Reply
  4. 4
    Gwen | May 29, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    Hey there, I am a frequent listener, first time caller (or second time I suppose. I was working with Tawnya Falkner at LGC when we first reached out to you!), Registered Nurse with a thought to share about efficient packing:

    I am all about packing items that do double duty, but airplanes, airports, public transportation, etc. are SO FULL OF GERMS! Wearing that same pair of comfortable pants to bed that you wore through all of that public transit is like shaking hands with a bunch of people and then eating or going to bed without washing them. If you subscribe to the method of building your immune system by exposing yourself to as many germs as possible, then go ahead and wear those pants on public transit and in your bed! But I highly recommend packing a separate pair of comfortable pants to wear to bed to reduce your risk of catching something when travelling.

    Gwen RN

    Reply
  5. 5
    jennifer | May 29, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    Love all your outfits–and where are those sandals from?

    Reply
  6. 6
    Whitney Olson | May 30, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    Please link that striped blue dress, and pink skirt with the white/grey tank shirt. Please oh please.

    Reply
    • Hannah Zahner | June 5, 2019 at 4:29 pm

      Find the outfit sources here!

      Reply
  7. 7
    jill passanisi | May 31, 2019 at 8:08 am

    I agree with previous comment. Please share where your adorable blue/white striped dress is from. I LOVE it! Thank you! And thank you or the tips!

    Reply
    • Hannah Zahner | June 5, 2019 at 4:26 pm

      Find all the shop links for the looks in this post here! 🙂

      Reply
  8. 8
    Seema | July 11, 2019 at 11:14 am

    I’m thinking it is probably sold out but the white lace dress with the high neck in this post? Hanging on the rack behind the Mara Hoffman skirt. Could you please share the source? Thank you so so much!

    Reply
    • Caroline Pinkston | July 12, 2019 at 10:41 am

      Hey Seema! It’s sold out but it’s the Saylor NYC Rosemary dress. Similar options here: https://bit.ly/2JAow7K

      Reply
      • Seema | July 18, 2019 at 7:24 pm

        Thank you so much!

        Reply
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