(But more importantly, it will also give you the opportunity to loiter around airports looking fabulous while elegantly lounging atop your luggage.)
My personal travel experiences have led me to believe that packing successfully for a trip is essential. Although many packing oversights can be remedied through shopping, sometimes you need to conserve those euros/pennies/pesos/shekels for things like train fare and lunch. So learning to pack effectively is a valuable skill to cultivate.
Now packing for a six month jungle trek through the rainforests of South America and packing for a one week sojourn in Paris are going to be different experiences, obviously. But there are some basic rules I've learned to keep in mind as I'm chucking shoes and undies into my rolly bag, no matter where my journey may take me.
Now I know some of you will say 'But I'm traveling! I just want to be comfortable! - just remember what André Leon Talley told Vogue as he packed for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's wedding: "You never know who you'll see at the luggage carousel."
(Seriously, the odds are high that you will see a familiar face. Trust me, you don't want to be wearing pajama jeans while you do it.)
1.) Choose a Single Colour Palette.
I first decide if my base colour for the trip will be black or brown. I'm generally a black girl. From here, everything must be in that colour family, or an accent for that family. If all your items are interchangeable, you'll be able to pull together outfits quickly and easily no matter what's already dirty. It also makes the packing quicker, and makes choosing outfits while traveling easier too. This doesn't mean you can't take a bit of the other, it just means that it all must flow together. As a matter of fact, one of my favourite colour combinations is black, tan/beige, white and grey.
Trust me, this will simplify everything and define your colour scheme for the trip! Also, it will cause your whole wardrobe to work together instead of being a big salad of things that don't make sense. Forget linen, forget tulle, forget hats (unless you wear them on the plane) and forget anything that "may come in handy" because it never will.
2.) Pack Mostly Separates, But At Least One Dress.
One of the lessons I learned a long time ago is that dresses are slimming, pack very easily and are multi-purpose. Wear flats with a sundress and you can walk anywhere and generally look nicer than anyone in shorts or jeans. A flattering dress can be paired with a pair of heels for nights on the town, but if its jersey or cotton it can easily transition to day with a pair of flats. Even if you have no fancy events planned, you just never know when a dress will come in handy.
Jeans are often the only pair of long pants I bring, they are an item that is easily dressed up or down. Pack at least one pair of classics - I usually opt for two pairs a blue and a black - and one pair of boyfriends. Jeans are a travel must regardless of destination.
4.) It's All About The Shoes.
Bring only one pair of heels. Unless you're going on a journey that exclusively involves charitable works, long hikes and rural travels, you should be sure to include a single pair of dressy heels. BUT limit yourself to that single pair, and bring only flat shoes besides that (flat boots, Mary Janes, sneaks, ballet flats). Travel = walking. Again, they must go with the brown or black base colour, and they must have multiple outfits they go with.
5.) Take A Handbag, Or Two.
On the topic of bags, I take a large tote that carries everything. It's my carry on for the plane and holds my phone, essential toiletries for the flight, sunglasses, passport, journal, lipstick, perfume, wallet, Vogue and iPod. I will also pack a clutch for going out at night. Note: the tote and clutch go with the brown or black theme too!
6.) Always, Always Take A Swimsuit.
Some of the best travel advice I've ever received! Whether you're skiing in the Alps and want to use the hot tub afterwards, enjoying some waves at the beach, or you're at an incredible hotel with a rooftop pool, you'll regret not being able to join in the fun.
7.) If I Need Something, I Can Purchase It On The Road.
I used to worry that I wouldn't have EVERYTHING I could possibly want on a trip, but then I read the famous travel packing advice in Vanity Fair "lay all the clothes and money you're planning to take on your bed. Take half the clothes and twice the money". It was the perfect advice for me, primarily because I usually didn't wear everything I'd brought on the trip, and because you can usually buy a replacement for anything you might need on the road.
This list is simply a compilation of guidelines that works best for me, many of which I have gathered through personal experience (i.e. learning the hard way), friends and magazines.