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29 tricks for pain-free packing

By Lashawnda Becoats
Correspondent

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  • 5 things to take on a trip

    •  A knapsack. It keeps your hands free and serves as a bag for your laptop, jacket, gear and souvenirs while you’re sightseeing.

    •  Inexpensive sunglasses. If you’ve ever lost a quality pair, you know exactly what I mean.

    •  A jacket. Even if you’re traveling to a warm climate the weather can change. Who wants to have to go buy a jacket?

    •  Shoes. At least one pair of comfortable shoes.

    • Two-in-one. Products that have multiple uses. For example, body wash that can be used as shaving gel.

    Things I never pack

    • Valuables. I rarely travel with my real jewelry, especially abroad. I substitute inexpensive fashion jewelry. I once lost a sentimental ring. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

    •  Liquids. Anything that can melt or spill on my garments.

    •  More valuables. I never check my designer luggage. I’ve heard too many stories about bags being lost or damaged.


  • Gender-specific travel tips

    For women

    • A slim cosmetic bag that comes with makeup brushes can be a lifesaver. The bag I love has a separate compartment for my brushes in addition to two roomy compartments that hold my essentials without the bulk.

    • Brush guards help protect the bristles of your makeup brushes. The little plastic covers come in a variety of sizes and make storing your brushes a lot easier.

    • Makeup that can be used for more than one purpose offers a great solution on the road. Try a blush that doubles as a lipstick.

    For men

    • Pack ties in a tie case to keep them wrinkle-free.

    • Have shirts laundered at the dry cleaner and folded instead of hung on hangers before traveling. Then wrap the folded shirts in tissue paper to help prevent wrinkles.

    • Pack leather shoes with shoe trees to prevent them from losing their shape.

    • Take tops off of lotion, facial wash, etc. Place double layer of plastic wrap over openings then replace cap and twist tightly to prevent spills.



Preparing for a trip can be exciting but with so many details to consider, thinking about what to pack can be overwhelming.

As a journalist, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel for work and pleasure. In the past three years, some of the places I’ve visited are Spain, Portugal, China, Haiti, St. Lucia and Jamaica. Here’s what I’ve learned about packing:

Pack light

I use a 24-inch suitcase that I never check. For a 10-day trip, my essentials are three pairs of pants/shorts, five shirts to mix and match with the bottoms, one long-sleeved shirt, two lightweight dresses, a light jacket, a hat, sunglasses and a few pairs of shoes.

Roll it up

The rolling method for packing clothes really works. Clothes are less wrinkled, and it leaves more room in your suitcase.

Prepare for the trip home

I usually shop when I travel. I pack collapsible duffle bags for all my goodies.

Pack detergent

Purex 3-in-1 laundry sheets are perfect for doing laundry while away.

Things that go well with water

• I bring washcloths because some hotels in Europe don’t provide them.

• I keep a small travel umbrella in my suitcase.

• Packets of my favorite tea and hot chocolate are a must. I keep peppermint for headaches and ginger for upset stomach.

• Travel with a bathing suit even if you aren’t vacationing at the beach; hotel pools are great even in winter.

Back it up

Shoot a photo of your passport on your phone then email it to yourself and whoever you trust in case of an emergency.

Common scents

• Instead of worrying about perfume bottles, I use the tiny samples I get from the department stores. The samples allow me to test new scents I normally would not take the time to try.

• To make my hotel room feel and smell like home, I travel with a travel-size candle.

Stay charged

• Don’t pack your phone charger in your luggage. Keep it with you.

• For international travel, bring a universal adapter.

B.Y.O.D.

Bring your preferred over-the-counter medicines, especially when traveling abroad, because the same products may not be available.

Lashawnda Becoats is a certified life coach: lbecoats@gmail.com
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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

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