Penny-pinching packing tips for special events

Weddings, sporting competitions and other special-event trips can be challenging to pack for, particularly when items like designer gowns, tuxedos, mountain bikes and kayaks need to come along. The right packing strategies can save you money on everything from shipping to checked baggage and more. Here are my top tips for precision packing.

Rent: If you’re only in town for a short time and want dazzle without baggage drama, consider renting any gowns, suits and other clothing necessary for that theater performance or other special event. Companies like and allow customers to rent designer duds for up to 90 percent off retail. Simply have the tricky-to-pack garments shipped to the necessary destination instead of your home.

Expand: If you frequently find yourself on the road for things like sports competitions, theater performances and professional speaking gigs, then expanding your vehicle’s storage capacity can help save money on expenses such as shipping and cargo trailer rentals. Towing hitches can be used to attach platforms suitable for carrying waterproof trunks and other gear. Roof racks on the other hand can handle anything from kayaks and bicycles to cargo carriers large enough to double your trunk space.

Plan: The greater your space limitations, the more you need to plan ahead with regards to your garment and gear needs. For example, pack safety pins. In a pinch, you can handle torn hems, shoulder straps and occasionally a loose button.

Luggage: For longer dresses, sports coats and suits, garment bags are a great way to go. The longer, traditional types work well for car trips, but if you absolutely must fly there are numerous rolling garment bags on the market sized for carry-on purposes. Space will be at a premium, but your dress clothes will be relatively protected until you arrive at your event destination.