Woman with suitcase

No need for red eye!

It's tough to look like a total Betty when working to juggle a multiple suitcases, in addition to a laptop case, handbag and other accessories.

1

Consider slimmed-down essentials

Sure, you need shampoo, makeup, hair gel and other beauty items, but smaller versions of your favorites are necessary to keep excess baggage at a minimum. Still, that doesn't mean you have to swap looking fab for practical options. Choose products that do double duty (i.e., great for travel and keep you looking like a stunner), like Oscar Blandi Pronto Invisible Volumizing Dry Shampoo (Sephora, $5 and up). Spritz it on to keep oily hair at bay and perk up limp locks. Other great options include multiuse beauty products, like NARS' "The Multiple" sticks (Nars Cosmetics, $39) — twist-and-apply color for cheeks, eyes and lips.

2

Don't forget your sunscreen

If you've ever opened your suitcase to find your sunscreen made friends with your shoes, blouse and belt, then you know that not only are these SPF bottles often bulky, they can be messy. Choose body wipes that contain sunblock, like Tocca SPF 30+ sunscreen towelettes (Birch Box, $24). With the blood-orange-scented wipes, all you have to do is wipe and go.

3

Pack your mainstays

Compact beauty items, like facial blotting papers or your tried-and-true mascara, can always easily find a home in your travel bags. We also love to score samples of our favorite beauty items at department stores or beauty meccas, like Sephora, and stash them away until it comes time to travel. Mini perfumes, lipsticks and hair products take up minimal room in a suitcase.

4

Keep it simple, gorgeous

Put outfits together ahead of time to minimize excess clothing making its way into your suitcase. Depending on the reason for travel, a good rule of thumb is to pack: 

  • One dress (decide on casual or cocktail)
  • One skirt with a matching blouse
  • Two pairs of pants –– one black pair and one pair of jeans
  • Two cardigans or light sweaters
  • Two simple, casual shirts
  • Three camisole tanks
  • Hosiery (if necessary)
  • One pair each of socks and underwear for each day (plus one extra set)
  • A long-sleeve shirt
  • Two bras (one strapless if necessary)
  • Exercise outfits for days you will be active
  • Sneakers
  • One pair of flats
  • One pair of heels

Choose one evening bag that goes with all outfits, and carry on your everyday handbag. If you are wearing a jacket, then consider wearing it on the plane and removing it if necessary. You'll save suitcase room, and half the time planes are so darn chilly anyway!

More on smart travel

Fit a week's worth of clothes in a carry-on
Travel kits for kids
Flying with baby: Make the process easier

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