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    Posted August 6, 2013 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    100 Ways to Travel Better: Your tips

    More from qquerisma

    Beat overpacking pitfalls


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     qquerisma is an avid traveler and has space saving techniques down to a science, but she says the one travel tip that she can't do without is creating a 'leave-behind document' for her family. ‘It's a one-page reference for my family that includes my flight details, hotel info, contact info for myself and my travel companion, and if I leave my children home it has a day-by-day schedule for their caretaker,' she says.
    - Jamescia, CNN iReport producer

    Find me on Twitter: @querismatic


    What started out as a personal challenge to avoid checked bag fees on a weeklong trip to the Dominican Republic (and in this case, California) ended up becoming an education in travel efficiency. By keeping a few pointers in mind and employing an amazing packing method I found on YouTube, I effectively learned how to pack like a ninja.


    • Get real about the purpose of your trip: Whether my trip is for business, pleasure, or a hybrid of both dictates what exactly will find its way into my suitcase.


    • Take the destination into consideration: The clothing I pack for a holiday in the Caribbean is totally different from what I'd bring to Miami. Both areas have a similar climate, but the activities are different. I'd be hard pressed to find a reason to wear a vampy bandage-style dress in the Dominican Republic, but in Miami if I plan to hit any of the noteworthy nightclubs, it's expected. Same goes for heels. I'll be wearing flats (or better yet, I'll be barefoot) the entire time on an island retreat, but a sexy urban metropolis like Las Vegas (which is also very hot in the summer) demands stilettos.


    • Choose shoes first: The reason most women end up taking a second bag only for shoes, is because they pick their clothes first. Don't do that. As a rule, I bring three pairs. Heels, dress flats, and casual flats. They should all be a neutral/flexible color so that you'll get the most versatility out of them. The bulkiest of the shoes should be worn on the day of flight so they don't consume bag space.


    • Try to choose all-day looks: On business trips, I generally opt for dresses because they look polished enough to get through a day of meetings (and can be paired with a blazer for a nice, professional look). When it's time for dinner and client-courting activities, the blazer can be shed for a more relaxed look while still coming across polished and not over-done. On leisure trips, depending on the nature of them, the same thinking can be applied, but if you plan on getting involved with a trendy nightlife scene, a change of clothes may be necessary.


    • Repurpose: Jeans and most garments that are dry clean only can be worn at least twice on your trip. One pair of jeans or slacks for every two tops can streamline your take-alongs. Instead of a boring old laptop bag, opt for a stylish tote that is big enough to fit your computer during travel, and double as a handbag during the day. Also, if you choose to bring pajamas, camis with a built-in bra can be repurposed for workout gear.


    • Streamline the beauty goods: Rather than bringing the full-sized containers of your favorite products, go ahead and transfer them into the travel sized bottles found in the drug store. This way, you won't have your moisturizers, makeup remover, and hair goodies confiscated by TSA (or be forced to check your bag). Also, if you bring shampoo, consider finding a 2-in-1 for your trip to save space in your liquids bag. When it comes to makeup, take a good look at what clothing you're bringing and only pack the products you'll need to complement. There's no need to bring the entire train case.


    • Employ a packing method that works for you: It might seem like a scary thought, to work with the smallest roller bag in the set, but try it. You can roll your garments or take some tips from the ninja packing technique I use. I've condensed to a carry-on bag and you can, too.

    This iReport is part of an assignment that we created with Travel + Leisure:  100 Ways to Travel Better: Your tips
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