Memorial Day Weekend is nearly upon us, and summer’s unofficial kick-off launches a season of travel near and far. However, as we fair weather wanderers dream of our well-deserved departures, the realities of planning, packing, and airport navigation can turn travel into a nightmare.
Enter DFW Style Daily’s network of seasoned Dallas jet-setters. For your benefit (not to mention ours), these Big D-based frequent flyers are revealing their top travel secrets today. Check out their expert tips, favorite products, and more, for smooth sailing this summer. Plus, scope out more tips in Part One!
Rhonda Sargent Chambers
Founder, RSC Show Productions
Contributor, DFW Style Daily
“Roll everything – and use the rolls for a creative packing strategy. Place two to three garments on top of each other, and make a big ‘sausage roll’ out of them. Arrange the rolls in a circle in your suitcase, leaving the center open for the top crown of your hat. Place your hat upside down inside the nest, then continue packing in and over the hat with your rolls of clothing. Your topper will arrive in perfect form!”
Designer, SHONA House of Jewels
“I travel frequently, and have gathered many careful planning tips along the way. Before packing, I browse my closet and walk through the days I will be gone, carefully taking stock of what I am dressing for and the weather I am heading into. I start with most important looks first (trunk shows, dinner parties), carefully choosing for comfort and wearability. Of course, as a jewelry artist, shoes and jewelry make or break a look for me.
“When packing, shoes always go into a shoe bag. If you don’t have shoe bags, save wrapping tissue and plastic produce bags from the grocery store (clean and dry). They work well to protect shoes and prevent heels from getting marked. As for jewelry, I find that those little jewelry travel bags just don’t cut it for me. So, like every jeweler I know, everything gets rolled into a Ziploc bag, and in some cases, I add a little tissue or bubble wrap for extra protection. I also personally prefer to keep my most precious items in my carry-on, and I don’t let it out of my sight for even a second. Using this strategy, I have never lost one piece of jewelry, and I’ve been to both coasts and back a multitude of times for trunk shows.”
Fashion Stylist, Laurie Graham Style
“Travel packing can be a very daunting task. The biggest mistake I find my clients making is that they pack way too many items that are never worn. The best way to pack efficiently is to lay one outfit across your bed for each day you will be away, or for each activity per day. Start with the clothing first, and then place corresponding jewelry, undergarments, and handbags on top of the outfits, and place shoes on the floor below. If you are traveling for five days, you will end up with five complete outfits across the bed. You can then eliminate a few pairs of shoes (wearing the same pair with more than one outfit), and try to scale back on the accessories and handbags. This way, your suitcase will not weigh 500 pounds, but your outfits will still look polished and complete.”
Vice President, Shiroma Southwest Public Relations
“When I was younger, I believed you needed to pack a whole wardrobe just for a getaway. With age, however, comes wisdom. I’ve done two weeks in Europe with my family, with little more than a 19-inch carry-on and a good travel tote under my seat. How? Just like all smart women, your wardrobe should multi-task.
“Plan your wardrobe for your trip around one or two staple colors. Each item should have multiple uses; if you can’t wear it two or three different ways, think about whether you want to carry it with you at all. Then, plan to buy some accent pieces at your destination. Whether I’m shopping boutiques in New York or a street market in Prague, I plan to buy a fun scarf, hat, or top to accent my look on the road.
“I also recommend not packing your entire cosmetic regimen. While my makeup always goes in my carry-on or tote, I often forgo packing hair and body products for travel. Instead, I make one of my first stops a local drug store, and pick up what I need there. Lastly, pack a few dryer sheets. Layer them between clothing items in your suitcase to keep them smelling fresh.”
Blogger, Real Posh Mom
“My ‘Golden Rules’ for travel include carry-on instead of checking bags, so that you can exit the airport immediately after reaching your destination. I also check in online 24 hours before a flight, not only to save time at the airport, but also to get a better seat. Finally, I always make sure to have small denominations in local currency for tips.”
U.S. Director, Aftershock London
“As an avid traveler, I would say I have two go-to’s for any trip. First, I use TripAdvisor. Aside from the standard reviews, TripAdvisor forums are an incredible place to get insider tips. Whenever I travel somewhere new, I use this as a resource to map out my plan of action. From finding a great hidden restaurant in Marrakech, to planning the best way to tour all the temples in Bangkok in one day, you can find it there.
“Second, my Mont Blanc Nightflight Trolley is the best carry-on luggage I have ever owned. It has compartments for everything, yet meets all airline sizing regulations. It has been my companion on dozens of trips around the world, and while it is no longer in prime condition, I refuse to lay it to rest!”
Founder & Designer, Couture Rocks Fine Jewelry
“When dealing with airport security and the shoe issue, I always wear slip-on shoes. Tying up the line with complicated shoes is a bit on the rude side. Also, I’m very cold natured, so I always wear pants and take a sweater on the plane, rather than using in-flight blankets. That way, your skin isn’t touching anything that hundreds of other people have used. Finally, chewing gum during take-off and landing helps with the ear pressure, of course, but for little ones, I suggest having them take small drinks from a sippy cup or bottle for the same result.”
Blogger, Small 4 Style
“If you’re going somewhere like Rome or Paris, purchase your tickets to the main attractions online before you leave. And, if you’re like me, you’re going to need to pack a few large, lightweight tote bags to bring back all of your fabulous finds!”
Contributor, DFW Style Daily
“Ladies, when traveling to tropical islands, please leave behind your heavy duty makeup; you won’t use it! The locals in these locales live for the au naturel look, and you’ll immediately scream tourist if you walk onto the island with a dramatic smoky eye. Worse, you’ll only end up wishing you’d saved the space for another fabulous swimsuit or cover-up.
Second, my latest travel obsession is the Pinch Provisions Minimergency Kit. I have one in my purse, one in my car, and, of course, one for my luggage! Every woman experiences a wardrobe malfunction from time to time, and within this tiny pouch, you have 17 essential items to get you through any slip-up. From double-sided tape to breath freshener, this kit saves the day every time!”