1. If you’re flying, consider using a backpack instead of a hand-held carry-on. You’ll be able to navigate the airport terminal much easier. And on short trips, the backpack may be the only item you need.
2. Keep toiletries in your backpack in case TSA wants to look. Also, keep whatever medications you take in your backpack. If your luggage gets sent to Reykjavik instead of wherever else you’re going, you’ll still have your medicine.
3. If you know the hotel you want to stay in, research online travel sites to find the range of rates being charged for the dates you want to stay. Then call the hotel directly and ask for their lowest nonrefundable rate. You may be able to save the amount of commissions they pay the travel sites.
4. Be ruthless when packing. Pare down everything you don’t need. Avoid the items you’re tempted to put in “just in case.”
5. Use 2-gallon Ziplock bags for shirt and clothing items. Fold the item neatly, insert it into a bag, then zip it up most of the way, leaving an inch or two for air to escape. Then sit on the bag. When the air is out, finish zipping it up. You’ll be able to get much more into your suitcase. If you’ve folded the garment neatly, you’ll have a minimum of wrinkles when you open the bag.
6. Don’t pack new shoes for a trip that involves a lot of walking. Trust me, you’ll be sorry. Take comfortable shoes, fill them with rolled-up socks, and protect them in those handy 2-gallon zippy bags inside your luggage.
7. Remember to pack a folded garbage bag to keep your laundry separate from your clean clothes. I was on a trip once where a family member threw a wet shirt directly into the suitcase rather than in the pile of laundry. By morning everything else was wet, too. A garbage bag would have saved that grief. Maybe.