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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Helpful Honeymoon Packing Tips

Words by Courtney Kellar

We asked an expert to weigh-in on how to make the most of your suitcase space when venturing to the honeymoon destination of your dreams. Travel can be stressful enough without the fear of losing your luggage. Executive Editor Anne Banas with SmarterTravel.com has some tips on how to limit your honeymoon essentials to just a carry-on.

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Downsize Your Toiletries

For your special day, have your hair and makeup done at a local salon at your destination (many hotels have them on location) rather than bringing all your own compacts and bottles, which can weigh down your suitcase. For the rest of your trip or honeymoon, downsize your toiletries kit by packing miniature items such as Gillette's Venus Snap with Embrace razor, which weighs less than an ounce, or these mini make-up brushes from EcoTools. Also, consider multi-use products such as foundations with built-in moisturizer or lipstick-and-blush duos. You can also bring small amounts of your must-have products in travel-sized containers such as these super-slim Mini Sprayers from The Container Store or Humangear's GoTubb jars.

Accessorize Wisely

Contact your hotel in advance to make sure it has any necessary accessories such as hair dryers or curling irons so you won't have to pack them. Most will. Or, purchase reliable travel-sized versions such as the Babylisspro TT, my go-to foldable travel dryer. I also pack Conair's MiniYOU ceramic curling iron or BaByliss' PRO Nano Titanium mini straightening iron for those trips that include formal events. If you're traveling internationally, just make sure the items you buy have dual voltage capabilities.

Bring the Right Bag

Don't assume the contents of your bag are the only culprit for weight. Often, your bags – including your suitcase, toiletries kit, cosmetics pouch, garment bag, day bag, etc. – are adding on extra pounds. Be sure to weigh all your bags and consider lighter alternatives such as Sea to Summit's Travelling Light Hanging Toiletry Bag (which is made from a lightweight parachute material and weighs only 2.8 ounces) and the U-Lite suitcase collection from Delsey (the 24.5-inch trolley, for example, weighs just 6.4 pounds). Also, avoid bags that have unnecessary buckles and accessories.

Use a Digital Scale 

Beware. Some airlines charge up to $200 for each overweight bag. About the size and shape of a wine bottle opener, portable, digital luggage scales like Travelon's Micro Scale can be a lifesaver when it comes to avoiding these fees (I tuck mine in a pocket in my carry-on bag). You can also look for a suitcase that comes with a built-in scale. Either way, make sure your scale weighs in both pounds and kilos, which will make for easier conversions when traveling internationally. And before you head to the airport, check baggage weight limits with your airline and be aware of connecting flights (usually on smaller planes) that might have stricter rules than your overseas flight.

Maximize Your Formal Wear

Ask the flight attendant if you can hang your dress (or tux) in the airline's closet to avoid wrinkling in the overhead cabin. Just contact your airline in advance to make sure that closets (which are usually located in first or business class) are available to you.

Be Versatile When Packing Clothes 

When it comes to packing clothes, look for lightweight, versatile and multi-use garments. If you need to bring a combination of formal and casual wear, pack items that you can mix and match, such as dressy separates that can later be paired with jeans, tees, sweaters, shorts or flats. Consider a consistent palate of neutrals, which will go with everything and then add pops of color with scarfs or versatile tops. Also, bring items that have multiple functions such as a sarong that can double as a beach cover-up, wrap for cool evenings or a beach or picnic "blanket."

Look for Smart Shoe Options 

For travel, shoes need to be functional before being fashionable, but you can have both if you pack smartly. Bring only one pair of dress shoes that will go with everything (in neutral or metallic shades for a woman, black or dark brown for men). Also, look for lightweight shoe alternatives such as foldable ballet flats (like CitySlips) to tuck into your day bag for when your heels inevitably give out or packable boots such as Hunter's foldable version of its classic wellies. However, even lightweight shoes can be bulky, so maximize suitcase space by packing your socks or other small items inside and wear your heaviest pair on the airplane.

Go Digital

Forgo heavy guidebooks and use apps like Ulmon's City Maps 2Go app to help navigate your destination. Once downloaded, its interactive maps and GPS (that lists points of interest) will still work even when you're not using data roaming. When it comes to beach reading, download your favorite books to your Kindle (or Kindle app) instead of lugging around paperbacks. And think of other ways you can maximize your digital devices such as using your smart phone as an alarm clock, a camera and an inflight entertainment system loaded with music, podcasts and other media.

Share With Your Partner

Packing "as one" can be a smart strategy for saving space and avoiding travel hassles. Consider sharing basic items like sunscreen, toothpaste, cameras and electronics so you'll each have fewer things to bring. Also, divide your things and put half in each other's suitcases – that way, if the airline loses a bag, you'll each have enough essentials to get by and will have to purchase fewer emergency items once your arrive at your destination.

Stay Organized

Group smaller items (such as underwear, jewelry and electronic chargers and adapters) together and pack them in clear, zip-top bags. You can also utilize lightweight packing cubes (such as these from Eagle Creek) to maximize space and keep everything organized.

For more travel tips, visit SmarterTravel.com. Happy Packing!

Photos provided by SmarterTravel.com and courtesy of (in order of appearance): ThinkStock (1st, 2nd & 4th) and ShutterStock.

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