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Pack More Stuff In Less Space

There are two kinds of travelers in the world: those who pack light and those who wish they had. The key is to include everything you need in as little space as possible.

Some of the most travel-savvy people in the world-travel agents-offer some helpful tips and techniques for efficient packing for all types of travel:

• Make a plan and stick to it. As an architect plans a building, so must you plan the contents of your suitcase. A packing list eliminates the panic of last-second packing, serves as a handy guide for repacking at the end of the trip and can be beneficial in the unfortunate event of lost or stolen luggage.

• Check the weather forecast of the destination and plan accordingly. Also, be sure to know the local traditions. Although many places have relaxed their dress codes, a T-shirt for dinner could be a serious blunder, or bare shoulders may bar your entrance into such places as St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. Bare legs for men and women are strongly discouraged if not prohibited at holy sites in many religions. For almost all outdoor activities, take pieces that can be layered.

• Lay out the items you intend to take and reexamine your list. If possible, weed out single-use items and extras.

• Travel kits are best for toiletries. Having a travel kit perpetually stocked in a waterproof case will save packing time before the trip and aggravation after arrival. Most personal toiletry items come in inexpensive travel sizes, so purchase these whenever you see them, so as not to arrive with a half-empty bottle of your favorite hair gel.

• Iron everything before packing. If it goes in crisp and clean, odds are more in its favor of coming out the same. Button all buttons and zip all zippers.

• Know when to fold 'em. Practice folding like it's done in clothing stores-that method is used for a reason. The better the fold, the fewer the creases.

• Try to think chronologically, placing the items to be worn first on the top. This will prevent rooting around the suitcase for a specific item while disrupting the rest.

• Always carry travel documents, medication, jewelry, traveler's checks, keys and other valuables in your carry-on luggage. Items such as these should never be packed in checked luggage.

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