Small is all; As travel gets trickier, packing less has become an art

CanWest News Service
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Recently in her magazine, Martha Stewart demonstrated packing for overseas air travel by hanging her outfits on heavy, wooden hangers, which is great if you can afford an entourage to schlep your heavy suitcases around the hotels and airports of Europe.
The rest of us, though, need to keep things ever lighter and more portable. This is a notion seconded by some very resourceful women for whom travel is not only second nature, but part of their jobs.
Kimberley Seldon, the well known interior designer of TV fame (kimberleyseldon.com), who also offers personally guided art and architecture tours through the great cities of Europe (she was on a charter foray through Italy when we contacted her for this piece), knows all the little tricks.
"I roll clothing rather than fold clothing and I tuck lingerie into the interior of shoes," she said in an e-mail from her BlackBerry (no cumbersome laptops for Seldon when she's on the road).
"And, of course, I always carry a huge purse to absorb any last-minute buys."
Seldon takes hair care seriously, so when travelling she buys varying-sized Velcro rollers that nest inside each other, preserving valuable packing space. A small matter, perhaps, but small is all for the new world traveller.
As getting to our destinations has devolved into security-mandated shoe removals, earlier check-in times, checked bag surcharges, missed connections due to cancelled flights and lost luggage, the art of "paring down" has become synonymous with freedom.
Diane Bald, chief bag designer and chief architect for Canada's Roots stores and the wife of Roots co-owner Michael Budman, says her family had an immediate attitude adjustment in the face of new security measures following 9/11.
"After 9/11, Michael said: 'That's it. No more checking bags.'"
The good news is a two-week-long trip is easily undertaken with only a carry-on suitcase with wheels. Wheels are crucial, of course. Not only do you become more mobile and speedy, easily traversing vast airport terminals, but no longer are you forced to loiter in front of slowly rotating luggage carousels.
Airline carry-on allowances vary, but the international standard is 45 linear inches (a 20-by-15-by-10-inch case), and that leaves plenty of room, whether you're packing for four or 14 days.
For the longer trip, you only need to add a few more items to go with the core pieces. A few rules apply: stick to a narrow range of colours (think black and white, navy and taupe, black and grey) ensuring that everything goes with everything else, and (sad news for some) keep shoes to a minimum. A pared-down wardrobe reduces choice in the morning, which gets you out of your hotel room faster and into the day's fun cycle of sightseeing, sitting in cafes and shopping.
Adriana Ermter, beauty director of Fashion magazine, travels more in a year than most of us will in a lifetime. She advocates the type of planning normally associated with a military campaign.
"I used to end up with my entire wardrobe on my bed," she laughs. But after travelling so often for work, she has it down to an exact science, choosing items that offer built-in versatility. "Cardigan? Belt it, leave it open or button it - that's three different looks," she says.
Ermter itemizes the kind of accessories that can transform a neutral outfit into something memorable: "A colourful pashmina, a long beaded necklace, a stack of gold bracelets, change earrings from diamond studs to gold hoops. When you're packing neutrals like black, tan and beige, silver and gold brighten an outfit. You can easily wear a black T and pants, pull on gold wedges and a gold chain and it's a dressy look for dinner."
Seldon also plans well in advance, hoarding sample-sized toiletries. "I always ask for some when I purchase perfume, night cream or hair products."
Her best hard-won advice? "Never travel with white pants, which invariably get dirty with one wearing."
Diane Bald, meanwhile, enjoys spotting people the world over sporting the Canadian-made and ubiquitous Roots Village Bag (more than 100,000 sold).
"I know they're Canadian, so I go up and talk to them and they tell me how much they love it. It's great with a place for your camera, your phone, your passport, it hugs your body and you feel very secure."

Ottawa Citizen
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SIDEBAR:

Essentials List:
What is it about travel that makes us perfectly comfortable wearing sneakers and a fanny-pack to world capitals, even though we'd never wear them at home, in the city where we live? Step up your game and try to represent Canada in a way that is non-shaming.

• Women
Wear on plane: Flat boots, jeans (or other heaviest pants), sleeveless shell, cardigan, big scarf, carry raincoat
Pack:
-2 pairs of pants, black or another dark colour
-2 skirts, black or another dark colour (polished cotton looks dressy enough for night time)
- 1 black or navy dress
- 4 tops (knits don't require ironing) that go with a minimum of two bottoms each
- Tights
- Flat shoes
- Clutch bag

- Costume or "travel" jewelry (tuck into clutch bag)
- Heels
- Camera and charger
- 5 pair underwear, or My Tagalongs Disposables ($6 for five; mytagalongs.com), Canadian made, can be washed three times before tossing
- Toiletries in 1-litre Ziploc bag
- Venus Spa Breeze disposable razor with built in shave gel bars (no suffering with a cheap disposable)
-Small collapsible umbrella

• Men
Wear on plane: Jeans or dark pants, T-shirt, long-sleeve T or sweater, heaviest shoes, sports jacket, carry raincoat
Pack:
- 1 pair khaki or lighter pants
- 1 pair shorts
- 2 cotton shirts, long sleeves
- 2 polo tops
- 1 long-sleeve T-shirt
- 1 thin wool sweater
- 1 pair light runners
- 1 tie
- 4 pair underwear
- 4 pair socks
-Toiletries in 1-litre Ziploc bag

Organizations: Fashion magazine

Geographic location: Europe, Canada, Italy Ottawa

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