Living with Style, Travel Notes

Insider Travel Notes: Packing 101

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My earlier post “13 Heads Up Tips for the Savvy Traveler” works in tandem with this post to give a good overview of the state of travel today — the reminders and updates as well as the sobering cautions. So now, let’s interject some humor into our chat and talk about some fun topics…like what to wear.

“I see London, I see France, does TSA need to see my underpants?” (the lead copy line for the company, E-Bags, but more on that later). Maintaining one’s dignity and mastering organized packing is at the heart of this post. And honestly, speaking to the solo female traveler, like myself. While I’m typically on customized tours, this trip will be about meeting a friend in London and then going on to Paris together. A fellow Newporter, Judy Allpress, who has been in the travel business (Wayfarers) for 33 years, graciously weighed in on this topic of the solo traveler. Here goes…


Packing Tips

Plot your packing by day and event…on paper so you can check off as you pack.

Consider E-Bags — Judy passed along this great resource, commenting…” saved me so much un-packing time…you’ve arrived in Rome, you want to grab an outfit and head to Pranzo – where did I put that skirt? Bingo, without putting things in drawers you have everything compartmentalized”.

Travel Light  
No matter where, or for how long! My general rule? Pack only as much as you can transport without the help of a companion. Never assume that there may be a porter or bellman available (I learned this in college, when trying to lug my huge suitcases through Grand Central) And, if you’re staying in a home without an elevator, this goes double. The plus? A compact tote and suitcase won’t leave you with extra baggage fees.

TIP: Pack lightweight down if you’re going to cooler climes (Uniqlo makes a large selection that fold efficiently into their tiny carrying cases).

Pack Smart, Dress Smart
Start with the important days, selecting outfits  focusing on basic blacks and neutrals, or around one color palette, that can repurpose casual vs. dressy. Don’t forget that old truth “mix and match.” Choose clothing that you know you are going to wear (with an eye to dressing modestly).



I’m taking my black and all-shades-of-blue inspiration from my scarf that just happens to have crowns as its theme.


Comfy heels, flats, walking shoes (that have already been put through the “are they comfortable” test). After literally throwing away money on shoes that disappointed terribly on that comfort test, this one was a winner. Ron White’s black waterproof “cashmere suede” oxford ghillie…with a thick 3/4″ rubber sole that made me forget I was walking on sidewalks and cobblestones; satin ribbon ties dress it up just enough.


And this from my Atlanta friend, Ruthie, who has traveled more extensively and beautifully than most of my friends (but sadly lost some special jewelry on more than one of those trips). “One really shouldn’t take very much good jewelry with you while traveling (or ‘costume’ pieces, for that matter, as they look so real). You would be surprised at what a target you become. Let scarves be your necklaces.”

On that note, I think I’ll wear this shawl for tea at The Parlour at Sketch with its pink velvet banquettes.

My Travel Essentials
 To  stay organized…Small zipper case for carrying important documents, passport, itinerary, tickets.
 To capture great images…I-Phone 7 Plus (+ charger, portable battery and adapters).
 To keep to a healthy regimen…”Fitbit Charge 2″ watch (for tracking steps walked, calories consumed, heart rate).
 To pack new purchases…extra tote in the bottom of my suitcase.
 To stay energized…protein bars, trail mix, nuts.
 To stay dry…”foldables” plastic rain hat.
 To stay warm…Hanro’s spaghetti-strap silk teddy.
 To insure a good night’s sleep…a small down pillow, earplugs, and a sleeping mask.

This is the new eye mask for the plane (and home, too!) Judy found out about it from a hotel owner in St Bart’s and it’s divinely comfortable.

TIP: Be sure to pack your carry-on with at least one day’s worth of essentials in case your luggage is lost

One final tip…pack for what you hope will happen (a possible Downton Abbey dinner?).

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About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

5 thoughts on “Insider Travel Notes: Packing 101

  1. As this looks fantastic….
    Did you pack those three pairs of shoes boots in that little bag?… did you include underwear/ bras / makeup/ pajamas and all the essential?
    It’s easy to pack lightly but it’s the rest of the things that people forget to show..
    I travel consistently for business – and everyone leaves the most important ideas out.
    I am looking for someone to help me with real ideas to help traveling lighter.

  2. Loved today’s blog. I try to pack as little or as much as I can when traveling. I love packing in color themes. It helps keep the packing to a minium.
    Happy travels!!!!

  3. Hi Bettie —
    Again my congratulations on your travel luggage thoughts. I carry 3 Hermes scarves whenever. They are light and chic. The Longchamps roller bag and the foldable matching tote (compliments of the St. Andrews University 600th celebration at the Met) tucked away are perfect. Travel light on the way out of town, but fill that tote and bring back souvenirs. Keep up the fine photos and observations.


    Harriet Higgins

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