1. Color Coordinate
Select simple, neutral clothes (black, white, beige) so everything works together and can be reused. Add colorful accessories. During the packing process, make sure you have all your days covered by laying out clothes by outfit.
2. Think Wrinkle-Free
No one wants to iron on vacation. Choose thin, wrinkle-resistant fabrics like cashmeres, silks and rayons rather than, say, cable knits. Companies like Magellan's (magellans.com) and TravelSmith (travelsmith.com) sell specialized travel clothes worth checking out.
3. Limit Your Shoes
Ah, there's the rub. As a rule, pack your most malleable and wear the bulkiest. If you're planning to exercise, buy crushable running shoes or consider swimming instead.
If you need to pack heavy shoes or other crushable items, layer them on the bottom of your bag. Buy some fabric shoe bags to keep things clean and nestle them between the rails in the bottom of the suitcase.
Mesh packing cubes and see-through sacks help you find what you need and make it easy for security to go through your stuff quickly.
5. Think Tiny for Toiletries
Use travel-size containers for toiletries. It's worth every minute you'll spend transferring goop from large bottles. Keep your kit stocked and ready.
6. Don't Overstuff Your Carry-On
Put your ticket and ID in a special case or pocket to avoid scrambling at security checkpoints. Keep medication and spare underwear on hand in case checked luggage is lost.
7. Make Yourself at Home
As soon as you reach the hotel, hang your clothes, put your toothbrush in the glass and your novel on the nightstand. Establish a place for work-related papers or travel brochures, and plug in your laptop and cell phone.
8. Shed What You Don't Need
Lighten your load as you go by tossing magazines and weeding out papers. Arrange to have heavy purchases shipped home.
9. Ease Re-entry
No matter how tired you are when you get home, empty your suitcase right away. Nothing weighs more heavily on you than an unpacked suitcase.