what to pack for a trip

Illustration: Gillian MacLeod

4 of 5
Stay Ahead of the Pack

The first rule of traveling alone: Don't check a bag, says Wendy Perrin, travel advocate for TripAdvisor. "The last thing you need to worry about is tracking down a bag lost by an airline," she says. Perrin's five carry-on essentials:

1. Lightweight parka: Something compressible that can be used for weather protection and as a plane pillow.

2. Backpack-style handbag: To hold necessities and your laptop—and keep your hands free to pull your suitcase.

3. Zip-top bags: For storage, toiletries, electronics and personal items you want to protect from rain or snow.

4. Pashmina shawl: Does double duty: It's an airplane blanket and an extra layer for evening outfits.

5. Gaffer's tape: Found at office supply stores, this adhesive is great for repairs to shoes, bags and hems.