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Organized Travel Part 2: Packing

I’m back with more Top Travel Tips from my Frequent Flyer Friends. The weather is heating up and if you are thinking about getting out of town, these tips will help you pack for order and elegance.

Almost everyone I query tells me that packing light is the key to a sane trip. “Minimize!” Margrit Mondavi, says. The Robert Mondavi arts and culture ambassador is famous for rolling up her Issey Miyake no-wrinkle clothes and putting them in a tote with a few other essentials and a pair of pumps. She can look chic whether she lands in Paris or Japan, and she can still carry her own bag. “Pack intelligently; organize by color, all black or all navy or all tan,” she advises about accessories, “and remember that you can wear one pair of pants with different tops.”

Molly Chappellet, author, garden designer and co-owner of Chappellet Winery, warns against waiting for the night before to pack.

“The more time you have to plan ahead and think about the country, the culture, the climate, and whether you will be roughing it or in a city, the better experience you will have,” she said.

“Also, the more time you spend planning, the smaller the bags you will need to take. Nowadays, there are rarely porters around and it doesn’t look very elegant to struggle with oversized luggage at a European train station.”

Wine, Women & Shoes founder Elaine Honig is never without a steamer (she likes the Emerson, $30 at amazon.com) when she travels, and also employs this terrific packing strategy: “If I don’t know about the dress code for an event, I Google search images of the event so I can see what people wore last year.”

Elaine also travels mainly with black clothing that she can “sass up” with jewelry. She is sure to double check the weather for her destination to make sure she’s packed appropriately.

I try to never check a bag. But if I have to, I still carry on my medicine, make-up, one key outfit and any valuables, just in case my luggage disappears or arrives late.

Having essential extras in your carry-on can also be a boon in flight. Nutritionist Karen Schuppert states, “I always pack an overnight kit with toothpaste, tooth and hairbrush, face cream and face spritzer to take on board. Overnight flights can be brutal and it’s great to have a little refresher.” You can feel first class even if you are in the back near the bathroom.

Schuppert’s extensive travel files, which I helped her organize, have made her a major resource for travel-bound friends. In addition to her nutrition business, she is now creative director of Napa Sole, importing San Miguel shoes, designed for the streets of San Miguel de Allende.

I just took a pair to Italy and they work well on the Roman cobblestones. You can get more information on the shoes by calling 707-304-4665.

Verve Napa Valley owner T Beller leads some of the best organized luxury tours in California wine country and loves to travel herself.

“The best thing I’ve learned is to roll my clothes. I roll socks, underwear, tights and things and stuff them into my shoes and boots. It saves room and helps the footwear keep its shape.”

Erin Beller, an environmental scientist and Beller’s daughter, loves to tread the road less traveled. She taught me about Chaco sandals, a great open-style shoe perfect for rain forest conditions and comfortable enough to hike in. Erin is a notoriously light packer, and if she had a choice between a foreign language dictionary and an extra outfit, she’d go with the book. “Learn a few phrases of the local language,” Beller counsels. “Even just hello, please, and thank you can get you far.”