9 Packing Mistakes to Avoid

The style experts at Nordstrom Trunk Club offer tips for avoiding common travel packing mistakes, including advice for Memorial Day and business travel.

Photo By: Nordstrom/Trunk Club

Photo By: Nordstrom/Trunk Club

Photo By: Nordstrom/Trunk Club

Photo By: Loch and Key

Photo By: Jupiterimages

Photo By: Sam Zachrich

Photo By: Nordstrom/Trunk Club

Photo By: Nordstrom/Trunk Club

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

1: Not Practicing Smart Business-Travel Packing Rules

Maggie Mee, head of merchandising at Nordstrom's Trunk Club, a personalized styling service, has some solid advice when it comes to packing for business travel. "When traveling for business, items that don't easily wrinkle and that you feel comfortable and confident wearing should all be considerations," says Mee. "Wool and bamboo are great fabric choices as both are temperature regulating, dry quickly, wrinkle less and are lightweight. A knit sport coat stands up well to travel and gives a polished look, while layering a lightweight merino wool sweater over a dress shirt can hide wrinkles. Choosing complementary colors and textures is helpful, too, should you need to accommodate for weather or a last-minute wardrobe emergency. Consider also bringing at least one bold pattern—it can help you stand out, initiate conversation and may even hide some stains."

2: Not Packing Appropriately for the City You Are Traveling To

According to a Trunk Club survey, 21% of travelers have to purchase an item while on their trip because of "feeling out of place in the clothing they packed." Look at dress codes at the restaurants where you plan on dining and pack at least one dressier outfit for unexpected invitations. If you are traveling to a city, especially a foreign city, consider how expectations for proper attire may be less relaxed than in smaller American cities or towns. Remember that many religious sites require more coverage than most tourists are used to, especially in the summer, so also take those sorts of strictures into consideration.

3: Not Checking the Weather Forecast

Fifty percent of travelers have to buy something new because of unexpected weather says the Trunk Club and OnePoll travel survey. Pack a light rain jacket for the inclement weather that can pop up and turn well-laid plans suddenly soggy. Mee suggests, "when bringing outerwear or other bulky items, wear it on the plane so you can save your suitcase space for other valuable layers." And don't worry about packing an umbrella says Mee. "Most hotel lobbies have umbrellas you can borrow."

4: Forgetting to Pack Some Emergency Clothes-Care Items

According to the experts at Nordstrom Trunk Club, 35% of travelers have to buy something new because of a spill or damage. Packing a compact sewing kit, a Shout pen and other disaster-fighting tools can help avert last minute wardrobe disasters.

5: Packing Too Quickly

Most travelers pack 24 hours before they leave for a trip, which means they may not have thought through what they will bring with them.

6: Packing Underused Items

Jackets, long-sleeved shirts and socks were ranked the most likely to never be touched in Nordstrom Trunk Club's survey of 2,000 travelers' packing habits.

7: Not Packing Layers

Always keep changes of weather in mind when packing, especially if you have long days outdoors planned. When packing for Memorial Day weekend, Trunk Club's Maggie Mee recommends some key pieces that are stylish and multi-functional. "For women, wide leg cropped pants serve as a trendy versatile base. You can pair them with a cami or knit tee. Fitted tops complement the wide pant leg. You might also think about swapping out dresses for jumpsuits this Memorial Day weekend. They're perfect for moving around a picnic and leave you feeling comfortable and carefree."

8: Not Considering Comfort

Trunk Club's Maggie Mee has three tips for business travelers to consider when packing for a work trip. "1. Don't wear your jacket or third piece while in flight. Gently fold and place on the top of your carry on. 2. Wear lightweight layers to help hide wrinkles and make sure that you're comfortable while in flight. Patterned fabrics also hide the look of wrinkles. 3. Bring a small bottle of wrinkle release spray in your carry on to remove any wrinkles that might have developed on the plane. If you'll have time to check into your hotel, you might also think about bringing a small steamer to freshen up your look." In addition, if you want to be comfortable and fresh for arrival, Mee recommends a change of costume during the travel portion of your trip. "I'd also encourage you to switch up your footwear from flight to meeting. A pair of flats or sneakers are perfect for getting through airport security and keeping you comfortable and can be quickly swapped out for a pair of heels, boots or dress shoes when you arrive at your final destination."

9: Not Planning for Spills

Maggie Mee has some tips for the accident-prone traveler. "I suggest wearing prints which can hide spills. If you've packed light colors to wear to an event, stick to clear liquids and light colored foods to reduce your risk of stains. When packing, make sure to separate your toiletries from your clothing. If you can put them in a separate bag, even better!"

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