No one can pack a carry-on like Martha. (Photo: Getty Images)
From baking and decorating to crafts and weddings, Martha Stewart knows how to make most things perfectly. It only makes sense that we’d turn to her for her instructions on how to be a classy traveler.
Here’s how to travel like Martha does. (You can thank us later.):
1. To Check or Not to Check
For two- or three-day trips, carry on a duffel bag or handbag; a smaller messenger bag; and a small “wheelie” that fits into a plane’s overhead compartment. If you need to check your luggage, use a rigid aluminum suitcase.
Really good luggage should never be checked unless the bags can be shrink-wrapped or covered with a canvas or waterproof covering.
One trip to the baggage carousel is proof enough that nearly all suitcases look alike. A bright-green ribbon tied to the handle distinguishes each of my bags from everyone else’s.
I always carry on my contact lens container and solution, just in case I am separated from my luggage.
2. Assemble Outfits in Advance
My trips are always extremely busy, so I plan what I’ll wear to each event beforehand to ensure that I don’t take extra clothes. I put each outfit on a single hanger and wrap it in plastic. Packing by outfit enables you to figure out while packing exactly which undergarments, stockings, shoes, scarves and purses will be needed. With this one-outfit-per-hanger system, wrinkles are minimized, and I can hang up items as soon as I arrive.
Martha always plans her outfits ahead of time. (Photo: Instagram)
Related: Confessions of an Overpacker
3. Write It Down
I always keep a list of essential, “do not forget” items:
A favorite tea
A couple pieces of ribbon or waxed twine (to tie suitcase zippers closed)
Extra resealable plastic bags
Contact lenses and cleaning solution
Camera with two memory cards
Kindle for reading on plane
4. Properly Pack Shoes
Shoes are usually the heaviest cargo in a travel bag. To prevent them from crushing delicate clothing, I tuck them around the perimeter of the suitcase. Each pair is kept in an individual drawstring-topped shoe bag. I stuff the toes of my pumps and other dress shoes with acid-free tissue paper; socks go inside sneakers and slides.
Don’t let shoes ruin the perfect packing job. (Photo: Getty Images)
5. Make Sure Chargers Don’t Get Tangled
These days, traveling means toting around a lot of electronics. I pack each charger separately in a labeled, resealable plastic bag so everything is visible and at my fingertips.
Keeping cords separate will save you time and your sanity. (Photo: Veer)
6. Bring Along Light and Easy Reading
I carry my Kindle, which lets me scan an array of books and newspapers.
7. Take Extra Security Precautions
Many luggage locks are forbidden under security regulations. I tie the zipper pull tags on my suitcase together with a piece of waxed twine. That way, I can tell if it has been opened.
8. Fold Properly to Avoid Wrinkles
Place the outfit face down on a bed or a table. Tuck the pant legs under, creasing at the knees or in thirds. Then fold in the shirt’s sleeves, and make a final fold at the bottom to fit inside the suitcase. Slip a clear plastic garment bag (you can use one from a dry cleaner) over the entire bundle, tucking in any excess plastic.
There’s a right way to pack and there is the way you pack. (Photo: Getty Images)
9. Always Hire a Guide
If you’re planning a trip to a fabulous city, I suggest reserving a hotel in a central location. An out-of-the-way hotel might be charming, but you’ll end up spending a lot on taxi fares. I also suggest hiring a tour guide if you only have a few days to visit. A well-informed guide will point you to the most important sites and tailor the trip to your interests. If you decide against hiring a guide, stop in at a popular cafe in the morning and introduce yourself to locals sipping their cappuccinos; you can usually rely on getting some great advice.
10. Drink up
Stay hydrated — particularly on a long trip — to avoid fatigue and muscle aches. Cooled or heated recirculated air in planes, trains and automobiles has a significant drying effect, which can leave you parched both inside and out. Drink lots of water (not alcohol, but you knew that) while on the road, and spritz your favorite skin tonic on your face to keep a healthy, hydrated glow. Air travelers should drink 16 ounces of water before boarding a flight, and drink at least 8 ounces of water per hour while flying.
Martha Stewart will be participating in Caesars Entertainment’s sixth annual Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival on Friday, July 25 through Sunday, July 27. For more information and tickets, visit: www.acfoodandwine.com.