I love traveling. I love it so much that while I am on vacation, I am already planning my next one! But I sure don't like packing. And unpacking is even worse! I must be a slow learner because it took years of making mistakes to learn what to take and what to take it in. You may not use all these tips, but here are the ones that have worked for me and my family and friends.

The goals are to look good and feel good — and still be a smart packer.

1. What kind of luggage should I bring?

Weight and dimensions of luggage are always the problem when it comes to selecting suitcases and wheelies. You might not like — or believe — what I am going to say, but regardless of how long I am going to be traveling, I only take the lightest four-wheel carry-on, and a shoulder tote that will hold my travel shoulder bag.

Why are only these two items a good idea? When my husband and I returned from Milano, Italy, ahead of schedule to the Atlanta airport, we weren't happy that our connecting flight home was a five-hour wait.

The airline employee at the ticket counter said there was a flight leaving in twenty minutes — with three seats left — but we could only get on it if we had not checked any bags. We showed her each of our wheelies and totes. She smiled and said: "Good thing—we have new security rules." We arrived home long before we would even have left Atlanta!

If possible, buy luggage from the same set. If you can't, then mix a neutral color such as grey or black with a bold color. I like HammacherSchlemmer's less than four pounds four-wheeled wheelie.

2. What should I look for in a shoulder bag?

Again, look for lightweight ones. Buying online is difficult because you often don't know the weight. If you like leather, look for ones made from lambskin.

Pockets are lifesavers. Look for something that has an outside zipped compartment or large pocket. You don’t want to be fumbling for things you need right away.

I prefer flap fronts for safety reasons—no one can unzip your bag while you are snapping photos! And I also like bags with feet. You just never know what’s on the ground. If there aren’t any feet, go to JoAnn’s Fabrics, buy feet, and have your shoemaker put them on!

And, size-wise, you will need to do a "Goldilocks:" Not so small a bag that you can’t fit a sweater or a roll up hat — but not so big that you regret carrying it. Look for bags with both shoulder straps and cross-body straps so that your back won’t ache. If it doesn’t have a cross-body strap, you might be able to use one from another bag. Many luxury designers make backpacks, but most of them still have too many pockets facing out and enticing pickpockets.

Think about the colors of your clothes ahead of time to help you decide the color of your bag. If you are packing neutrals, go bold. If you are packing lots of color, go neutral. But, on the other hand, you can never go too wrong with deep plums or reds!

Finally, select a bag that folds flat in your wheelie or that opens up inside your tote. Then you can pack your handbag with your essentials and have easy access to them. As soon as you deplane, you can just lift your handbag out of your tote and look and feel more stylish.

Look at Michael Kors' quilted leather bags. If you want a bag that is more weatherproof, select a coated canvas such as Louis Vuitton's or the leather-trimmed Longchamp canvas messenger bags.

The goal is to have one bag that can go directly from day to night.

3. How many outfits do I pack?

Okay — now you are really in the "I can't believe that's all she takes" area. Think about it: Do you really want to lug luggage and have to check it — especially on journeys that consist of lots of legs and more chances for your luggage to get lost? Of course not! So, here are my top tried and true tips.

  1. Take as few clothing items that serve only one function. You know what I mean—that super sexy dress or that killer blazer that is so trim fit that you can’t wear a sweater under it.
  2. Instead, to look crisp and pulled-together, I pack three or four lightweight cashmere or cotton sweater sets from J. Crew. I wear one set on the plane. I also bring two long, semi-fitted cotton blazers—usually one in black or gray — and one in either a bold or neutral color. I wear both of them on the plane! There is no law as how many layers you can wear on a plane! You can take off a few layers and hang them up or toss over your wheelie in your overhead compartment!

    Some men can manage this trick as well. Wear one blazer over a lighter weight leather or cotton hoodie or zip up jacket.

    And, despite the advice about only packing neutrals—don't do it. You will get sick of looking at yourself! Consider taking go-with-everything-colors such as pale lavenders, pinks or blues. For men, take several tee shirts in different colors in navy, light blue, gray, tan or even orange or red!

  3. I also pack two sheer, chiffon-like peasant blouses. I bring one flirty skirt, usually in black.
  4. I wear one pair of skinny jeans on the plane and I pack two or three more in my wheelie.
  5. Don't bring undergarments or socks for every day. It doesn't take that long to wash them out. For bedtime wear, I bring one or two short nighties that can also serve as a pool or beach cover up!

    Instead of using tissue paper in between clothes or those vacuum packing bags that, in a weird way, take up room at the corners, try using your undergarments, chiffon blouses, bathing suit, and socks as a layer between the folds of your clothing.

4. How much jewelry and make up should I take?

Take as little as possible! Bring one set each of earrings, necklace, and bracelet in gold and silver. Since jewelry is such an easy thing to buy and bring back home, it's likely that you'll find something new on your travels. One travel tip that I learned years ago from my mother-in-law was to put your jewelry in a larger size pill containers that has those daily compartments.

And, according to my travel rule of taking things that serve more than one purpose, consider wearing instead a lightweight scarf tied at your neck like a kerchief. If you get cold, it will also keep you warm.

Limit your make up to the smallest number of items you need to feel confident. You don’t need three shades of eyeliner!

5. What do I do about shoes and work out clothing?

I don't like to bring clothes that only serve for workout wear. Instead, I bring plain, fitted, cotton, capped-sleeves tops or wicking camisoles with built in bras or cotton. I’ve also used the cotton shell from J. Crew’s sweater sets! You can wear any of these items anytime, and they are great for layering.

I buy Hue's skinny jeans for both daytime and workout clothing. They also stretch enough for yoga. You probably have your own favorite brands, but keep in mind this question: Would I wear this when I am not in the gym? Men should ask themselves the same question! I've seen men wear bathing suits for gym clothes — and daytime shorts for workout clothes.

Ah — and now that big pack item: shoes! Bring a pair of your most supportive sneakers in black, tan, gray or light blue—depending on the color of your pants or dresses. I bring only black skinny jeans, so I bring either a black or gray pair of sneakers. I favor the gray, however, since, if I wear a skirt or dress, the gray "fades" into my legs. Look at your skin tones, and use them as a guide as to what color sneaker to buy.

I wear my sneakers on the plane for reasons of comfort and for more room in my travel bags. I also bring one pair of neutral-colored, patent leather-trimmed Cole Haan tie-up shoes. They look smart, they are good for walking, and they give your clothes a distinct and polished 40’s look. Men should pack one other walking shoe that has a handsome look, too. Finally, see if you can squeeze in one pair of flexible sandals that can survive getting wet so you can use them at the pool!

I hope I gave you enough to at least kick-start your thinking differently about packing.

I hope these tips help. Your story could be featured in my next book: Becoming Your Own Intuitive Angel: How to Know What You Already Know.

Just supply the following information. Tell me in a few sentences or paragraph about:

  1. When did you listen or not listen to your intuition about anything — a job, a relationship, friend, health, a decision or warning, or something else?
  2. How did you sense the signs, cues, feelings or thoughts from this intuition?
  3. What happened?
Author's Bio: 

Dr. LeslieBeth (LB) Wish is a nationally recognized psychologist and licensed clinical social worker #7132, honored for her pioneering work with women’s issues in love, life, work and family. The National Association of Social Workers has named her as One of the Fifty who has contributed to the field. She is the subject of biographical entry in many Marquis’ Who’s Who publications. Her latest self-help, research-based books are Smart Relationships and The Love Adventures of Almost Smart Cookie, the cartoon companion book where you can follow a year of Cookie’s love missteps and learn about yours! Discover more and check out her books by signing up on her website. Visit www.lovevictory.com