Pro Packer - Or Not

I've had a few readers email me asking for a post on how to pack for a vacation. While I'm not a last minute packer, I loathe packing. The anal-retentive part of me love it because I get obsessively technical about packing, but the free-spirited part just wishes I could bring my whole wardrobe to wherever I'm going.

I think what a good packer is depends on each person - for some people, it's the ability to pack as little as possible, for others it's the ability to maximise what they've brought in the span of time that they'll be away. For me however, it's about actually using all the clothes I've brought for a trip.

I start by planning my outfits - usually involves my current favourite things in the wardrobe, depending on the climate to which I'll be going to. New York is transitioning between summer and fall, which means it'll be warm enough, and yet chilly enough - my favourite kind of weather. I enjoy listing things down, so this starts as early as a few weeks before my trip. For things like my 'jammies, I tend to bring stuff that are ancient or that I won't wear any more so I can dump 'em and make more space in my suitcase. I didn't bring much knickers this trip, not because I will be going commando, but cos' I'm going to stock up on Victoria's Secret fabulous line of seamless underwear.

Then I think about what I want to do during the trip - this trip will involve debauchery with two of my favourite girlfriends who have never been to New York: I'll be playing tour guide. On top of that, I will have work-related meetings and I'll be fashion weeking, meaning I can't afford to wing it and hope that I find something I like at Beacon's Closet. I'm also going to keep my shopping to an absolute minimal, so hopefully, by having a suitcase chock-full of clothes, I'd have the common sense not to help the US economy by shopping like crazy.

Then, my shoes and accessories What are the most comfortable shoes I have, that's not heavy, and what can I gallivant around Lower East Side with into the wee hours of the morning. For this trip, I'm bringing two pairs of heels, one pair of sandals and a pair of flats. I haven't decided if which shoes I'm wearing to the airport yet.

Then, my grooming When I go to places in Europe or in Asia that I'm not familiar with, I tend to bring my own shampoo and conditioner so my hair doesn't get screwed up, but I know I'll be worshipping Ricky's and Duane Reade quite a bit when I'm in NYC so save for my make up, and travel toiletries I can use while in the plane, I'm just going to buy everything there.

Finally, I dump it all in my bag, throw in a couple of extra tanks and t-shirts and my gadgets and I'm all set to go!

How do you pack?