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RISMEDIA, January 8, 2010—(MCT)—Long lines, missing luggage and excess-baggage fees represent today’s travel industry. Whether you are packing for a short excursion or an international vacation, the one bag strategy will help reduce the stress of traveling. This packing plan—which also works for train and auto trips—saves money, while reducing stress and excess weight.

Equipment: We favor compact pieces of carry-on luggage with expandable, built-in compartments for toiletries, shoes and clothing. Pack clean socks and undergarments inside footwear to save space and preserve the shape of the shoes. Pack functional gear, including electronic devices, in the smallest sizes available. Look for universal earphones and battery chargers to downsize your packing list. Eliminate bulky reading material by using your smart phone or laptop to enjoy your favorite books and articles.

Route rules: Size requirements vary from airline to airline. Most allow each passenger to walk on to a plane with a small carry-on that can be stowed under the seat (a purse or a laptop computer bag), and a compact bag for the overhead luggage compartment. Beware: Some carriers have strict size requirements and aggressively enforce a one-bag rule, which means that your excess baggage will be tagged, taxed and re-routed as you board the plane. Likewise, trains and buses may also have weight and size requirements, with additional fees for excess weight.

Airtight wardrobe: Pack thin, quick-drying clothes in coordinating colors that can be worn in layers. Select wrinkle-free outfits that can travel from daytime to evening or from event to event, with minimal drama or accessory changes. Wear bulkier items such as sweaters or parkas on to the plane. It doesn’t cost more to travel with extra clothes on your back.

Toiletries: Practical kits of small, airline-approved, reusable bottles are an affordable way to save space and money. These containers can be refilled from larger bottles at home or on location. Solid bars of shampoo and hair conditioner preserve money and space. Certain cosmetic items can do double duty. For example, lip liners can be used as a rub-on blush and mascara makes an excellent touch-up tool for streaks of gray hair.

(c) 2009, McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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