Planning a trip around a special occasion? Destination weddings, fundraising galas and black tie events all require a specific set of clothes that often don’t travel well. And if the event is within two days of your arrival, you don’t want to blindly trust that the airline can deliver your checked bag safely into your hands.
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Although packing your formal wear in a carry on seems like an absurd feat, it’s actually very much possible with our seven tips below.
1. Do The Crunch Test
Men have it easy. For a formal event, you probably have a tuxedo or you’re renting one. But for the ladies, you’ll need a dress that travels well. Test the fabric by grabbing it in your hand, making a fist and crushing the material. The fewer wrinkles you see after you release, the better the dress is for travel.
Tip: Jacquards, velvets, crepe satins, silks and tulle travel well. Taffeta, cotton sateen and embellishments do not. We especially like silks and tulles because they generally don’t take up a lot of weight.
2. Plan Your Outfits
Whenever you’re dealing with extremely limited space, like a carry-on bag, you’ll want to only pack what you need. Take the time to determine exactly what you’re going to wear, and when, for the duration of the trip. Put the outfits on, and make sure you love the way it fits you and the way the pieces complement each other. Got all your outfits down? Great! Now add just one extra outfit for good measure.
Tip: Pack the clothes that you normally wear all the time. Chances are, you’ll gravitate towards these staple outfits on your trip as well.
3. Limit The Liquids
Yes, you need to stay below TSA’s liquid limit, but you want to shoot for even lower than that. Make sure two or three items don’t max out your liquid allowance. If you’re going on a short trip, you won’t need two-ounces worth of any product. Instead, use small sample-size liquid containers, spare contact cases or pill organizers and dole out a small amount of each product that you need to pack.
Tip: Pack a foundation stick and solid perfume instead of the liquid form.
4. Wear Big & Heavy Items To The Airport
Don’t put your biggest and heaviest items, like jackets and boots, in your carry-on. Wear them instead! Except, of course, if your biggest pair of shoes are 5-inch stilettos. In that case, we recommend going for a more comfortable pair of shoes.
5. Pack Strategically
Whether you’re a folder, a roller or a combination of both, you’ll want to pack strategically. Put your formal clothes in a garment bag and fold it down flat to maximize space in your carry-on. Then gently place it in the center of your carry on as the last item before you close your bag.
Tip: Use a hard-sided rolling carry-on to protect your formal wear from being crushed.
6. Bring A Big Personal Bag
Carriers tend to be more forgiving when it comes to personal bags. As long as it meets size requirements and fits under the seat in front of you, you’re good to go. Pack anything you can’t fit in your carry-on, oddly-shaped items and things you’ll need during the flight in your personal bag.
7. Use The Airplane Closet
Protect your formal wear from wrinkles and other overhead-bin issues by hanging it in the plane closet. Keep in mind, not all aircrafts have closets, and you’ll need to ask the flight crew to hang it for you. They don’t have any obligation to accommodate you, so make sure to be courteous and ask nicely.
BONUS TIP: Pack a Travel Credit Card
When traveling, it is crucial to carry the right credit card in your wallet. You don’t want to miss out on the perks and rewards you can earn. Here are a few we recommend you carry from our guide to The Best Travel Credit Cards.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is everybody’s favorite credit card with a big welcome bonus. The card rewards you with Ultimate Rewards points, one of the most valuable rewards currencies in existence.
Anytime you have Ultimate Rewards points, consider transferring them to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners for maximum value. To find out more about this card, keep on reading.
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a wonderful choice for anyone new to travel rewards for its simple earning structure and no transaction fee. For travelers, you’ll receive credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee. Continue reading to see all of the outstanding benefits from this mid-tier card.
The Platinum Card® from American Express is the best luxury card with no foreign transaction fees. It offers a wealth of premium benefits that you need as a traveler including Uber credits, airline credits, access to airport lounges, travel protection and more. Plus you’ll get automatic Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status. Read more below.
For further reading, check out the following guides:
Now that you’re armed with seven tips for packing formal wear in a carry-on, go travel to your posh event, wrinkle-free, with just a little suitcase.
You may also want to consider dressing up for your flight. Here are 3 Reasons Why You Should Dress Up For Your Flight.
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