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Travel Advice

Choose the right suitcase

Your suitcase is part of your image, don't neglect it. Many derogatory comments are made about worn or mismatched luggage. There are many good quality, reasonably priced suitcases on the market. Of course, luggage must also be practicle. Very soft bags are undesirable as they wont protect your clothes. Choose a type that can withstand being kicked and thrown; this is, unfortunately what often happens. The best suitcase have hard frames and sides.

As far as quality is concerned, you will be prepared for most trips with the following: one large suitcase, one medium suitcase and one bag with shoulder straps. With this luggage you will be prepared to go on a long trip (by taking all three) or a short one (using the small-to-medium one). The shoulder bag, of course, can be used or not, depending on what you need. Unless you go away for longer then a month, these three pieces will be sufficient. If not, you have picked out to many clothes.

Packing your clothes. When you take all three bags with you, the medium one should be reserved for shoes (packed in plastic bags), sweaters, handbags, underwear, and hair dryers. The large suitcase will then be reserved for clothes, which will not be crushed by shoes or other heavy items. In the shoulder bag, which you can take with you on board a plane or train, put you cosmetic bag, camera, jewellery, the book you want to read while traveling - in other words, all the odds and ends you need. Having to put the heavier, bulkier items in the smaller suitcase, you are now ready to pack your clothes in the large one.

Start with your raincoat, pants and jackets. Place them flat in the suit case to fill out as much surface as possible without folding them. Whatever hangs over must be folded into the case. Pants are put in length wise, folded in once. With a jacket, dress or blouse, put the top part in first, horizontally, next fold in the sleeves and then fold over the bottom part. This system allows you to put the maximum in a suit cast without wrinkling clothes. Delicate blouses and dresses should go in last. Belts should not be rolled up and shoved in a corner, but placed around the edge of the case, to prevent them for snagging on other items.

If you are going on a short trip, take only the small suitcase. Put your shoes in first, opposite the handles. (this why they wont shift and cover everything else when the case is carried or standing up.) to save space, tuck soft, small things - hose, lingerie - inside the shoes. Next to the shoes place handbags, sweaters, t-shirts and robes, making the surface as flat as possible. Then put the rest of your clothes on top.

How to avoid wrinkled clothes. Don't pack you bags to tightly. Put individual items under plastic covers. You can also use tissue paper, but it's not quite as effective. All items with buttons should be closed. And since the old trick of hanging clothes in a steamy bathroom doesn't always work, take along a travel iron.

How to pack make-up. To safe-guard against forgetting your favorite eyeshadow or lipstick, pack you cosmetic bag a few days before going on your trip. Then, while your still at home, do your make-up using only things out of that bag, and replace them immediately afterwards. In other words pretend to be on your trip already. This way you will know for sure what is missing before you leave. Lotions, perfumes and creams should be put in plastic containers, be sure to squeeze out the air before finally closing them, to allow for air expansion. If your traveling by air, put things like hair spray and spray deodorant in a closed plastic bag, because they sometimes explode or open in transit and the result can be messy.

Choose a spacious and practical handbag. Also be selective about what you carry in it. Choose a color that either matches your outfit or your luggage. Items that might become handy: raincoat; bathers; scissors; soap; shower cap; a folding umbrella; alarm clock; small sewing kit; scotch tape; one or two folding coat-hangers; several plastic bags- handy for packing a wet swimsuit, lingerie that is not quite dry, or soiled items; an extra folding bag for carrying awkward parcels on the way home.

Attach labels, with your name on the outside - and inside of your luggage. It's not a good idea to include the address. In any case, if your suitcase is lost you will be giving your address to the airline. Have a pleasant trip!!

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