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Brilliant Packing Tips From a Travel Pro

Image via Erin Condren
Image via Erin Condren

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Whether you're leaving on a jet plane or hitting the open road, most folks have to get through the first journey: packing those bags. One person who knows a thing or two about that is LA-based designer Erin Condren, whose super-colorful, customizable line of stationery, home goods, luggage, tech accessories and more lets folks match their thank you cards with their carry-ons.

A regular globetrotter who travels several times a month for work and at least six times a year with her fam, Condren made the leap into luggage design after her online search of stylish, sturdy baggage for a three-week trip to Spain turned up empty. We sat down with the creative jetsetter to get her top tips for packing like a travel pro.

1. Make a checklist. I designed a personalized checklist to help ensure that everything gets packed. Without a list, I'm totally lost. There are so many little things that can make a BIG difference on any trip. Earplugs, iDevice chargers, Motrin...not all these things are in one place at my house so it's a bit like a scavenger hunt, but the checklist ensures that nothing is left out.

2. Leave space in your suitcase. I'm not a gal that packs lightly. It drives my business partner nuts since he NEVER checks a bag, but this girl likes options. I always check the weather forecast while I'm packing, but my iPhone is not always right. I also don't know what mood I'm going to be in...a dress with heels? Or more comfy after a long workday in boots and jeans? If I have room in my suitcase, I'd rather decide when I'm there.

3. Roll everything up. My first job out of college was in the apparel industry. My boss taught me how to ROLL all my samples into "tubes" that I could pack in like sardines! If done right, they really aren't even wrinkled when unrolled. It's amazing how many garments I can pack into one bag with this technique. I also like luggage with compartments so I can keep my necklaces & jewelry separate so they don't snag any sweaters, my shoes on the opposite side from clothes, and undergarments all together in a separate pocket.

4. Tape up your toiletry baggie. I try to carry on my toiletries, but this means I have to have travel size containers, which sometimes is a pain with my favorite sunblocks & hair products. Even in a plastic bag, I've had my lotions EXPLODE in my luggage and ruin my clothes! If I have to pack larger containers, I use Scotch tape to keep the tops from opening and pack extra Ziploc bags for the return trip home. Inevitably, something always leaks!
· Erin Condren [Official Site]
· All Travel Week 2013 Posts [Racked]