It seems that the beginning of each season is ripe with conferences, retreats, meetings and travel. While these events can be wonderful experiences, many women I talk with dislike packing for them almost as much as they dislike shopping.

Personally, packing used to provide a big challenge for me. I would always choose the biggest suitcase I could find and fill it to the brim with many more clothes than I would actually need or wear. While my ‘be prepared’ approach borrowed from the Girl Scout motto may have seemed a good intention, it did not serve me well on my journey. Often I’d find I’d have too many shirts, but not the right pants, or I’d have the perfect shoes for the dress I left behind.

When you have a packing strategy you will know for sure what you have and what you’ll need. You’ll also pack less while creating more wardrobe consistency and will make it a piece of cake to get dressed each day!

Try these tips on your next trip:

1/ Plan your wardrobe around your shoes –

Yes, you heard that right. When space is a consideration, starting from the feet and working your way up can save you valuable space in your suitcase. For example, if you want to take your best black heels, plan several outfits that they will go with, rather than just one. Several print dresses will be a perfect complement, maximizing the versatility of the shoes. This way you can take only 2 pairs of shoes (at least one pair of flats just in case). I recommend sticking with a darker neutral shoe because it will be ‘least memorable’ and no one will notice that you’re wearing the same shoes every day – only how fabulous you look!

2/ Metallica –

When packing jewelry decide on either silver or gold and stick with it. This means all your metals should relate, including those metal bits on your handbag, your dress or your shoes. When opting for a solid metal rather than anything that has color or gemstones to it will be more versatile. This allows you to swap out your earrings, pile on an extra necklace, add a cuff and give your most simple (and elegant) jewelry multiple personalities.

3/ Remember Your Pashmina –

When sitting in a conference room all day, chances are it’s going to get a bit chilly. A pashmina can work as a scarf for outerwear then double as a shawl when you get cool. Also, try rolling it up and using it as a pillow on the plane for even more versatility!

4/ Your Bottom Line –

During my travels I have seen more underwear snafu’s than you can imagine. To avoid this, lay out all your outfits and then determine which undergarments you need for each outfit. Remember, white underwear/bra does not go under white (choose skintone). If your dress or top are cut low on the sides, bring a cami. And a thong is not always the best choice. When you wear the wrong underwear with that fabulous new outfit, it only takes away from your look – and your credibility.

5/ Less is More –

When traveling, create a wardrobe capsule that will ensure all your needs are met and that you have multiple looks from only a few pieces. Plan to start with between 7 – 12 pieces of clothing (fewer for a short trip) and ensure that all your pieces are interchangeable and can be worn in multiple ways. You’ll have many options from few pieces and can get away with only a carry on!

Bonus tip – When you do need to check your bag, pack a back-up outfit in your carry-on just in case. On a recent trip, I witnessed at least several women whose bags were MIA and had to go out and spend several hundred dollars just to have 1 or 2 outfits after they had already gone shopping for new and fabulous clothes for the trip. A lightweight skirt and top or dress in a deep neutral that can be rolled up and stowed can save your image and leave you feeling like a savvy traveler.