Video Of The Day: Fashion For The Weather

No matter how many times I manage to put together a surprisingly weather-appropriate outfit, I can’t seem to keep tabs on what those outfits are after the day has passed. This affects my travel packing. Warm-weather climates are easy enough to deal with – a bikini, shorts, tanks, sandals and a sundress or two. Simple. Destinations with cooler weather, however, elude me. Do I need my coat or just my sweater? I should have figured this kind of basic life skill out in elementary school, but since I didn’t, there’s an app for that. Cloth is a fashion app enabling users to photograph and upload pictures of their outfits. But now Cloth is tagging outfits with the current weather and archiving them. So the next time you’re traveling to a place with weather you can’t seem to remember how to dress for, Cloth will show you your own fashion for the weather options.

Clothes Shopping in Miami

Top five uses for Ziploc® bags when traveling

Ziploc bagOver the years, I’ve become a bit of a bag lady. I’m always finding new and surprising uses for Ziploc® bags or their generic counterparts when I travel. I’m also a rabid recycler, so I like getting extra mileage out of my airport security “liquids and gels” see-through baggie.

But that’s not the only reason I love these little guys. They’re tough, they’re resealable, and they’re economical, because they usually survive multiple trips. Below, my favorite uses for this home kitchen staple:®

1. Holding a wet swimsuit.
When you’re on a day or side trip, or don’t have time to dry it before catching your flight.

2. Collect seashells.
Make sure it’s legal, first.

3. Safeguard against spilled liquids.
I also place bags on top of shaving cream canisters (secure with a rubber band). Because it only takes one exploded can in your backpack to learn your lesson.

4. Seal off your shoes (or socks) for packing.
Hiking. hot weather. ‘Nuff said.

5. Keep your passport/money/other paper valuables (including tissues/t.p.) dry.
If you’re an adventure traveler, you may find yourself in situations where your daypack (or whatever you use to carry these items) gets soaked. I’ve had to hang my passport out to dry after a.) having to hitchhike in a major storm; b.) having to swim across a deeper-than-expected creek; c.) falling into the water while climbing out of a dinghy in rough surf.

*Bonus: “Have food poisoning/need to vomit while stuck in Marrakech rush hour traffic” emergency satchel.
Not that this happened to me.

Have your own travel uses for Ziploc® bags? Let us know!

Want to cut down on plastic altogether? ChicoBags come in their own little stuff sacks, and are the size of a deck of cards. I clip one inside of my day pack when I travel for groceries or other purchases.

[Photo credit: Flickr user hfabulous]

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Briggs & Riley luggage executives offer their travel packing tips

Last week, our very own Heather Poole was interviewed by the New York Times asking for her packing tips, and this week, we’ve got some tips from the team of executives behind popular luggage brand Briggs & Riley. There are some pretty handy tips in the list, and as always, it shows that everyone has their own method of packing.

What about you? Got any tips you’d like to share with us? Leave them in the comments section below! With enough tips, we may feature you in an upcoming article with reader submitted packing tips.Richard Krulik (CEO, Briggs & Riley)

Bans bulk and sticks with a central color scheme

Be careful not to over fold, it’s what bulks things up, taking up unnecessary space. I spread things out as widely as I can, laying my slacks on the bottom of the luggage with the “legs” hanging over the sides. I pack on top of the slacks and then fold the part that’s hanging outside back in – it makes a nice gentle fold instead of a hard crease in the legs. It saves space and prevents wrinkles at the same time. With sweaters, I take thin cashmere instead of cable knit. I’ll limit the variation of colors to bring only two pairs of black shoes, which I alternate wearing.


Carole Schnall (VP Administration, Briggs & Riley)


Her clothing arrives in perfect shape every time

My clothes always arrive in perfect shape and wrinkle free – I start by folding neatly like they do in a department store, and I put plastic in between each item. I use either dry cleaner plastic or polyethylene bags which you can buy at Home Depot or Wal-Mart. I use them over and over again. I roll my underwear into my shoes and take each shoe and put it into a supermarket plastic bag and tie them up to avoid dirt, which then get placed along the edges of my bag.

Jim Lahren (VP Marketing, Briggs and Riley)

High tech app junkie

Before I pack, I check the weather for where I am going. In fact, there are many great travel apps that I use for weather forecasts and to consolidate my travel itineraries. Think about what you are going to need on that business trip. Split items among your laptop bag and luggage to save space and be prepared in case your checked luggage is delayed. I like to pack my socks and important items in my shoes to save space. As soon as I get to the hotel room I steam my shirts and pants in the shower. This gives them a clean, fresh appearance.

Chris Delgado (VP Sales, Briggs & Riley)

If the shoe fits…stuff your jacket

My packing strategy starts with “working around the shoes” and looking at what coordinates with a single pair of dress shoes. I make sure to select light weight materials and ones that don’t wrinkle. I confess to wearing workout clothes more than once. I fold slacks on the bottom and build from there, with the largest and heaviest items on the bottom. Socks and smaller garments get stuffed around the edges. I use shirts on my own hangers and use the hanging section in our Baseline or Transcend bags – then hang them up right when I arrive at my accommodation.

I love travelling with a jacket – I stuff the pockets with accessories, power cords and anything I can get in. The jacket goes through the security belt, and I don’t need to remove the electronics from my bag. No bling or big belt buckles are a cardinal rule. I’ve learned the system of what seats typically board first and aim to be one of the first to board to get good overhead space. I keep my briefcase under my seat, and am very careful to not overstuff it or take too much so that it absolutely fits under the seat. If you are going to overstuff, pick a bag that is softer like BRX or Transcend for the extra space.


Georgene Rada (VP Product Development and Design, Briggs & Riley)


Says 40% of what she originally lays out, gets scrapped as a “non-essential item”

I really do have a no- over packing philosophy, even though we make some very large bags to fit it all. I lay out everything in advance that I want to bring on a given trip, and then I look, think and cut out 40% of the stuff that isn’t essential at the last minute. I design my outfits around pieces that can work in multiple outfits and no one is really surprised when the designer from New York is wearing all black.

I make sure to have the right accent colors and in general, I stick to thin and lightweight clothing, wearing the bulkiest items while traveling to cut back on space. For toiletry items, I stick to travel-size and sample-size everything. I don’t know what I’d do without my specially designated “travel shoes” because they are easy to slip on and off at security, they are lightweight, and versatile.

Mike Scully (VP of Operations, Briggs & Riley)

Packs light with just enough

I’m a one bag; carry on kind of guy, though I recently converted to a rolling bag for the first time. It’s made me neater, perhaps because I now fold and am more conscious of space.

Organizing and compartmentalizing keeps my packing to a minimum. I pack neatly, stacking and laying items, putting socks in shoes to use all available space and separate shoes from clothing. A minimalistic and bare essential type of packer, I allow myself only one extra pair of pants and only one shirt for each day while I’m away. For shoes, unless I plan to hit the gym or beach, I stick to what’s on my feet; what can I say, I travel light. I get everything I need in, and I don’t mind an iron, that’s what they’re there for. I’m always glad I packed as lightly as possible.

Peter Mack (Director of Procurement, Briggs & Riley)

Layers like he’s heading to Alaska

The last time I traveled to Asia I swapped my old bag for a new one, downsizing from 24″ to a 22″ and got all my stuff in! The four straps on the side allow you to cinch down the bag and compress everything. Since most people tend to overstuff their carry on, they bulge out and then it’s not a carry on anymore. The straps saved me – any additional space is pulled right in.

I don’t carry that much – I prefer to do laundry on the road rather than carrying more or heavier luggage. When I have side-trips on a trip, I stay at one main hotel and leave my bag there for day trips, only taking exactly what I need for the smaller overnights. I roll because its wrinkle free – it really works. I’ve rolled sport coats starting inside out with the lining on the outside, place sleeves on inside, and start at the top by the collar and roll down to the bottom. The result: one fold line only, right down the back. I nest one shoe inside the other – flip them so they’re face to face or top to top with the openings on alternate sides. I always travel with a lot of layers on – a couple of smaller jackets and a sweater instead of a larger jacket which won’t fit into one suitcase and then I shed my layers on board.

Michael Siemank (Controller, Briggs & Riley)

Is not at all ashamed about over packing

I have a tendency to over pack. On a recent weekend trip, my adult kids got away with an overnighter, Transcend 22″, while I took a rolling duffle. I don’t care about the cost, I prefer having my stuff. I hate the hassle of trying to make sure to get on the plane early to get my carry on in the overhead bin. I hate that stress. Folding properly is the key to packing; as is planning ahead. I lay stuff out on the bed and take inventory. If I need it, it comes, if not, it stays.

Since Jet Blue is first bag free – I make a deal with my wife to stay under the 50 lb. limit – my wife is usually touching the edge, so we’ll switch things from bag to bag. If I have to pay, I pay, though I’m not thrilled about the new rules. I think it’s criminal that airlines are trying to dictate what I can bring with me. And Spirit…forget about it.

Andy Radcliffe (IT Director, Briggs & Riley)

Steals space from his kids

When traveling with my whole family, I make sure each member, including my two kids, has a regulation carry-on. I spread the same amount of clothing across all four bags instead of the two grown-up bags.

To save space, I rely on packing cubes, which segregate different types of clothing and create a mini-suitcase inside your suitcase. In recent years I’ve started packing less clothing with the thought that I can wash clothes on vacation, while staying at condos or rentals. I always make sure my clothing is wrinkle-free material and unpack immediately upon arrival.

Insider’s look: why does defining “package” matter?

For the average traveler, definitions don’t matter much. You figure out the type of trip you want to take, whip out your credit card and do the deed. It’s really pretty damned simple. But, for every purchase you make, there are countless eyes watching. Nothing nefarious is going on; it’s all actually quite innocent. When you think about how many people rely on your willingness to open your credit card – and how the travel market as a whole is being beat to hell this year – it makes perfect sense that the industry will watch, analyze and try to find new and interesting ways to get you to lay out some cash for travel.

For the business, definitions are incredibly important. When they look at where the money is going, how a particular trip is defined allows these insiders to communicate, develop strategies and invest in different excursions. If one guy says, “Packages are hot,” and another doesn’t define packages the same way, limited resources will be wasted. When money is pissed away, there isn’t as much available for discounts and other promotions. So, nailing down the lingo actually helps you in the end.

What’s at stake in all this? Well, according to travel industry research firm PhoCusWright, just over $18 billion. Yeah, it’s in bold for a reason. This is a hefty chunk of the total U.S. travel market, but it’s also among the most difficult to understand. There are nuances that mess with the vocabulary. I spent some time as a strategy analyst covering this industry, and sorting out the details is an absolute nightmare.

So, if you’re at all interested in the business of travel, take a look after the jump at the different flavors of “package.” I know there have to be a couple of geeks like me out there who find this stuff fascinating.

Okay, you made it past the jump! You’re one of the devoted. So, let’s get into the weeds. PhoCusWright has a solid definition of package: “a travel reservation containing at least two of the three major travel components (flight, accommodation, car rental) where there was a single booking and payment transaction.”

This isn’t exactly brain surgery, until you think about the different ways that you can pull this formula together. There may be other components, including transfers, day tours, activities, meals and travel insurance. Is an all-inclusive a package? According to this definition, it is. But, you’re really just booking the resort, rather than using a service to pull together the different parts from several vendors. It can get muddy fast.

A package (or, “vacation package”) may include: flight, accommodation, rental car or transfer, day tours or activities, meals and travel insurance.

A charter, on the other hand, is “a flight where the tour operator takes risk on the inventory (or owns the plane) and, usually, sells the seats as part of a package.”

This, of course, differs from “escorted tours,” which “usually include more travel components and have fixed departure dates.”

If you’re looking for a definition of “FIT,” go for the most recent. It used to translate to “foreign independent travel,” which consisted of “leisure trips abroad without an escort or fixed package structure.” This has changed, however, and now refers to “flexible independent travel.” The parts may look like a package, but the itinerary is built specifically for the traveler.

And then, there’s group travel. This consists of both packages and FITs for groups of leisure travelers, with “group” starting at nine people. But, it can vary.

Got a handle on all this? Let’s make it worse.

There are also a number of package providers. “Total vacation packagers” (TVP) is used for all tour operators – but not the online packaging conducted by the major online bookers (like Orbitz). A tour operator provides all kinds of packaged travel, with “escorted operators” a subset that focuses on specialty programs that can become pretty complicated. Online packagers aggregate and sell (duh) online, and wholesalers bundle and resell different products as packages, even if there’s no common theme.

Click here if you’re in the biz and would benefit from buying the full report.

Excess Luggage Fees & Fines

Excess LuggageLAX was an absolute mad house this morning. I’m going to full on go out there and just say it was probably the worst I’ve ever seen it in all my travels. To make matters worse I discovered my bag was over the Delta airlines weight limit and I was going to be hit with a $25 fee. “Is that going to be in cash or credit ma’am?”

Grrr…

So here’s my beef with this scenario. For starters my baggage has never been over the weight limit and secondly what is the purpose of charging innocent travelers? Isn’t the weight limit rule supposed to ensure the plane isn’t going to be too heavy? What if everyone’s bag was over the weight limit? How important would that $25 bucks be then? Ugh.

Anyways make sure you pack lightly unless you like coming out of pocket for your goods. The Travel Insider has some good info online on airline checked luggage allowances and a nice table with most airlines fees and weight limits. This should help you from going over and paying extra.