4. Pack in a Small, Open Bag to Simplify, tested by Amanda Sims
I wasn't always a smart packer, more the type who would rather lift a whole stack of shirts from the drawer and slip them into a duffel rather than thinking critically about which two I actually might need.
But that system recently changed when I started taking simpler, more spontaneous trips. The reality of day trip travel from New York City, which frequently requires more than one mode of transportation, is that you really cannot be bogged down by a suitcase the size of your body. There are lots of tips for paring down when you pack—from rolling clothes so more will fit to mapping out your days by outfit and packing them in Ziplocs. But the most foolproof method I've found is to limit the size of the bag you travel with: Pack in an open tote bag and you will take less, feel freer.
You'll have room for one pair of presentable shoes along with a kick-around pair on your feet, a few bottoms and a few tops. Your laptop, if it insists on tagging along, can slip inside. Toiletries? Get the minis. Even on plane flights, an open tote bag can slip right under the seat in front of you, and the feeling of freedom as you stroll past baggage claim will last well beyond the return trip home.
Photo credit: Amanda Sims/Food52