Are you planning a trip around a special occassion? Whether it be a wedding, fundraising gala or a black tie event, they all require a sepcific set of clothes that don’t travel well. Even if the event is within two days of your arrival, a lot can go wrong with your clothes within that time. Don’t leave everything up to your airline.
See our best credit card bonuses here.
Although packing your formal wear in a carry on seems like an absurd feat, it’s actually very much possible with our seven tips below.
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Do The Crunch Test
For a formal event, you probably have a tuxedo or you are renting one. However, for girls, you will need a dress that can travel well. Test the fabric by grabbing it in your hand, making a fist and crushing the material. The less wrinkles you see, the better the dress can travel.
Tip: Jacquards, velvets, crepe satins, silks and tulle travel well. Taffeta, cotton sateen and embellishments do not. We especially like silks and tulles because they generally don’t take up a lot of weight.
Plan Your Outfits
If you’re dealing with very limited space, like a carry-on bag, you will want to only pack what you need. Take the time to figure this out and take into account the duration of your trip, what you want to wear, and when it will take place. Try them on before you go to make sure you are happy with them.
Tip: Pack the clothes that you normally wear all the time. Chances are, you’ll gravitate towards these staple outfits on your trip as well.
Limit The Liquids
Yes, you need to stay below TSA’s liquid limit, but you want to shoot for even lower than that. Make sure two or three items don’t max out your liquid allowance. If you’re going on a short trip, you won’t need two-ounces worth of any product. Instead, use small sample-size liquid containers, spare contact cases or pill organizers and dole out a small amount of each product that you need to pack.
Tip: Pack a foundation stick and solid perfume instead of the liquid form.
Wear Big & Heavy Items To The Airport
Don’t put your biggest and heaviest items, like jackets and boots, in your carry-on. Wear them instead! Except, of course, if your biggest pair of shoes are 5-inch stilettos. In that case, we recommend going for a more comfortable pair of shoes.
Whether you’re a folder, a roller or a combination of both, you’ll want to pack strategically. Put your formal clothes in a garment bag and fold it down flat to maximize space in your carry-on. Then gently place it in the center of your carry on as the last item before you close your bag.
Tip: Use a hard-sided rolling carry-on to protect your formal wear from being crushed.
Bring A Big Personal Bag
Carriers tend to be more forgiving when it comes to personal bags. As long as it meets size requirements and fits under the seat in front of you, you’re good to go. Pack anything you can’t fit in your carry-on, oddly-shaped items and things you’ll need during the flight in your personal bag.
Use The Airplane Closet
Protect your formal wear from wrinkles and other overhead-bin issues by hanging it in the plane closet. Keep in mind, not all aircrafts have closets, and you’ll need to ask the flight crew to hang it for you. They don’t have any obligation to accommodate you, so make sure to be courteous and ask nicely.
Bonus: Pack a Travel Credit Card
When traveling, it is crucial to carry the right credit card in your wallet. You don’t want to miss out on the perks and rewards you can earn. Here are a few we recommend you carry from our guide to The Best Travel Credit Cards.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
• 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
• 3X points on dining
• 3X points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases
• 2X points on all other travel purchases
• 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit and when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you'll get 25% more value!
This card carries a $95 annual fee.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a one-time bonus of 75,000 Miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
You're able to earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
This card does come with a $95 annual fee. Enjoy no foreign transaction fees and receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre?®.
The Platinum Card® from American Express offers 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
• 5X Membership Rewards Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
• 5X Membership Rewards Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
This card comes with an annual fee of $695 (See Rates & Fees), but you cardholders can enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only. Terms Apply.
For further reading, check out the following guides:
Now that you’re armed with our seven tips for packing formal wear in a carry-on, go travel to your event, wrinkle-free, with just a little suitcase. We’ve also included some smaller tips to make sure you’re ahead of the game. If you’re considering traveling, be sure to check out our post on The Best Travel Credit Cards to get the most out of your travels.