Samantha Brown: Samantha Brown Just Shared 5 Easy Packing Hacks She Swears By

She’s seriously a pro.

By Stacey Leasca

Published on August 7, 2022


If there’s one person you can trust for some serious packing advice, it’s Samantha Brown. The two-time Emmy Award-winning host of PBS’ “Places to Love” has been to more than 60 countries around the globe, sharing her incredible adventures with us for decades. And now, she’s sharing a few inside tips on how she maximizes her luggage space so she never overpacks on a personal or professional excursion.

“While in production for ‘Samantha Brown’s Places to Love,’ my travels are usually 10-12 days. So, I’m always checking a 28-inch [bag],” Brown shared with Travel + Leisure when asked if she’s a die-hard carry-on only traveler or more go with the flow. “Really any trip over five days, I’ll check a bag.”

Now that it’s been established that Brown is a person who’s happy to go with whatever bag’s necessary, here are a few more pieces of packing advice every globetrotter should follow.

Give wardrobe planning a try

No matter how long you’ll be away, Brown suggested writing down all of the scenarios your wardrobe will have to accommodate, from hiking trips to fancy cocktail parties. “This will help guide travelers in determining what is necessary to pack and what can be left behind,” she said.

You can also take it one step further by color coordinating your clothing items so you can mix and match with ease. “I love gray,” Brown shared. “It’s a softer neutral than black or navy and pairs with every color out there.”


Color coordinating and wardrobe planning will also allow you to edit with abandon, pairing down to only what you need. And that includes shoes. On this front, Brown keeps it limited.

“Shoes are a luggage nemesis because they take up too much room,” she said. I wear a comfy sneaker or loafer on the plane, then pack a flat and a dressy shoe with a heel, and that’s it.”

Trade in your toiletries

To save significant suitcase real estate (and eliminate single-use plastics), Brown said it’s time to trash toothpaste tubes and opt for zero-waste toothpaste tablets and a biodegradable toothbrush instead. You can also take it one step further by swapping shampoo and conditioner bottles for shampoo and conditioner bars. But that doesn’t mean you must sacrifice looking your best while away.

The one thing Brown never travels without? “Velcro rollers. I always want to look good but don’t want to invest the time in hair styling,” she shared. “In the morning, I put them in and do some work for 30 minutes, take them out, and I’m ready to head out.”


Making the most of every little corner

As Brown said, “don’t let the space between the suitcase handles go to waste.” Instead, fill that void with socks, underwear, and other small items topped with packing cubes (which she said should also be filled with rolled-up clothing separated by clothing type, i.e., shirts, shorts, etc.). Breakable items can also be stuffed inside shoes or wrapped inside clothing for safekeeping on the way home.

Try vacuum bags for kids

Traveling with kids? Brown shared she always packs an extra-large vacuum storage bag as a laundry bag. “Throw all their clothes in and roll the air out,” she said. “It compresses all that dirty laundry, and I have more space in their luggage coming home than when we had going there.”

Understand how much stuff your luggage can really handle

According to Brown, we may not be utilizing every inch of real estate in our carry-ons. “To pack even more in a standard carry-on, expand the bag, fill it to the brim, then zip it back up, so it’s no longer expanded. It’s like having a more expensive compression bag,” she shared both here and in this extremely handy explainer on Instagram.

Also, make sure to choose the right bag, she noted.

“A hardside suitcase with compartments can be a wardrobe savior,” Brown said. “When opening the bag in the middle everything stays put, and hardside bags with exterior pockets make it easy to grab an essential without needing to unzip the whole bag.”

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