Keep calm and carry on. It was a phrase emblazoned on posters by the British government to boost public morale during the Second World War.
These days, “keep calm and carry on” is more than just a saying on a propaganda poster. It’s also sound travel advice. To win the war against baggage fees, it’s important to fit all the vacation essentials into your carry-on luggage.
Here’s a guide to the necessities for your Florida destination of choice:
Miami Beach: Ditch the sweater, and instead pack a sarong. Inspired by the Pacific Islands, this garment will do triple-duty on your vacation to Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Use it on the airplane to keep warm and on South Beach as a cover-up. When the sun goes down, tie it around your neck and waist to create a sultry halter dress.
Key West: Rather than loading up on formal outfits, bring several bathing suits for your visit to the land nicknamed the Conch Republic. It’s been said that if you’re doing Key West properly, you’ll spend half your time soaking wet -- enjoying the beach, fishing, playing water sports, boating and so on. Swimwear is more like round-the-clock wear in the Keys, so just sandals and a cover-up will suffice indoors.
Orlando: Rather than a bulky backpack, opt for a midsized front-facing bag. This way, you can go on theme park rides without having to stash your backpack in a locker or, worse, leaving one family sidelined with everyone else’s stuff. Find a bag that’s large enough to hold the essentials but small enough to squeeze between you and the seatbelt on rides. Even better, have each family member carry his or her own small bag. Your 4-year-old’s security blanket won’t seem so essential when she’s made to lug it herself.
St. Augustine: No need for sandals and high heels. St. Augustine is one city where function outweighs fashion, so stick to flats. Those cobblestone streets will seem much more charming if you can actually walk on them. And why risk getting your Louboutins stuck between bricks or having your flip-flops slip off as you climb into a horse-drawn carriage? A pair of reasonably dress flat shoes will serve you for both strolling through the streets and sitting down to a nice dinner at 95 Cordova inside the Casa Monica Hotel.
Tallahassee: On a college tour of Florida State or Florida A&M University, there’s no need to weigh yourself down with snacks. Instead, just bring an open mind -- which, conveniently, won’t take up any room in your suitcase and leave more space for the real must-haves, like shower shoes. Try out the dining hall, and when it’s closed, explore Tally’s many affordable dining options. If you’re homesick for comfort food, follow Cravings Food Truck on Twitter @CravingsTruck to find out where you can get your chicken-and-waffles fix. And if you’ve already fallen into that timeless coed tradition of crawling out of bed at 3 p.m., head to Angelette's Cajun Kitchen (3551 Blair Stone Road), which serves breakfast all day.
A great trip starts with packing smart. So carry the essentials without getting weighed down by baggage fees. And remember: Always pack -- and wear -- sunscreen.