Packing Ratio for Travel

For Travel Expert Anne McAlpin,
the perfect packing ratio is 3:1

A ratio, when it comes to packing, is the number of tops you pack per every bottom. If you think about it, you probably have one that you follow automatically every time you pack. This will vary from person to person, and even from trip to trip, depending on your personal style, your reason for traveling, and your access to laundry.

Why 3:1?

Packing three tops to every bottom allows you to pack a wide variety of outfits using only a few, versatile pieces. By planning your wardrobe around a central, neutral color everything can mix and match. (This way you aren’t forced to wear that one shirt only with that one skirt.) Multi-use items can extend your wardrobe even further.


The following are some of our favorite multi-use items for any traveler:




The Travel Blazer from Flair is classic enough for a fancy dinner, and comfortable enough for the airplane. It looks good with jeans, slacks, dresses and skirts, and can be layered with other pieces for warmth.



Like the comfortable blazer, the right button-up shirt can take you anywhere. The Columbia Women’s Silver Ridge™ Lite Long Sleeve Shirt offers UPF 40 sun protection and can be worn both as a cover-up at the beach and out to dinner with a pair of dark jeans.



A scarf is the perfect way to add variety to your travel wardrobe without adding weight to your bag. Get two completely different looks from the same black shirt and pants by adding a scarf or a piece of jewelry.

Looking for more tips like these? Check out our upcoming events:

Travel Smart, Pack Right Organized Packing Workshop

As we gear up for travel, now is a good time to prepare for your next trip. Join AAA and Travel Expert Anne McAlpin and learn travel tips you should know. With thirty years of travel experience, Anne will be covering:

  • Organizing your money, passport and travel documents
  • Packing personal care items
  • How to choose the best day-bag
  • And more!

RSVP for an Upcoming Event

Visit your local AAA Travel Store