How many steamer trunks do you need?
Whether you plan on arriving by air, sea, rail or road, you should pack only what you’ll need for the length of your stay. It’s just easier to carry less while traveling than schlepping heavy things that you end up not using at all.
Especially if you plan on flying in, you should reduce wasteful items enough avoid checking any luggage. Sure— Once it’s checked, it’s one less thing you need to get through the security gate and cram into the overhead bin of the plane’s cabin, but it usually costs extra, and if your checked luggage exceeds 50 lbs, you’ll probably be charged $100+ additionally. When the plane lands, you’ll have to wait around the luggage carousel for your suitcase to appear, and sometimes it doesn’t. It can get re-routed, lost, or stolen. Yes, you just arrived in New York without your stuff and you’ll waste a lot of time and money replacing it when you should be enjoying Brooklyn.
If you plan on staying for a week, you should pack enough underwear and socks for 5 days, 4 tops and bottoms that can be mixed, and a spare pair of shoes. That should all fit easily into a wheeled carry-on case (preferably a hard-shell one to avoid the temptation of overstuffing an expandable one that will have to be checked.) Add a bathing suit and work-out clothes if you plan on such activities during your vacation. Even if you plan on staying longer, you can launder most of your clothes after 5 days. Don’t pack anything “just in case” or whatever your hotel will provide (shampoo, soap, etc.) And don’t bring anything that you can buy in any of the 24-hour drug stores on every other corner of the city.
First pack the larger items. Start with the tops and bottoms. Most savvy travelers prefer rolling to folding clothing because it minimizes creases and it wastes less space. Next, add your spare shoes, sole facing sole. Maybe put them in a thin bag if you’re a germaphobe. Then put your socks and underwear in the gaps along the sides. Finally, put your travel-sized liquids and toiletries in a plastic bag on top, or in an outer compartment if your bag has one.
In addition to your carry-on, you’re allowed another personal item that can be stowed under the seat in front of yours. It should be a messenger bag or small backpack that can be used as your day bag throughout your visit. It should hold your laptop/electronics, other precious cargo (like your passport, money, keys, etc.), a tiny umbrella, a guidebook, and a sweater. You’ll want these handy in case you have to check your carry-on luggage, which might happen if you’re one of the last people on an over-booked plane and there’s no more space in the overhead bins.
Watch this video for more packing hacks.
With the exceptions of some religious establishments and fancy restaurants, there isn’t a dress code in Brooklyn but you should consider a few things before you pack.
The weather: Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly. If it’s going to be hot out, you will still need to bring a sweater for overly-airconditioned interiors, and have at least one pair of long pants or a dress that’s lightweight but sophiticated. If it’s going to be very cold, you’ll need warm winter clothing, especially for your feet and head. Any time of year, you need clothing that can be layered.
Dress for your plans: If you have reservations at a nice restaurant or night out, you’ll want to look your best. Then again, you can expect to do a lot of walking, so you’ll want to dress for comfort, too. Try to include a range of clothes that are both comfortable yet tasteful enough to wear to a nice place. It will save you some back-and-forth hotel trips.
Be an ambassador for yourself: The way you present yourself might leave an impression, so make sure it represents the best version of you. Leave the t-shirts with printed graphics at home, along with fanny packs and other touristy stereotypes. You’ll want to look good in those vacation photos, even if no one wants to see them.
You can live out of your suitcase if you’re only staying a day or two. Otherwise, put your clothes in drawers and on hangers as you would at home. Iron all of the wrinkled clothes when you arrive, or hang them on the shower curtain rail and run a hot shower to steam out the wrinkles all at once.
Hopefully, you did a lot of shopping but only bought small things that you can add to your carry-on, or you had large items shipped. If you need to carry more home than you came with, you can buy an inexpensive suitcase to check on the return flight. There’s less at stake if it gets lost but make sure your receipts are with you in your carry-on. Just in case.