You are typically only allowed to carry on two items of luggage on most flights. This can be really trying for a person who hates checking luggage, but who is going away for more than a few days. Here is how to pack light yet still look (and smell) fresh.
First, remember that you will be wearing clothes on your flight over and back so that already takes some weight out of your bag. Look for tips on the best way to do this in a future set.
So what should you have prepared for your trip? You should have two pairs of pants, one jeans (preferably dark wash because they look nicer) and a pair of khakis or other cotton pant. Also, pack a neutral knee length skirt and a dress that can work for day or night.
For tops, pack a cardigan and a light jacket or blazer. Then pack three t-shirts with at least one of them plain. The other two can have graphics, but be careful what the design says about you. It is best not to give away your country of origin on your shirt if traveling abroad. Also, pack one nice blouse.
Pack at least one pair of tights and a few pairs of socks or footies for flats. Pack one pair of shoes that can dress up and one or two casual pairs. If you are going to do a lot of walking, make sure one of these pairs have good support.
Also, if there might be a pool, hot tub or beach, pack a bathing suit. Don't bother with a towel, every hotel has them.
To accessorize outfits, pack one or two scarves and two necklaces, one more simple and one more fancy. You can also throw in another accessory like a cuff or an easily packed hat.
Do not forget pajamas. I recommend a neutral tank that could go under something else if needed and a light pair of sleep shorts or pants.
The rule on most flights for liquids is six 3 oz. bottles so pack toiletries carefully. Try to save one of these for a travel size bottle of Febreeze, especially for longer trips. Also, pack a few of the laundry detergent squares. This way you can wash clothes in a hotel tub or sink. I recommend doing this when there will be ample time for items to dry overnight.
A few extra things that might be helpful is to throw in a small cloth backpack, if you have one, for day trips and a few dry, sealed snacks like granola bars. If you are really on a budget and traveling, I have packed small containers of peanut butter and jelly and bought a loaf of bread wherever I was and made sandwiches to save on food. Also, a small umbrella is useful and a thin rain coat (only if expecting showers more than a few hours)
Any liquid that you pack should be sealed up in a plastic bag in case it breaks. It is also helpful to pack two plastic grocery bags ( you will find use, trust me.)
This packing list should keep you looking great for about two weeks without checking a thing. I made it through four countries with this. You can adapt items based on weather. This list assumes the weather is pretty fair.