Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pack it Up

A Vegas work trip this week meant I had little blogging time the last two weeks - sad stuff indeed. 

Arriving home at the airport past midnight after a delayed flight meant that I was thankful once again for my carry-on only policy when it comes to work trips. Not only to save the fee for checked baggage, but also to save the time sitting at baggage claim! I think I once spent an hour at the baggage claim at the international terminal only to discover my bag had not come back with me - it decided to take a detour through Germany.

My other challenge is making the bag light enough to be able to lift it over my head to put in the overhead bin. I have little to no upper body strength. I once spent a disastrous 10 minutes on a train in Austria attempting this and failing completely.   Luckily, someone came into the compartment after some time and helped me move it out of the seat next to me!

I have a standard way of packing that I rarely deviate from and, of course, it starts out with a list.

All pants and skirts are rolled tightly and lined up on one side. Love the roll method!

Typically I will have to wear a logo'd polo or button down for work which means I don't have to think much about what I'm wearing during the day. If I'm packing for vacation, I am all about the layers. tissue tees and long sleeved shirts fold up pretty tiny and can be interchanged with each other easily.

The tee-shirt or tank top I wore during the day could then turn into a pajama top for the rest of the trip. I'll usually bring both pajama pants and shorts as I can't be sure how the hotel will be at night: sweltering or over-air conditioned

I never go anywhere without a cardigan or light jacket since I'm always cold - 1 or 2 will make their way into the suitcase.

Bring an extra bag to keep dirty clothes separate from what you still haven't worn. I used to bring a couple of the clear plastic bags that bedsheets come in - 1 for shoes and 1 for used clothes and beach clothes.

After packing, look at everything again and take at least one thing out - think about why you packed 10 shirts for a 4 day trip and what you might be able to wear twice or layer with something else for a different look.

I rely on the hair dryer in the hotel room, but might pack a straightener or curling iron if I have the space.
My in-flight outfit consists of jeans (or dress pants if I have to go straight to work when I get in), long sleeved tee, cardigan and blazer. Flying in winter means you might have to pack a winter coat - I try to shove that in the suitcase so I don't have to deal with a giant coat in my little seat. I'll throw on a pashmina I can use as a blanket, scarf or pillow. I wear my heaviest shoes that I'm packing and comfy socks. I always wonder how the gals who get on the plane in shorts and flip flops get through the flight - it is freezing up in the air!

Of course, this also means i tend to be wearing virtually the same thing in many of my travel photos:

San Francisco:

Krakow, Poland:
Instead of a purse and a laptop bag, I pack my purses and use my laptop backpack for all of the in-flight essentials: book, computer, bag of 3 oz. liquids, wallet, etc. When I get to the airport I put my boarding pass in the same place each time - back pocket of my jeans - so I am not scrambling trying to find it at the last minute!

I also use a small zippered bag for all of my electronics: phone charger, iPod/headphones, netflix, camera, camera battery charger and cord, etc. Since you don't need your house keys when you are traveling, I make sure to throw those in this little bag for safe keeping for the length of the trip. One time I arrived home realizing that I had thrown my keys in my checked baggage - I was very thankful my luggage had not gotten lost on that go-around!
So what other packing tips are out there? Here's a few goodies:
  • Put your business card or another luggage tag inside your bag in case the outside tag falls off
  • If you have a boring black suitcase, pick up a handle cover like this one to make it stand out in a crowd
  • Be sure to check the weather for your destination. Bring a travel sized umbrella, just in case
  • If you don't want to buy travel sizes for your contact solution, lotion, etc pick up a travel kit. I got one complete with labels to help identify the items.
  • Think about what you will need to pack if you plan on working out on the trip - running shoes, gym clothes, etc.
  • Make sure to leave space in the bag for anything you might buy if you know you will be doing some shopping - otherwise what you might be buying is another suitcase to pack it all in!
  • A good list from Fodor's that goes into more detail
Now comes the real challenge - getting around to unpacking the suitcase and doing laundry. . . . 


  1. Great tips!

    I'm the worst at unpacking after a trip, especially if there are clean clothes in the suitcase. I tend to just wear things right out of the bag :).

  2. Wonderful! I am just about to do a travel-tips post on my blog as well.