When I am getting ready to travel, the first step in Packing is picking out which suitcase(s) are appropriate for the trip. I have had a green jacquard set for nearly 20 years. I am in the market to replace this set since it is starting to show serious signs of wear and tare. The set has four pieces, both a 28″ and a 22″ rolling suitcase with pop up handles. It also came bundled with a very small shoulder bag that we don’t use much because it is just too small, and good sized weekender style bag that I mostly use for our toiletries and miscellaneous items. We also have 2 matching black Eddie Bauer carry-on sized rolling duffle bags and our our favorite gray Samsonite carry on bag we bought for our big trip last year.
The luggage items needed are different for every trip. Each time I prepare to pack, I first go through a mental checklist to determine the appropriate pieces.
- How long I will be gone
- What items are allowed at no charge by the airline I am flying on
- What will I be doing at my destination so I know what type of clothes to pack
- Do I need a little extra room to bring back extra items
- What is the weather forecast for the trip so that I know if I need sunscreen, an umbrella and what type of outerwear might be necessary. Although it was supposed to rain for our entire trip to Texas last fall and ended up super hot and sunny so we packed rain ponchos instead of sunscreen and had to go buy some to keep from getting crispy.
Most carriers charge for bags now unless you have loyalty status or a credit card that allows you a checked bag. We have gotten accustomed to traveling with just a carry on bag whenever possible. That works fine if it is a 3 day weekend, but if I am gone longer I prefer a little bit larger bag. Maggie and I are going to Portland this week for 5 days so I am glad we are flying with Southwest so I can check my 28″ bag for free. I would really only need the 22″ bag, but we might want to bring some treasures back from this trip, so the extra space will allow for packing some extra goodies.
Since I may bring home some bottles of Oregon Pinot Noir from our trip, I will lay several sheets of flat bubble wrap in the bottom of the suitcase before packing. When we are ready to return home, I will be able to roll the bottles in the bubble wrap and fit them between items in the suitcase.
For my second bag, I will take our compact carry on bag. This bag is super organized and I will be able to fit in all the items that I want to be sure arrive safely in Portland with me. Things like medication, a change of clothing, a sweater, a small umbrella, travel documents and charging cords.
I love to use Packing Cubes because they make packing so organized. I am going to use my set of 3 for rolling tops, layering sweaters and a simple black cotton dress. I always use my black Travelon cube for undergarments and socks. It has 3 mesh pockets in the lid for little socks, a zippered divider and ample space for all my other undergarments. It slips right into a drawer when I get to the room and keeps everything easily accessible. I am also bringing Mark’s big packing cube that has shoe pockets on the outside for my extra black flats and room for plenty of pants.
I will use the smallest packing cube for a change of clothes that will go into my carry on bag. It will easily drop right into the bag.
Since we like to travel often, I have a collection of items ready to go at any time. I keep them in a tote in the closet that stores our suitcases. I find it handy to keep them organized in gallon sized zipper bags that I can just throw into my bag when I am packing. I also have a quart sized zipper bag for any liquids I am carrying on as per the TSA requirements. I pack that bag where it can be quickly pulled out when going through security.
The oven mitt is for my hair straightening iron which gets very hot In the event that we don’t have time to let it fully cool before we have to pack up, I just slide it into the oven mitt and wrap the cord around the outside before dropping it into my bag.
For my Personal Item, I usually take my Travelon Crossbody Bag. It has pockets for everything and tons of room for everything you need to have handy as well as a host of security features. Since it is a crossbody bag, it leaves my hands free for dealing with the luggage, or whatever else that I need to wrangle. The expandable side pocket is also a lifesaver for keeping up with my water bottle.
My Travelon bag has a padded tablet sleeve inside in the event I decide to take mine along. Since I just downloaded a new book, I might just do that. However, since I tend find myself with issues paying close enough attention to read on a plane or at the airport, I will probably take a magazine or travel brochure to leaf through.
I will need to remember to take an empty reusable water bottle that I can fill up once we get through security. DTW (Detroit) airport has a ton of handy water bottle filling stations.
Since I wont need to access them for a few days, I will utilize the inner zipper pocket in my Travelon bag for my car keys and airport parking tickets. Safe, secure and I always know right where they are.
Because a jacket is the bulkiest of items that I take, I try to wear it instead of packing it into one of my bags. It’s no big deal taking it off if it is warm once I am comfortably seated on the plane.
Key items to Pack
I have learned how to pack less items by choosing pieces that can mix and match to make multiple outfit combinations. I like to include a simple black dress that can be dressed up for an evening out or worn casually during the day as well as a few sweaters for layering. The most important item though is comfortable and functional shoes. We usually do a ton of walking, so having shoes that fit properly with good support is key. It’s also a great idea to bring a simple pair of black flats that will work with any other outfit. Make sure to consider if you will use the exercise room, pool or hot tub at your hotel. If you will don’t forget to pack exercise clothes or your swimsuit and some flip flops.
Picking the right bag and packing the appropriate items is a key part to successful travel. Now that I have selected my bags for our trip, I am ready to start packing.
Woo Hoo….first big trip of the year!