That time I packed three purses and an iron for an overnight trip

iron (2)What is it about personal travel that makes packing so much trickier than business travel? You’d think making sure that you look professional for days at a time would require more thought and work than a fun trip. Not in my case, even for an overnight trip.

Maybe it’s because on a work trip there are only so many scenarios you will end up in. You will either be at work, at dinner, sleeping, or working out, at least on my typical business trips. But on a personal trip…there’s the actual travel. The walking around. The fancy dinner. Plus the sleeping, swimming, etc. And of course, all  bets are off when kids are involved!

Take my most recent personal trip. The Home Warrior and I went to a friend’s wedding in DC. We were only gone 24 hours, so I was confident we could pack all of our belongings in one suitcase, plus a computer bag. In fact, I thought we would have room left over! After all, when I am gone for 24 hours for work I pack in my half-size Eagle Creek Adventure Pop-Top. Our packing list:


  • Clothes for travel there
  • Dress and shoes for wedding
  • PJs
  • Clothes for travel home
  • Toiletries and makeup

Home Warrior

  • Clothes for travel there
  • Suit, tie, shirt, and shoes for wedding
  • Clothes for travel home
  • PJs
  • Toiletries

All seems reasonable, right? Then I realized we would need a bag for our computers, so I brought my Lo and Sons O.G. I didn’t want a giant purse for our walking-around time, so I added my normal non-travel crossbody purse. And then I realized neither of those would work for the wedding so I had to bring yet another purse, a vintage clutch. After all of the purses were added we could close the suitcase, but there wasn’t any extra room. Then I remembered: I don’t trust hotel irons. And after being crumpled in a suitcase the Home Warrior’s dress shirt would 100% need to be ironed.

The result: a very, very full bag. I was able to get it zipped, once I laid on top of it to squish everything down. Luckily Victorinox makes a very secure zipper!

We had a fantastic time, my dear friend had a beautiful wedding, and the kids had fun at home with their grandparents. But next time I go somewhere for fun I won’t underestimate the amount of space we need!

Readers, what is your biggest difference between packing for work trips and personal trips?


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  1. The biggest (and heaviest) difference for me is that when I am on personal travel, I NEVER: (a) bring my work laptop, and (b) check work e-mails, even though the latter are sent to my personal e-mail account. The heaviest electronic gadget I carry is my iPad Mini.

  2. Oh my God, I have SUCH a bag fetish, and not just purses. I only have one of those, a smallish cross body messenger that still holds my iPad mini, kindle, phone, wallet and glasses. It’s what I keep on me during flights.

    Now, mind you, I am a constant traveler who literally lives out of two carry ons, one for the overhead and one for under the seat. And these are undersized even for that: 13.5 inch square personal, 18″ tall spinner incl wheels.

    And I still have: a larger backpack for taking my LaVie 360Z to libraries and coffee shops to work, a smaller backpack to sightsee and go everywhere else bc I don’t like checking my backpack in museums, two large folding bags that fold up into tiny zippered compartments for laundry, groceries and more, plus a variety of small bags for organization. Electronics, first aid and all manner of other stuff. I have extremely few items left loose in my bags.

    I try to make sure they are all different colors, or at least have different colored zippers, so I can just grab at a glance exactly what I need and immediately spot anything missing.

    But I’ve decided to concede that I need bigger bags, so I’m going back to regulation sized 21.5 inch spinners and a 16 inch under seat bag. I really only needed one more inch, but all the 14″ bags I found were 9″ deep and I need to stay as close to 8″ as possible.

    Strangely, though, my new bags will each be at least a couple of pounds lighter than my current ones. That will be very much appreciated in train stations and European buildings with no elevators.

  3. I’d say the biggest difference for me when packing for a personal trip rather than a business one is that I only bring really comfortable shoes. When on a business trip I want my shoes to be nice looking, well polished and business-like. Not that all my other shoes are dirty (lol) , but I bring sandals, sneakers, boots and those kind of shoes when on a private journey.

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