Packing efficiently

a black bag with wheelsAs if you needed another reason to not check your bag…..

According to USA Today a woman traveling from Tampa to DFW arrived at the baggage carousel to find her suitcase “shredded.” Half of her belongings were gone, and what was left was heaped in a bin and covered in grease and toothpaste. Yikes.

Now, to be fair once the passenger filed with the airline they gave her $3500 and a $300 travel voucher. But still! Can you imagine being on a 24-hour business trip and having that happen? Honestly, the main reason I don’t check my bag is because of the time savings. But boy oh boy, stories like this just add more justification to that!

If you are a chronic over-packer (like me in my pre-business travel life), don’t despair! Here are some tips for packing efficiently so you don’t have to check your suitcase.

  • Plan your outfits so that you can re-use items as needed. There’s no need to have four full outfits for four days. Bring a dress, a pair of pants, a cardigan, and two tops. You’ll have plenty of options! Capsule wardrobes work great for outfit-planning.
  • Bring no more than three pairs of shoes. Most trips I only fly with two pairs, although occasionally I’ll bring a third. This doesn’t mean they have to be boring. Plenty of fun shoes will work with multiple outfits! This includes the pair you wear during travel, by the way.
  • Pack the least amount of liquids you can get away with. There is no need for full-size anything, ever. If you’re going to be gone that long buy more at your location! Decant your liquids into tiny containers, like spare contact lens cases and small travel bottles.
  • Use a packing cube to condense your clothes. Big stacks become manageable so you can use a smaller suitcase.

These days I travel with a small suitcase and my travel purse. It’s so nice to be able to board virtually any size plane and not have to check (or gate-check) my suitcase.

Readers, any tips for packing efficiently?


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  1. If you travel a lot on business it’s good to keep a whole set of clothes, liquids, etc. specific to your suitcase. That way you come home and keep it all set aside or in the suitcase. You wash everything and just repack as needed. Sure you’ll change the clothes in seasons or adjust for location and events but not having to scramble for toothpaste or forgetting stuff is a breeze and less stress that you may forget something basic.

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