Packing Tips to make travel easier

While I am procrastinating about packing for my rapidly approaching trip to Scotland and England (3 days to go!), I thought I would share some packing strategies that allow me to pack quickly and without stress.

Tip #1: Invest in the perfect carry-on bag to fit you and your lifestyle. Figure out your needs before you buy.

As a frequent flier, I wanted a bag that was easy to carry through an airport and would fit nicely under the seat in front of me. After much searching, I bought the Sherpani Soleil Backpack.   I'm so used to traveling with it now that I'm not sure I could fly without it!

What I love about this bag is that I can convert it - it's a backpack, a cross-body bag, or a tote with handles. You can also unzip the back and place it over a roller bag, a function I always use when I'm in the airport.  Other features include: pouches on the side, which each hold a 20 oz. water bottle, pen holders and other small pockets inside, an outside zipper pocket where I always keep my passport (more on that later), and many other nooks and crannies in which to put things! Also, I typically travel with my Macbook Air, and it fits wonderfully inside in its own pocket, with room to spare for magazines! The top zips shut, and the bag is very easy to clean.

Tip #2: Keep everything in the SAME place. Always.

This handy bag from Thirty-one holds all of my cables/chargers, and they are always kept in one of the zipper pouches. My Kindle Paperwhite fits perfectly in the other zipper pouch. In the center section, I always keep earbuds, pens, my business cards, gum, tissues, and other essentials that I always use when I travel. I used to use this cute bag from Rosetti, but I needed to upgrade to something a bit larger (and, by the way, both of these bags fit inside my Sherpani)! Since I know exactly where things go, this little bag is a snap to pack, and I can find what I need on a dark airplane when I'm really tired.

I always keep my passport in the SAME pouch of my bag each time I travel. I also carry a folder (the same Lilo and Stitch folder that I've had for years!) containing my travel documents. I make sure to place that in my carry-on bag. That way I always know where everything is!

Tip #3: Keep a bag ready to go at all times packed with toiletries and other things that you will always use for travel.

These two Vera Bradley travel bags are perfect for my needs. I've had them for years! I always take the triple zipper one, but the other one is just for longer trips.

I do carry the triple zipper one in my Sherpani, rather than my roller bag, because for early morning flights, I often do my makeup and put my contacts in once I'm at the airport. Also, I have TSA Pre-Check, so I do not need to bag my liquids, but I'm always sure to be certain to keep them under the required 3.4 oz. size limit.

I was gifted this LuxePak Mini at a recent travel conference. I haven't used this cutie yet, but I am eager to - I think it may replace my round Vera Bradley. It reminds me of my Caboodles from 1982 and is quite sturdy!

Tip #4: Figure out what travel essentials work for you and keep them handy. Here are some of mine!

Tip #5: For checked bags, invest in a spinner bag (which is different than a roller bag), and pack it using packing cubes!

If you don't have any packing cubes - go get some! I bought mine (and my large Delsey spinner bag) at TJ Maxx. I got the whole set of cubes for about $8.00. They have changed my life!  You can order them on, too.  My shoes get packed in plastic grocery bags. This keeps everything else clean, and you never know when you'll need plastic bags on your travels. (I pack baggies too).

Tip #6:  Don't pack expensive jewelry, but for what jewelry you do take, give it a safe travel home!

Above are my three jewelry travel cases. I use them all from time to time, depending on how long my trip is, but I do have a favorite! It's this one:

I think I find myself using this one most, as it is hard-sided. Earrings fit down inside it; I put necklaces on the snap circles, and my bracelets fit on the top before I close the lid.

This soft-sided one is great to keep things separate and labeled(!), but I don't find myself using it as often as the purple one.

And lastly, this jewelry roll holds a ton. I love that I have separate compartments for my earrings, ring and bracelets, but I find that my necklaces get tangled in transport. Nonetheless, on long trips, this is what I take, and I pack it in my checked bag between my packing cubes.

Tip #7: Know what you can and can't take with you.

I love my travel corkscrew, and if I'm checking a bag, I do pack this in there, along with a well-wrapped bottle of wine! But I NEVER would attempt to pack this in my carry-on luggage, unless I wanted to spend some personal time with a TSA agent ;) Remember to remove pocket knives - I lost a quality multi-tool some years ago due to forgetfulness.

Tip #8: When all else fails, just cram everything into a duffle and GO! The goal is to travel as often as possible, so pack your stuff wherever and however you can!


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