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When given the choice between checking my bags or taking them with me on the plane, I always choose the latter. I have heard too many lost-baggage stories from close friends, family, and even strangers. I don’t want that to happen to me!
My days working as an auditor required heavy travel. Like most girls I overpacked for my first couple of work trips. Bringing things like a curling iron, three pairs of shoes, and workout gear. I never once touched those things! Soon, I became a packing machine. My male coworkers would help me with my carry-on suitcase and comment on how light it was. Most of the time my suitcase was nowhere near full. Unless I was traveling to a colder place that required thicker gear.
Airlines allow a personal item in addition to the carry-on. I take full advantage with this Longchamp duffle bag. You’d be surprised how much I can stuff in there.
Okay, so let’s see how I packed three weeks worth of necessities into one small carry-on and personal item.
1. Determine what shoes you will bring.
On the day of travel, wear the shoes that would take up the most space if packed. Flip-flops and flats can be packed away easily. If you want to bring boots on your trip, wear them on travel day. It will be a pain to take off at security, but I would take that inconvenience over having to check a larger suitcase. Our trip will involve tons of walking, which means sneakers are a must. Sneakers take up more space than flip-flops and flats, so I will be wearing these Nike shoes (love the retro look!) onto the plane and packing my other shoes.
2. Mix and match.
Choose tops and bottoms that can be easily mixed and matched. I used to pack outfits for each day. And a different outfit for each night. I usually came home with half a suitcase full of clothes I didn’t even touch. Don’t overthink it. Just pack what you wear on a daily basis and be comfortable!
3. Roll, don’t fold.
I have found that rolling your clothes takes up less space than folding them. Make sure you keep the piece of clothing smooth as you roll it up. Otherwise, you’ll end up with annoying wrinkles. Not only will you not have lines from folding on your clothes, it will be easier to see what you have packed.
4. Heavy on the bottom.
Put your rolled jeans and other heavier pieces of clothing into the suitcase first. The second “layer” will be the thinner tops and shirts. This will keep your more delicate items from being smushed and make it easier to zip the suitcase if you are at max capacity.
All of my clothes for the three-week trip are packed into the carry-on suitcase with room to spare! The leftover space that you see next to my clothes will get filled up with underwear and socks. The “lid” of the suitcase gives an additional three inches of space! My clothes extend past the bottom half of the suitcase by about an inch. This leaves me two more inches to work with. Flats and sandals will go up in the “lid”.
What about my duffle bag? I keep my toiletries, makeup, laptop, Kindle, chargers, and my handbag in my “personal item”, just in case the overhead bins on the plane get filled up and the flight attendants make me check my carry-on. I use this Longchamp tote whenever I travel. It is water-resistant, extremely light, and flexible enough that I can stuff it into my personal item. I’m basically taking on TWO personal items!
The next time you take an extended trip, give these tips a try and let me know how it worked for you!
Also, be sure to check out these 7 must do things before an international trip.
What are your top travel tips? Do you prefer checking your bags or carrying them on?
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By empowering women to understand their finances, I free them from uncertainty, stress, and fear. My clients go from scared to savvy — transforming into the confident Chief Financial Officer for their family. You can do the same! Get out of debt, save for the future, and splurge on what you want.