I have a dog that at the sight of a suitcase, he will have the worst explosion, of the stinky sort. He is absolutely notorious for getting sick, getting anxious, and sad and depressed, wallowing in the closet somewhere when he gets the slightest sense that I’m packing up to go somewhere.
So I had learned long ago that packing must never happen until he’s gone off to doggy camp. That, of course, leaves me with very little time to prep and organize.
Fortunately, I’ve gotten packing and traveling down to an art. Literally.
Prior to packing, I normally draw out my outfits. This way, I know exactly what I’ll be packing. I note how many days I will need for the essentials, aka, socks and undies. Always plan to bring more undies than needed. And always make it a note to pack undies in your carry-on. Lost luggage and no clothes is one thing, but no undies…I prefer to be ready if ever that happens.
Also, the clothes I wear traveling to destination is always the same as coming back. That way, you can wear a bit more layers to keep warm on the flight. Mind you, it’s important to wash and air dry them in between. I NEVER pack denim jeans. They are too heavy and take up too much space in the suitcase, especially if you have several destinations before your return trip.
Dress wisely with leggings, skirts and shirts that can be mixed and matched. This way, you have “different” outfits by various combinations. I always about 2-3 outfits that are meant for a more romantic evening dinner or fashionable walk around town. But for the most part, I’m always on the go, between tour buses or walking tours or just getting lost so comfortability is key for me when looking for clothes to pack. If it’s cold, wear boots on the flight to avoid taking up space in the suitcase. I normally pack 1 pair of nice heels and 1 pair of walking flats. You will still have room for running shoes, if you want. Jewelry should always be in its own bag, neatly secured. If they are valuable, carry them with you onto the plane. Otherwise, you can put them away in a check-in suitcase.
The less you carry on, the easier it will be for everyone around you. I never understood those people who travel with suitcases and then try to stuff and jam them in the compartment head, blocking everyone’s way. If you do, be considerate that there are people trying to get on the plane as well.
If I am only traveling short distances for 2-3 days, I bring just a bag so no check-in required. But for longer travels, especially oversea, I prefer to check in my suitcase because I carry facial cleanser for my daily routine. Also, the airports in NYC and many other international locations have the LONGEST walk ever from check-in, security, and finally the gate. It feels like a mile long. I do think flats are good for those long walks and not heels, unless you walk better with heels.
Finally, packing the other essentials. I have a traveling laptop bag that doubles as a mini-suitcase. In this bag, there is always a toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, sickness pills, headache pills, deodorant, and lip balm. I never take these guys out because you can always grab this bag to go on a quick weekend getaway.
Of course, all other liquid essentials are packed in zip-locked bags to avoid spillage in the suitcase. Also, don’t forget to carry a laundry bag (I just bring a few plastic bags) to separate clean clothes from dirty clothes while at destination.
Otherwise, I carry additional medicine like Tums, anti-itch, and if you’re asthmatic like me, an extra unused inhaler in suitcase and on your carry-on bag. I got a free traveler’s kit for nail clippers, tweezer, and sander. So that was helpful. Mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, razor, cream, and face wipes are a luxury to carry. Sometimes, I enjoy buying the local products to see how well they work. Sometimes, they work better. I pack all this and the make-up at the top of the suitcase so that I can easily get them once I get off the plane and find my bag, to freshen up before grabbing a train or cab.
You’ll find that you can get all this packed and ready to go in 2 hours or less. It’s handy, especially when you go on longer trips. Or you could pick up stuff when you’re there. I just prefer not to spend if I don’t need to, saving my money on yummy food and dishes.