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One of the most common questions I am asked is, “How do you pack light?”. After many trips, I’ve mastered the art of packing for what works for me. I use several tips and tools and have come up with the following travel tips for packing luggage. When I first started out, I told myself I didn’t need the gadgets, but the truth is, they make all the difference! From storing clothes, to storing toiletries, to making sure to save room for purchases, I’m good to go. I hope you enjoy and utilize my travel tips and packing hacks!
When I pack, I pack lightly because I want to just get there and go. By not having a checked bag, I can skip the wait at the baggage carousel. It is more manageable to have a small carryon, then a bulky checked bag. From trains in England, to ferries in Norway, I don't think I've ever regretted this way of travel. Now, if you really are going to just one place and will only need to transport the bag basically from the airport to hotel and back again, and you need the room - by all means take a larger case! In fact, a cruise might be another case. Don't forget to grab your printable cruise packing list!
For 95% of my trips, this is how I pack!
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Let’s get started:
Travel Tips for Packing Lightly:
What lightweight suitcases do I use?
This is the question I get most often. My #1 go to suitcase is this 20” spinner bag from Swiss Gear. I picked it up at Target and LOVE IT! I used this for my 3 week trip to Europe and have used it for many domestic flights through out the USA. It is expandable, so you can add stuff and check it if you have to. For me, I try my hardest not to check a bag. I love having my bag with me and not having to wait for it to hit the turnstile luggage return. The 4 wheels makes this bag so easy to roll.
My back up bag is one I use when the Major and I travel military space available. It has the ability to convert to a backpack. Sometimes we have to hike from one location to another, and this makes it so easy. I learned about my bag from Rick Steves, and purchased through his site. The bag I have has wheels, but is no longer available. This one is very similar though.
You can find it on Amazon.
My husband uses this bag:
Which is now very hard to find.
Now that you know what I carry, let’s get into the nitty gritty of my 5 essential packing tips.
5 Essential Packing Tips To Make Sure Your Bag Is Under Weight & Organized!
I thought packing cubes were ridiculous the first time I saw them. At sometime I decided to try them, and they changed my traveling habits for ever. I love these because they feature a loop at the end that allows me to hang them on hooks or on a door knob. I typically take 3 cubes. In the small cube I place all my clean socks. In the medium cube, I place my pajamas. The large cube I use for clean undergarments. It’s so handy to know exactly where things are. The pajamas are so easy to grab.
When I first started traveling, I used the standard disposable quart size bag. They would get beat up, leak and I always had to pack extras. I actually have 3 of these cases now. I use one for all my liquids (toiletries and liquid makeup) and the second I use for my medicines. I always place these in the front pocket of my suitcase, so that I can pull both out easily when I reach security. They are a bit roomier than the zip locks and if something leaks they contain it, and are easy to wipe out. The third I use for my electronic accessories and I tuck that into my suitcase.
3. Electronic Accessories
I do like to travel with my electronics. I usually have my Macbook Pro or iPad. I almost always have my DSLR camera (Nikon D3200). Between those and my iPhone, I tend to have a lot of cords. I use the following items to try and contain them (All of which I put in the above vinyl cosmetic case).
For my SD cards:
I use an SD card holder so that I can keep them organized. One side is for new fresh formatted cards and the other side is for my used cards.
For all my USB devices I use this plug in to not hog up all the outlets:
I always take a car charger, unless I know we won’t have a rental car. For my cords, I use these handy ties to keep them wound up.
Another handy thing I like to pack, especially if I’m traveling with others, is this handy travel router. Simply plug it in, connect the hotel’s ethernet cord in, and boom! You have wi-fi!
4. Extra Bags!
I always pack a foldable bag so that I will have room to grow, should I find something I must have. These bags are meant to carry children’s booster seats, but I love this one for “anything use”. I simply pack stuff in it, use the handy part on the back to carry it on my carry on. I then check my carryon suitcase and use this bag as my carryon. If I don’t use it, no big deal. It folds flat and takes up no space. I keep it at the bottom of my suitcase.