Pack Smart for Low Hassle Travel

Owing to non-stop travel, some for pleasure, some for business, and some for family obligations, my writing time has been fleeting, but the experience prompted me to refine my packing methods and contents.  Gearing up for holiday travel or anytime journey?  Here are some tips to ensure that preparation for your next trip is a breeze.

Prepack

Prepacking allows you to be ready at the word "go" by housing these travel staples perpetually in your bag:  overnight/shaving kit, cosmetic bag, and travel blow dryer.  Refill spent hotel courtesy bottles with your favorite products.  Reusable travel-sized bottles for hair and skincare products are economically and environmentally beneficial. 

Prepack a week's worth of undergarments and socks in a zippered plastic bag.  Plastic packaging from new linens particularly zippered bags are sturdy and have numerous reuses thereby keeping them out of the landfill until they are no longer usable.   Toss in flip flops for hotel showers and in lieu of slippers.  Now you are mostly packed.

Use an App or written list during your stay to note items running low or depleted then replenish them upon your return along with the undergarments removed for laundering.  

Zippered plastic linen bags keep socks and underwear neatly tucked away.  Rolled clothes remain wrinkle-free and visible for easy pairings with less disruption by TSA bag searches.

Zippered plastic linen bags keep socks and underwear neatly tucked away.  Rolled clothes remain wrinkle-free and visible for easy pairings with less disruption by TSA bag searches.

Make a List and Check it Twice
Create a packing list template along with a list of last minute to-do's around the house prior to leaving such as setting timers, watering plants, advising a neighbor of travel plans, trash disposal, cleaning countertops and the kitchen floor.  You don’t want to return to an ant or rodent infestation.  Each time you travel this handy reference will reassure you that you have covered your bases.

The 3-1-1 Liquids Rule
Visit your airline's website to verify baggage size requirements and any associated fees.  Also, be familiar with the TSA's liquid regulations.   According to the TSA, "You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Placing these items in the small bag and separating from your carry-on baggage facilitates the screening process. Pack items that are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in checked baggage."  For more information about medical exemptions, allowable liquids, etc., visit: the TSA's Travel Tips websiteCurrent TSA rules have banned all Samsung Galaxy 7 phones.  You will not be permitted to carry-on or check these phones in your luggage.

Keep It Simple:  Mix and Match to Travel Light
To avoid extra baggage fees, mix and match to minimize space used and amount of luggage needed.  Choose neutral pants or skirts that can be worn more than once to match any shirt or blouse.  A good rule of thumb is 2-3 tops per bottom.   Think about layering to be ready for changing weather conditions.  Layers can also vary the look of an outfit as do accessories such as ties and scarves.  For extended stays, consider packing some refillable travel-sized detergent to wash items in the sink or if you are fortunate to have access to laundry facilities.

Roll With It
Rolling instead of folding clothes has numerous advantages.  1.  All items are visible enabling swift outfit pairings while keeping everything orderly.  2.  Tightly rolled clothes remain virtually wrinkle-free as they are not tousled as items are removed.  3.  Rolling seems to fit more into the bag than folding and you can build multiple layers.  As you can see from these photos, my clothes rest on the bottom leaving room above for shoes, a fleece sweater and other odds and ends or 2 more layers of clothing.  4.  TSA agents can easily survey without complete disruption.

Sort, Nestle, and Tuck
There are an assortment of ways you may choose to sort your clothes such as by outfit, purpose or weather.  For this particular casual trip with a variety of weather conditions, short sleeve shirts were placed to the left of the pants and long sleeves and workout clothes to the right.   Plenty of room remained in the bag for shoes, outerwear, umbrella, or suit.

Toss in a bag or two to separate dirty laundry from the clean clothes.

Suit Yourself (the Brooks Brothers Way)
Men's clothier Brooks Brothers offers this step by step guide to packing a suit.  Brooks Brothers Tailored Menswear Manager (and frequent flier) Robert Squillaro recommends "using the protective plastic dry cleaning cover, place your neatly folded jacket in the top of the bag where the hangers are typically gathered.  Lay this parcel on top of the outstretched trousers.  The plastic will keep the suit fabric from rubbing against itself and causing wrinkles."

Place suit jacket flat on the floor with front facing the floor.  Do your best to keep smoothing the jacket during each step.

Place suit jacket flat on the floor with front facing the floor.  Do your best to keep smoothing the jacket during each step.

Fold the left side inward to the midpoint of the back of the jacket.

Fold the left side inward to the midpoint of the back of the jacket.

Encase the left side by turning right shoulder inside out and fold the right side over the left.  Match up all outer seams.

Encase the left side by turning right shoulder inside out and fold the right side over the left.  Match up all outer seams.

Fold the jacket in half.

Fold the jacket in half.

Nestle the jacket in a dry cleaner bag and place atop the trousers.

Nestle the jacket in a dry cleaner bag and place atop the trousers.

Fold the trouser bottom hem over the jacket, and then fold the top half of the trousers over the jacket.

Fold the trouser bottom hem over the jacket, and then fold the top half of the trousers over the jacket.

Carry-On/Personal Item
In the event of lost luggage, keep a spare shirt, set of socks and undergarments in your carry-on or backpack along with a small toothbrush and toothpaste, prescription and over the counter medicines, band aids, electronic chargers, sunglasses, pens, and non-perishable snacks.  Once again, by prepacking and replenishing used items, when it's travel time, simply add books or E-readers, work or school assignments, games or puzzles to keep you occupied on the plane.  A zippered folder to hold your itinerary, boarding passes, hotel and rental car confirmations, envelopes for debit and credit receipts, and any other important documentation such as passport is handy.  Be sure that your carry-on meets airline size restrictions.

Time for Action
I hope that you find these tips useful.  Now it is time to check your kits to be sure that they are fully stocked and if not, refill those bottles or add items to your shopping list. Then prepack your bags, create a pre-travel to-do list and packing template for remaining articles.  Preparing for your next trip will be a snap.

Need assistance getting organized for travel or your home?  Contact The Practical Sort Eco-Organizing Solutions and we will get you sorted.