Packing Tips and Tricks from Jade of Trades
In the five years I’ve lived out in Arizona, I’ve become a self-proclaimed professional packer. I’ve been on trips via planes since I was young, but I always had help from seasoned flyers helping me decipher what I could fly with and what I couldn’t. Trips were never longer than a week, and I never had to worry about traveling with anything larger than a carry-on. I still prefer to travel only with a carry-on, even when I head to Georgia for the summer (three whole months).
I remember when I first started with frequently flying, TSA always stressed me out (well, it still does)! I want the experience to be as quick, seamless and forgettable as possible. Especially because I love to get to my gate hours early (anyone else like this? Is my Virgo showing?). Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way that hopefully will help make your flying a bit more stress-free.
I should preface this post by noting all of the photos aren’t necessarily how I would pack my own carry-on. It prob wouldn’t be this aesthetically pleasing (alright, no, it wouldn’t). I recommend KonMari-ing (any Marie Kondo fans out there?) your clothes and thinking through strategic ways to fit as much in as possible!
This post features a product that was sent to me for free, Flight Fillow. However, all opinions are my own.
1) PACK PRACTICALLY
I am definitely guilty of folding up and taking along things I fully know I will not wear. Things like bodycon dresses, cute rompers and high heels always seem like they’re a good idea (and they’re super cute), but I know that I just won’t reach for them if I’m choosing. I know myself to be a comfort first gal, and I’d head for a slip on dress rather than a bodycon on any day of the week.
If you don’t wear it at home, you’re probably not going to wear it on vacation. So, nix it.
I love to bring things I can wear and style several different ways. This may be an easy shift dress you can wear to dinner or as a beach cover-up, shorts that go with several of the shirts you’ve packed and a sweater that’s universal for all outfits. It probably goes without saying, but check the weather forecast beforehand and take a look at your itenirary.
Are you going hiking? Are you going somewhere with a nice formal dinner? What will you mostly be doing while you’re there? Have a good idea of how many outfits you will need, then pack 2 extra. I’d recommend always throwing a pair of jeans and a sweater of some kind into your carry-on.
2) PACK STRATEGICALLY
I always end up playing Tetris with the items in my bag to ensure they all fit nicely — and don’t think this is just your clothing items! Take time to figure out how your shoes will fit in, your curling iron, your makeup bag, etc. because these are all things that’ll have to get into there somehow. I try to keep my backpack or “personal item” as empty as possible so that I can grab out my baggie of liquids and my laptop (two things I know I usually have to take out when going through security). I hate stuffing all of my items in frantically after it’s gone through the scanner; so, I keep most things in the carry-on suitcase.
Plus, you don’t want to have to open your suitcase in TSA! That’s such a hassle. Especially if you have to dig around to find certain things. Make it quick and easy by having the things you’ll need to take out in your shoulder bag. I’d recommend an over-the-shoulder bag if you can, just because it’s easy to grab items out of it. However, I’ve traveled with a backpack many times and had no problems at all.
I juuuuust wanted to talk about this Flight Fillow real quick. This thing is very cool! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve clipped a big, bulky travel/neck pillow onto my backpack or had it inside of my bag, taking up so much space. There are so many times I’ve even intentionally left these pillows at my destination cause I couldn’t be bothered to carry it with me in addition to everything else. Not to mention I’ve bought at least 6 in the last 5 years (big yikes).
The Flight Fillow is the “Reinvented Travel Pillow.” It gives you alllll the benefits of a travel pillow without any of the hassle, which is so cool. I haven’t yet traveled with it, but I fully intend on taking it with me to my flight in a few weeks to Chicago. It’s cool because the actual product is very small; you could tuck it into your wallet, even.
However, when you unfold it, it makes it super easy and do-able to fold up a sweater you already have and mold it into the shape of a neck pillow. Plus, you can wash it a lot easier than a traditional travel pillow AND make it the exact fluffy-ness you prefer. Pretty cool, huh?
3) PACK RESPONSIBLY
Check your airline’s guidelines days before you head out to your trip. However, I’ll spoil it for you and tell you they’re mostly all the same. Can’t bring aerosols, no containers carrying liquids over 3 ounces, etc. etc. So, anticipate this while you’re packing! I’ve seen people toss full mouthwashes (unopened) into the can before, along with expensive skincare products or liquor. Check the guidelines beforehand so that you’re not forced with having to make the decision of throwing out your stuff or paying $25 extra bucks to check your bag.
What are some of your favorite packing tips? Do you get stressed out in TSA like I do? (Lol) I’d love to learn more ways to make travel more efficient and thus, more fun!