Six Packing Tips from a Frequent Flyer
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You may have noticed that we travel often here at Gunaxin, flying all over the country and the world to some amazing events. It’s true, over the past several years I’ve personally been averaging two trips per month, which is nearly 50 flights per year. So you could say that I’ve packed more than my share of suitcases, and it’s become rather routine for me. That wasn’t always the case though, and I’ve definitely learned some tips along the way that I’d like to share with you today…
1) Purchase a Good Carry-On Bag
The goal is to never check your bag, unless you absolutely must due to the length of the trip. Checking a bag can lead to lost luggage, but that is rather rare in modern air travel. What is much more common though is delays, both in checking the bag on departure, and waiting for the bag upon arrival. If you aren’t checking a bag, that means you’ll be bringing a carry-on with you wherever you go around the airport. We can’t stress this point enough, four-way spinning roller bags are the best thing ever invented for travelers. Your two-way rolling bag is very limiting when navigating the airport or aisle of an airplane. Spend the extra bucks and get one with the flexibility to move with you however you wish. Pull, Push, or even standing up straight at your side, this type of bag can do it all.
Bonus Tip : Get a luggage set with hard sides for durability and longevity.
2) Roll Your Clothes
This tip has been fairly widely shared on the internet for one reason, it works. Rolling your clothes allows you to pack tighter, which means you can get more stuff in your small bag, and lessen the chance that you’ll have to check a larger bag. It also helps prevent your clothes from getting wrinkled.
Bonus Tip : Try not to unzip your expandable suitcase on the way to your destination, as you’ll likely need that space as reserve on the way home to accommodate anything you acquire on your trip.
3) Re-Pack the Same Way for Return
The photos in this article were actually taken when I was unpacking my suitcase after returning home from a recent trip, so those are my dirty clothes. Ew. See how all of the clothes are rolled again? That ensures they’ll fit back into the same space. Dirty bunched up clothing takes up more space than neatly packing the suit case like it was when you came. It’ll take more time, but if your bag is tight, it’ll be worth it.
Bonus Tip : Yes, those are my boxers on the right. I always roll them up and put them at the bottom of the suitcase for two reasons. First, they fill in that space between the retractable handle rails perfectly. Second, if for whatever reason my suitcase needs to be opened in front of other people, I don’t need my boxers being the first thing they see. I reserve that pleasure for our internet readers.
4) Utilize the 2nd Zone for Shoes and Jeans
In general you want to keep your shoes separated from your clean clothes. I previously had a little bag that I used for this purpose, but I left it in a hotel recently. I always pack my extra shoes in the 2nd compartment of the suit case, which also makes a good location for rolled up jeans, socks, and belts. Use the main compartment for more delicate items like shirts and under clothing.
Bonus Tip : Store rolled up socks IN your shoes, and make use of that space.
5) Follow Some of the TSA 3-1-1 Rules
If you haven’t noticed, the TSA is pretty serious about their rules. One that will get you every time is not following the 3-1-1 rule. The 3-1-1 rule limits the amount of liquid you can bring on an airplane in your carry-on luggage. Passengers are limited to using containers no larger than 3.4 oz. which must fit into 1 clear plastic bag of no larger than 1 quart. At many airports you can find these bags available for free, which is where the bag above came from. The rule further states that this bag must be removed from luggage and placed in the bin for inspection, but I actually haven’t followed that part for over two years now and it has not been an issue once. Just keep your liquids small, and you should be ok.
Bonus Tip : See that toothpaste tube in the bag? It’s 2.8 oz and will last me for several trips. Don’t buy those tiny 1 oz or smaller tooth paste tubes if you travel often, as you’ll need a new tube too often, and will increase your chance of running out while away.
6) Only Pack Essential Toiletries
Guys are basic, we don’t need much when it comes to toiletries, so pack light and save yourself some room. Above we have the essentials. The deodorant is packed in its own smaller bag because it tends to leak a bit. Sunscreen and lip balm are optional depending on your destination. Even if you have a beard like me, you should always pack a razor to keep things clean and presentable when you meet new people. I strongly recommend the Schick® Xtreme3® disposable razor because it is lightweight, disposable, and provides a comfortable shave. I’ve even found that I don’t need to pack shaving cream due to the lubricating strips with vitamin E and aloe. I just make sure my face is clean and warm, and use a little bit of hotel provided lotion before cleaning up my neckline with the Xtreme3. If you’re going for a full shave each day, then you will probably want to pack some shaving cream.
Bonus Tip : We’ve noticed a disturbing trend of hotels providing shower gel instead of soap, and we’re guys so we always keep an extra bar from a previous hotel in our bag just in case.
Additionally, Philip has served as Rally Director for the Washington Automotive Press Association, Speaker at IMPAcon and Blogs with Balls, Chairman of the Relay For Life of North Anne Arundel County, Examiner Team Leader for the Maryland Performance Excellence Awards, and Credentialed Founder of Capitals Outsider.