I am flying out tomorrow for a whirlwind trip to California and Arizona. Since this is a week long, international flight in two different climates (average temps are 60-100 degrees!) I have a lot to consider when packing. So, I share with you, my top 5 packing tips, enjoy! (FYI this post contains affiliate links, which means if you click thru and make a purchase illistyle gets a small percentage. Thank you for supporting illistyle.)
1. Make a List
I keep a running list next to my bed for like 3-10 days before the trip depending on how long the trip is and how focused I am on other things. That way I can write things down that I do not want to forget, total stress reliever. Then when I am ready to pack I finish my list and start laying things out. I make sure I have all the clothing I need and that outfits work together. I pack tops and bottoms that are all interchangeable and therefore work double duty.
2. Go Carry-on ONLY
This is difficult for a lot of people, but trust me it’s worth it. Here’s why: 1. if you have a tight connection from your international flight to a national one, you will have to go through immigration, then go get your checked bag, heft it over to customs, go through customs, heft it somemore and rescreen it with security… then you have to go through ANOTHER security check, no shoes and all. So you’re looking at: Lines, waiting, stress, more lines, more waiting, more stress, and more lines. Carry-on alleviates having to stand in the first big line because you can go through “One Stop” immigration (which is is for US citizen who do not have checked luggage) and is a short little line, and you do not have to waste time getting your checked bag and rescreening it. This can save anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hr, depending on how long the immigration line is, how long the airline takes to unload your baggage, how long it takes to get on the carousel, and how long it takes you to get it off the carousel.
3. Roll your clothes
A girlfriend told me this years ago and I can say: it decreases your volume by about 1/3 and your clothes stay unwrinkled because there are no creases (folds) to jack them up. Genius.
4. Pack a “checked bag” for the flight home
You’re gonna buy stuff… and if you’re like me, other expats (people from your home contry, living abroad) will ask you to bring stuff back to your current country for them. Totally cool with me. I get a free checked bag on the way home and they can get free Amazon shipping to my US address. This is a win-win. Here is the bag I bring, it was me a whopping $2.99 at Homegoods last November. There are tons of similar ones here if you can’t find this one at HomeGoods. It folds flat to fit in my carry on for the flight to the US and becomes a huge bag for the flight home – Like 18″h x 15″l x 6″d. I toss all my dirty laundry into it during my stay in the US and then stuff my carry-on suitcase with all the goodies I have to bring back and I have collected from my travels. This does two things: 1. if my dirty clothes get lost by the airlines for a few days, whatever… I am already home, and 2. all the delicate breakables and valuables are with me in my carry-on during the whole flight so I do not even worry about them getting nabbed by a sticky-fingered security agent. (Not that this has ever happened to me, but I have heard stories… *Update: this did happen, to my carry-on, at security. Computer mouse – vanished. Sad day.)
5. Make a “day-of” list
Whatever you cannot pack the night before, make a list for yourself so you remember to grab it last minute. I have to brush my teeth in the AM so I cannot pack that the night before. So, it goes on the list. I always forget things if I do not write them down. Yes, I do have to remind myself to grab my sunglasses… otherwise I will cry because I will forget them. Save yourself/your friend/spouse/child the embarrassment of being with “that girl” at the airport. Make the list, girl, it’s good for your soul.
So here’s what I am actually taking to the US, for one whole week:
This is it. Here’s whats in each bag.
Carry-On: 2 long-sleeve tops, 3 tank tops, cardigan, 2 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 long skirt, 2 sundresses, bathing suit, pjs, bras, panties, jewelry, hat, scarf, travel hair dryer, round brush, hair straightener, flip-flops, clutch, book, gifts for others, checked bag.
What I wear on the plane: Tank top, jeans, socks, running shoes, sweater.
I am off to enjoy my week!
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase illistyle receives a small percentage and you pay the same amount. Thank you for supporting illistyle.