7 Best Packing Tips…or Not?

Our packed carry-ons. Not shown: 45-pound box!

Our packed carry-ons. Not shown: 45-pound box!

When it comes to packing for airplane travel, we have an ironclad rule – no checked luggage, only carry-on. We are positively ruthless about editing our belongings regardless of the destination, duration, or time of year. One rollerboard and one backpack each. No exceptions. Ever.

Until now.

Bill, quite unexpectedly, has gone rogue. Apparently, the prospect of taking the longest trip of his life sent him over the edge.

I walked into the closet and found him stuffing clothing and shoes into a hefty box to ship ahead. Five long-sleeved dress shirts and five pairs of pants. (“Can’t meet with my client five days in a row and duplicate my outfit.”). Three polar fleece jackets in various weights. (“San Francisco temperatures can range from the 40s to the 90s in summer.”). Four pairs of shoes. (“Multiple activities and occasions.”). Six baseball caps. (“I’ll wear the Pirates one – best record in baseball – until they implode, and then the Giants.”).

And this was before he packed his regular carry-ons. It’s for sure an invasion of the body snatchers.

Even mild panic can be contagious, though. In the interest of full disclosure, I did take the opportunity to throw in some full-size bottles of toiletries (“Can I really stretch out 3-ounces of my favorite body lotion over 6 weeks?”), two polar fleece jackets, two pairs of shoes, and one pair of hiking boots.

The box weighed a whopping 45 pounds. Guess before the next extended stay we’ll need to review our rules. I’m happy to share them, although I’m embarrassed to say this is more an instance of “do as I say and not as I do.”

  • Ahem, only take carry-on bags. If an item doesn’t fit in them, you don’t need it.
  • Pack money, passport, extra glasses, medications, electronics, chargers, adaptors, and other valuables in a personal bag. Depending on cabin space, rollerboards sometimes have to be checked.
  • Pack clothes that can be layered for various climates/weather.
  • Roll clothes for fewer wrinkles and more room.
  • Pack neutrals – black, navy, khaki – that go with everything.
  • Only take jewelry that you wear on the plane, and never “real” jewelry.
  • Adhere to the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule for liquids, gels, and aerosols – 3.4 ounce-bottle or less by volume, 1 clear quart-size bag, 1 bag per passenger.




4 thoughts on “7 Best Packing Tips…or Not?

  • July 11, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Mary, just think Terri and I went to Japan last week for 6 days and had two checked bags and two roller boards! I sympathize with Bill…

    • July 11, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      I’m sure you had an outfit for every occasion and looked great!

  • July 11, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Oh, Mar, packing for 6 weeks is certainly a challenge especially if you are flying! Cannot wait to follow your trip.. everyday will be a new day! Enjoy every minute of your California life!!

    • July 11, 2013 at 11:34 am

      Hi, MJ. You know it! Thanks!


Leave a Comment