Packing like a boss
DANE NOEDING SHOWS US HOW TO FIT A WEEK’S WORTH OF “EVERYTHING YOU NEED” IN YOUR CARRY-ON
Let’s face the facts: even those of us who enjoy airline travel are faced with the dilemma of what to pack, how to pack it, and how many bags to bring? If you’re getting away for pleasure, and you’re on your own time, it may not be something you mind as much, but those of us traveling for business carrying invaluable items like laptops or business attire know there are quite a few inconveniences about the whole thing in general, especially when it comes to checking your luggage.
Let’s see... giving yourself enough time to get to the baggage check lane and then through security, filling out one lost and found tag to wrap on your bag in the event it’s misplaced, then the extra 15-20 minutes waiting for your luggage at the carousel when you get to where you’re going and then again when you get home, the average $25 to check a bag and then anywhere from $35-$50 for a second bag, the balancing of you and your bag on your bathroom scale to ensure it’s under 50 pounds, and then there is always the lingering angst that your bag is going to be the one that will get lost. So, what do you do to ease the ailments of this cargo carting. Easy, bring one bag and carry it on. Here’s how…
First things first before you get packing. Know the rules the Transportation Security Administration (aka the TSA) has set.
Now, what can and can’t you bring in a carry-on bag? It does differ from what you can carry in your checked bag. Use general common sense when considering items to pack, but if you aren’t sure visit the TSA’s web page and double check before packing it. https://www.tsa.gov/travel/securityscreening/whatcanibring
The most important TSA bullet point when it comes to packing a carry-on bag would be the liquid rules. What this means is you’re allowed to bring one quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag through the security checkpoint. Most pharmacies have a section full of these nifty little travelsized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less. Just be sure you place these items in a small bag and separate them from your carry-on baggage, not only
is this the rule set by TSA, but it will save you a nasty clean up if one of these items breaks open during your trip.
It’s all about the bag – by that I mean baggage. This can make or break whether you will be able to pack what you need or not. You can’t just pick any old bag either; it needs to meet airline requirements. Policies for carry-on baggage can vary somewhat among airlines and certain flights based on the overhead space available in the planes they are utilizing.
The general consensus is your bag shouldn’t exceed 22 inches long, 14 inches wide and 9 inches tall. Airlines usually provide a place to check the size of your carry-on near the check-in counter. If your bag fits in the hole, it is good to bring on the flight.
I personally stay away from hard suitcase style roller suitcases. I prefer a backpack actually. Some would argue that a hard-sided suitcase with a structured shell is better because you can’t squeeze in extras, and it protects the contents. It’s a personal preference really, but I feel the right backpack can be the most versatile component in your luggage arsenal. I use the OGIO Metro Backpack, with deminsions of 18”h x 13.5”w x 9”d. It’s far under the maximum allotted size, yet has plenty of room.
There is a large compartment for clothing, a medium compartment that fits toiletries perfectly, a cushioned back section for your laptop/tablet, internal file sleeve, deluxe organization panel, fleece-lined digital media/audio pockets with headphone exit port, not to mention it’s weatherproofed. Summed up: it’s stocked with options, and not only allows me to pack what I need, but keeps me organized and allows for quick access.
Most airlines allow you to bring onto the plane one carry-on item and one personal item. A personal item can consist of a wide range of things like a laptop bag, purse, diaper bag, etc. Items like coats or pillows would not count toward either allotment.
For those of us traveling on business, you know the struggle of bringing your formal business attire without getting wrinkled. I use a garment folder like AmeriLeather’s Three-suit Garment Bag to carry my business suits and dress shirt.
It neatly folds these items in half the size and keeps them from wrinkling.
This particular bag is the higher end of garment folders and has multiple storage compartments. At $109.99 it’s still very fairly priced for what you get, but if you’re looking for something simple you can expect to pay as little as $30.00.
Traveler tip 101: When boarding ask a flight attendant if you can hang your business attire. There are usually a couple of closets in the front of the aircraft near the cabin and first class, and most of the time they will allow you to utilize the space. No more wrinkles and more space in your seat.
THE PACKING PLAN IN 3 STEPS
TRAVELER TIP 101: YOU CAN ASK AN AIRLINE STAFF MEMBER TO CHECK THE BAG AT THE GATE AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE. THEY WILL PUT A SPECIAL TAG ON THE BAG AND YOU WILL USUALLY LEAVE YOUR BAG ON THE JET BRIDGE RIGHT BEFORE ENTERING THE PLANE. JUST REMEMBER TO TAKE OUT ANYTHING YOU WILL NEED ON THE FLIGHT, LIKE MEDICINE. WHEN THE FLIGHT LANDS THE BAG WILL BE RETURNED TO THE JET BRIDGE FOR YOU TO TAKE BACK. ON A BUSY FLIGHT WHERE OVERHEAD STORAGE IS SCARCE IT CAN SAVE YOU SOME LEG ROOM, IT’S AN IDEAL TRICK OF THE TRADE FOR YOU HARD-SIDED SUITCASE FANS.
1. Do the Math: Most of the time people over pack. The key is to bring the essentials. I use the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rule for a weeklong trip. Limit your wardrobe to five sets of socks and underwear, four tops (I like to do three V-necks and one polo for business casual gatherings. Note, I keep my button-down shirts with my suit in a garment folder), three bottoms (usually one pair of jeans, one khaki, one shorts, two pairs of shoes and one hat. The list should be adjusted depending on the weather, location, and events you will be attending. It’s not a bad idea to throw in a swimsuit and some gym apparel either, and oh yeah don’t forget that suit or dress. 2. Lay out what you think you’ll need, toss out the “just in case”: I don’t know about you, but I never use all the clothes in my bag on a trip. There are always a couple of items I bring “just in case.” Think twice about everything you want to put in your bag. Fully get rid of the “just in case I need it” category unless it’s invaluable. If and when you do need it, just buy it.
3. It’s a puzzle: Most likely you’ll be filling every inch of space, and you may want to give it a couple of tries with some variation to figure out what works best. Don’t worry though; as long as you don’t pack last minute and aren’t rushed, you’ll have unlimited lives in this game of carryon Tetris.
The way I like to do it is roll pairs of socks together and stuff them in my shoes. Then lay your shoes together heel to toe at the bottom of your suitcase in a plastic shopping bag to protect clothes from dirt. Then I roll all of my threads; it makes far more space than folded clothes. If you don’t have another pocket for the bag of liquids and toiletries, pack this last; remember you’ll have to remove it anyway when going through security.
MORAL OF THE STORY
Remember to pack the essentials first, the stuff the front desk at the hotel won’t have. Less is more. Yes, Uncle Tony, that means your blood pressure medicine, and yes, Atticus, if that elderberry-infused hipster beard balm you get from your favorite café in Williamsburg is as special as you say, bring that too; just be sure it’s less than 3.4 ounces.
The OGIO Metro Backpack, with deminsions of 18”h x 13.5”w x 9”d it’s far under the maximum allotted size, yet has plenty of room.