There’s a great article about packing featured in this month’s issue of Real Simple magazine (July 2012). And I’m not just saying that because they quoted me and gave my book a little love. Okay so maybe I am! HA! No seriously, it’s a really good article. I even learned a thing or two about packing. …
[A special thank you goes to Vicki Howell for teaching me how to pack jewelry]
1. LEAVE THE SNOW GLOBE AT HOME: This time last year I asked a TSA agent in Dallas about the craziest thing he’d ever seen. I won’t lie, the answer shocked me, which is why I won’t repeat it here. Then he then went on to complain about the number of snow globes he’d collected. For the last few years snow globes have been on the list of banned carry-on items due to the fact that they contain an undetermined amount of liquid, yet based on the number confiscated last year many people seem to have not gotten the message. If you really just can’t leave home without it, pack it in your suitcase and check the bag.
2. SHIP THE PRESENTS: It might be too late to ship your gifts to wherever you’re spending Christmas this year, but before your return flight home you might want to make a quick stop at Fed Ex. Last year on one of my flights a passenger came on board at the last minute carrying a gigantic toy train in an unwrapped box. The overhead bins were full, so there was no place to stow it. Unfortunately we had no choice but to check the train. (I hope it made it to its final destination.)
3. DO NOT WRAP THE GIFTS: Unless of course you don’t mind TSA unwrapping them to take a look inside. Wrapped gifts packed inside checked luggage are fine.
I just read the New York Times article about your packing advice for travelers. What is the brand and model of the carry-on luggage that you used in the slideshow? – Michelle
The bag featured in the article is a Travelpro 22″ flight crew series 3. My company also provides airline personnel with an 18″ rollaboard. For whatever reason neither one of the bags are featured on Travelpro’s website, but they do offer something similar – a 20″ and 22″ expandable rollaboard under the Crew 7 Series. If you’re looking to buy a new suticase, my advice is to play it safe and go with the smaller one. While I like my 22″ suiter and use it whenever I’m taking long trips, commuting to work for a week straight, or on vacation with another family member using only one bag, I prefer the smaller 18″ suitcase for the majority of my travel.
Savvy travelers know how to pack light. I do this by planning outfits around two pairs of shoes. While the suiter works well when I need it, it’s too big and bulky for shorter trips. Fully packed it doesn’t always fit inside overhead bins on smaller, older aircraft – at least that’s what I’ve been told. Though it does fit just fine on a 767. As for the 737, I’d been warned repeatedly by coworkers it wouldn’t fit, but I was able to get it inside both a regular and reconfigured overhead bin. That said, I didn’t have anything packed inside the suiter section of the bag. Who knows, maybe I got lucky. Maybe my colleagues pack too much. All I know is I got it inside the bin without a struggle and didn’t have to check it.
When it comes to preparing for a trip, flight attendants are experts. We travel light with just a rollaboard and a tote bag. Rolling instead of folding leaves clothes wrinkle free. Outfits are coordinated around footwear; a comfy kick-around pair for exploring the city by day and something dressy for dinner and a show at night. Undies, socks and bikinis, whatever can be wadded up, are housed inside shoes. No space goes unused. To make things simple, pack black and be done with it. So what if we wear the same outfit over and over, that’s what accessories are for! Scarves and jewelry can completely change boring black into something fab. Whatever gets left behind becomes the perfect excuse to go shopping for something new! Or how about getting to know the locals at a Laundromat. What better place to read a guide book or ask around for a great place to eat?
Flight attendants aren’t the only experts. My last Galley Gossip post, The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010 – book giveaway, brought in quite a few interesting travel tips from smart women travelers around the world. Here is a list of my top 10 favorite tips…
10 SMART TRAVEL TIPS FROM WOMEN
1. My mom always says bring your swimsuit and one easy outfit in your carry on so you won’t lose a vacation day if checked bags are lost – Lindsay
2. If you are traveling with someone else, pack a few things in their luggage and a few of their things in your luggage. Then, if God forbid, one of you loses your luggage, you will still have some things to wear. – Leslie