Packing Tips and Tricks
- Find a Carry-On bag that will fit under an airplane seat
- Evaluate items added over time – pack over time
- Do not over pack with items you will not need
- Keep important items accessible
- Include an empty lightweight tote bag inside Carry-On
- Secure your ID, credit cards and room keys – shield from unauthorized RFID readers
Pack Using Past Experiences
Packing for a trip makes me nervous. The rule that says you only get half of the things done within your allotted time is so true. In my case I always run out of time and at the last minute I am running from room to room gathering most anything that is within reach. This behavior may work for a road trip, but it is a disaster waiting to happen while traveling on a commercial flight.
Arriving at my destination with all the right stuff requires that I use a more sane packing method. It is written everywhere that a list should be used to supplement our memory. I agree, however, I use a more natural long term method. You could say that I begin packing and making my list for the next trip the day I return from a trip. This is when my mind is fresh with things that worked and things that did not work so well.
Where are You Going?
I write about electronic gadgets so I am very fortunate to be able to attend the International CES show in the Las Vegas, NV, as well as the MacWorld/iWorld show in San Francisco, CA. They are literally a few weeks apart so if I get it right for the first show I am ready for the second. I only have enough spare time to make simple tweaks – not to make an entire new plan.
Carry-On Roller Bag
Choose the Right Bag
Choosing the right bag is very important for navigating the airport and the various sized jets. A carry-on bag will often get checked at the gate if the flight is crowded. What about your computer? What about your tablet with your in-flight entertainment loaded on it? This is the first inkling you will have whether your packing plan is a success. To avoid the aggravation of sorting your belongings when you should be boarding the plane – shop until you find a carry-on that really will fit underneath the seat in front of you. I find that any bag that has a single measurement over 16 inches will be eyed by the gate attendant to be checked.
Last year I carried my favorite pink medium sized duffle bag strapped to a smallish rolling luggage carrier. I thought that it would be versatile and easy to navigate in various situations. It worked great until I had to go through security or when I needed something from inside my bag. During the MacWorld/iWorld show I purchased a 16 inch tall wheeled carry-on bag just to get me back home. Since then I found a bag online that measures 14 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches. As I purchase travel sized items I toss them in the bag. Items that I may want, but that are not needed on a day to day basis gets tossed into the bag as well. My electronic gadgets will be the last items added. On a side note, I found colorful straps that work well to coral bulging carry-on bags that also add a layer of security while in a crowd.
Security is Important!
Speaking of security, I insure that my ID, credit cards and gift cards are kept in an RFID shielded sleeve. Once at the hotel it is also important to shield your room key. A criminal can steal your unprotected identity using a wireless device by simply getting close to you.
TSA Carry On Rules
What to Pack - or Not
Some items that I avoid packing are large makeup containers, fussy hair tools, extra shoes, high maintenance or bulky clothes and liquids that might leak. I prefer to leave my purse at home in exchange for a lightweight tote. I typically add an extra thin lightweight tote that can be stuffed into my bag just in case I bring home more than I left with.
My electronic gadgets are scrutinized according to my “need to use” purpose. Although one device can fulfill many duties, there are circumstances that require an additional device. Unlike other tablets, my iPad has a secure cellular connection that costs $29 per month – no lengthy contract. I like to have an additional tablet with me, but I will not log into an account while connected to an unsecure Wi-Fi connection. A laptop requires bulky power bricks while tablets typically require a USB cable. A portable power device can be used for multiple USB devices including a cell phone, reducing the need for additional power connectors – hence saving a lot of space and weight.
Check Your Packing List Again
Past the obvious items to pack I need to carry extra business cards. This is where a list is valuable. There will always be incidentals that are must haves. Just remember that they also take space in your bag and need to be accessible. Over the next several months I will probably trade out items in my bag, but in the end I will be calm and ready for travel. I will arrive at my destination with what I need and will not be loaded down with what I do not need.