If packing a suitcase was an Olympic sport, Joanna and I would be fierce competition. Just picture a duo of Tonya Hardings but without the crowbar-to-the-knee situation, and that’s us.
And since we’ve been traveling and packing non-stop, our skills have reached GOLD MEDAL EXCELLENCE. Also, a well-packed suitcase calms us, particularly pre-flight.Honestly, I’m beginning to think that packing squares are a form of Xanax.
The trip was EIGHT DAYS but I still managed to pack what I needed with some space to spare. Here’s my strategy…
[ THE ] SUITCASE + [ THE ] CARRY-ON
Let’s start with the basics. A suitcase should be big enough to hold your things and light enough to avoid back pain if you’re forced to pick it up by someone like my mother, Roberta.
And to make life easier at baggage claim, choose an easy to spot suitcase like these:
For your carry-on, a smaller suitcase can fit more items and it’s easier to keep organized.
[ THE ] PACKING SQUARES
The key to packing success is to maximize space and use packing squares to keep everything contained and organized.
Speaking of keeping things organized, as if the ROYGBIV prints weren’t enough, JOY ADDED A SPOT FOR PERSONALIZED LABELS. Yes, she’s the true hero in our society.
I used the large packing squares to fit 8 DAYS worth of shirts and pants. To maximize space, I prefer to roll my clothes rather than fold them. The strategy worked so well that I was able to fit my laundry bag and toiletries comfortably to the side. (THIS IS WHERE I’M HANDED A MEDAL. THANKS.)
The packing squares also fit my pajamas, underwear, and bras, which I categorized and labeled separately.
The heavier items like bulky sweatshirts were rolled on top at the end. For shoes, you can either store in a separate packing square or a side pocket within the suitcase.
Just in case, each square comes with a zipper compartment on the back and can hold any excess.
[ THE ] TOILETRIES
For your toiletries and cosmetics, it helps to have compartments. And if it can hang, that’s a plus.
If you choose to keep your toiletries in your carry-on, use a set (including a bag) that’s guaranteed TSA-friendly. P.S. it helps if you label all of the bottles and jars!
[ THE ] CARRY-ON ESSENTIALS
Since we aren’t private jet material, my carry-on bag is a survival kit, including items to comfort and distract myself.
If I’m traveling for work, I pack my laptop, camera, and a collection of chargers. And since I have no patience to speak to Apple Care customer service, I keep my tech devices in cases to avoid damage. If I’m not packing an actual carry-on suitcase, a leather tote bag works.
To keep my chargers from tangling, I found these genius cord keepers from Paper Source.
I keep the tied up cords in a canvas pouch (specifically, a rainbow one from Meri Meri) so I know where to find them AT ALL TIMES.
And just in case, a wireless backup charger in is always necessary. It saves you from having to fight off your fellow travelers for power outlets.
Everything included below gives off the impression of “I’m not here to talk to strangers.”
3. “Everything Is Gonna Be Okay” Thermal Mug (Holds tea, coffee, or your favorite champagne that you poured in from the airport bar.)
Xo Clea + Joanna