We all love traveling but few of us enjoy packing! Want to know more about how to maximize space, get some TSA tips, save some money and even get access to our own ABL Air Travel Packing List? Well we've done the research for you, here is what we found...

Packing Tips

       One of the key factors when traveling is having what you need with you while abroad, finding the perfect balance between want and need can be challenging for some but becomes even more challenging for most when we pack at the last minute. Airlines have been cracking down on their luggage policies and most even charge for checked bags, therefore taking three suitcases to a four day stay in the Maldives makes little to no sense.

I travel with quite a bit of electronics in my carry-on due to the brand and because I work all the time, no matter where I am; but even then, I have sufficient space for the essentials. Carry on essentials constitute laptop, camera, phone, wallet, passport and other true essentials. If/when I must start making room in my carry-on for other items, I begin by removing the least essential thing(s), such as my neck pillow and all of those “flight entertainment” items that never get used yet go everywhere.

   When it comes to checked baggage, it’s very easy to just start throwing things into a suitcase and forget that there are weight restrictions, and relying on the airport attendant to, hopefully, not look at the numbers on the scale so that we don’t have to pay overweight baggage fees doesn’t normally pay off in our favor. Packing two-weeks’ worth of clothing for a long weekend is not wise, neither is packing a long weekend’s worth of items for a two-week trip. Then there are also the great weather questions that arise while packing, if I’m going to Alaska during their winter time, do I really need sixteen pairs of shorts, sleeve-less shirts and flipflops? I didn’t think so. Well, maybe the flipflops just so that I don’t have to put on my heavy Alaskan winter boots to hit up the vending machine in the hotel… Hotel carpets and imagining the ecosystems that could be living within them give me the creeps! But that’s for a different article.

   Here is a link to my Air Travel General Packing List. As you see, it’s detailed and contains items of varying levels of importance, which will depend on the reason for your trip as well as your opinion. There is also a very important category, Trip Specific Gear Bag. This section is more of a reminder of any specific gear that you may need on your trip. If this is a scuba diving specific trip, for example, then you will want to bring your scuba gear, which will have a list of its own. I have one hundred percent faith in my scuba regulators, not on anyone else’s, therefore I travel with my scuba gear on scuba trips (I carry my regs on the plane).

   Now comes the much-dreaded part of cramming everything into our suitcases; but must items be crammed? Well, that depends on how you pack them but, like everything else in life, there is a limit; therefore, pack as neatly as possible and that will give you small pockets of space to cram stuff into if necessary, underwear and socks make for great cramming items!

   Here are seven packing tips to save you time, money, and stress:

  1. Use a Packing List

Begin planning for all that packing you will need to do and create a packing list. Procrastinating on packing for a trip can create issues during our trip. No-one likes arriving at the destination for their three-day rainforest hiking trip and realizing that their only underwear is the one they’re wearing, talk about chaffing.

  1. Don’t simply fold your clothing, roll it

Tightly rolled clothing take less space than folded clothing, plus they won’t be as wrinkled when you arrive. This also gives you more placement options within your luggage, which comes in handy if you’re a ‘living-out-of-the-suitcase’ traveler.

  1. Know what to check

Never place your essential items in your checked luggage, if you do and your bags get lost then you may be out of prescription medication or other vital items that could result in health concerns or other major issues.

  1. Layers are key

Layers are very important when packing and while traveling, the TSA advises travelers to “pack items in layers” such as a layer of shoes, a layer of clothing, a layer of electronics, so that the security agents that screen bags have a better picture of the contents of your bag.

  1. Bring dual-purpose items

Wearing many layers tends to keep us warmer in cold climates versus simply wearing a t-shirt with a large jacket, this also provides us with more options of things to wear. One large winter jacket can take up as much, if not more, space than five or even more long-sleeved t-shirts.

  1. Wash your clothes

If your trip will be a long one, it may be a better idea to wash your clothing while abroad instead of having to increase the amount of clothing you take. Doing this may also save us the trouble of bringing back unwanted critters in our dirty laundry; none wants to look under their bed at home and find a camel spider that hitched a ride in our dirty laundry from Egypt.

  1. Know the regulations

Being over-informed is much better than not knowing enough, a simple web search will give you the details on the regulations for the airline you will be using, as well as TSA regulations and any destination specific laws or regulations you may want to know.

   Traveling for pleasure or otherwise can and should always be enjoyed, whether you’re visiting the pyramids in Egypt or scientifically studying the thickness of glaciers in the Arctic, make the best out of it and enjoy yourself. Take what you will need, leave the rest behind, and most of all Happy Trails Everybody!


Happy Trails Everybody!
~AB Lopez



To view this article in PDF form, click here: Packing Tips with Packing List