I had earlier done a post on Travel light, travel fun, travel safe… Today decided to do one to help people pack for a long haul… I know packing can get daunting and for some it drives them mad. They end up spending hours, if not days ahead of the trip doing nothing but packing an repacking.. I for one have always been chill about it, takes me about half an hour and I typically do it the day am travelling…  

I am
a minimalist to the core. I believe in owning very little and this extends to
everything else in my life as well, even travelling.  For my domestic trips,  I carry just about enough items that will
help me get through the trip and maybe one extra set of clothes [ just in case]
which will invariably come back unused. But now when I was planning my 1st
ever long vacation to USA, it kinda had me in a fix. Should I pack as I do for
my local trips or should I carry more? Having seen my uncle [who visits from
USA] over the years, I know it is enough to pack just enough, but then he has
quite a few sets of clothes to everything else here at home, so he does not
need to lug as much from there.
But
I was gonna be travelling within the country, staying with friends and others
for a day or so, therefore thought I would need more stuff than what I would
carry for a typical 3.5week trip. Boy oh boy, did I learn my lesson.  I brought back so many clothes and
undergarments untouched and regretted carrying so much. But then we wont know
till we do it once, right?

So here are a few tips on what to carry in your check-in baggage and what to pack in your hand baggage.. Let me know if you have any other add-ons to this.. 

 The cool checkin kiosks at all airports… 
This is by Jetblue, but almost all airlines have this facility 
Show your passport, then swipe your card to pay for the bag, choose your seat, print out your boarding pass and proceed to security check in area.. voila! Saves so much time and is quite easy to use… 

What I carried… a suitcase and a backpack 
 The Minion luggage tag


 A red gold ribbon along with the luggage tag for easy identification..I had the red gold ribbon on my backpack as well. πŸ™‚ 


 The TSA approved lock on the suitcase.. You can change number and set the lock..
The universal Charger that came in handy…

A bag that can be folded and tucked away into a small pouch, these are such space savers and are useful when you are going on short trips or shopping expeditions. These LOQI bags are so handy and can hold quite a bit [upto 20kgs]. I also carried another one similar to this with a zip for my 2day trip within USA 



The pouch with all the charging cables [except phone and laptop]


Check in bag
Typically
airlines allow about 20-25kgs check in baggage [per item], but do check our
airline rules for details on how much is allowed.   I flew Cathay Pacific and they allowed 2
bags of max 23kgs each. I had decided I was carrying one suitcase and a
backpack for the trip only.
Since
I was travelling to the USA, friends had advised me to pick up a suitcase with
a TSA lock on it.  Otherwise, airport
authorities might end up breaking the lock if they want to inspect the
suitcase.  What I noticed was that my
suitcase had been inspected but the kind folks had left a paper that said the
suitcase had been inspected and they had repacked it to the best of their
abilities along with an apology for any mess-ups.

If you see a cool/funky luggage tag make sure to grab it, will be easy to identify your bag if you have one of these on it… Check out my cool Minion tag [gift from a friend and he travelled with me all over USA]

What and how to pack

  • All your clothes, undergarments, towels, socks, extra
    footwear, accessories, cosmetics, toiletries, medication, extra books to read,
    gifts and other eatables you were carrying for the people you were visiting go
    into your suitcase.
  • If you are carrying a perfume bottle, make sure to pack it
    inside socks or wrap it in a stole/tshirt so it stays protected for the journey
  • If you are carrying lotions or creams, again wrap it well so
    there are no leaks, you can also cellotape the mouth to keep it shut.
  • Pickles, sauces, jams and others need to be packed in thick
    plastic covers, sealed with cellotape and wrapped in a tshirt or towel [ that
    you are ok to discard in case of any spillage]
  • Carry all basic medicines along with any specific ones you
    need.
  • Keep a copy of your passport and local address in your
    suitcase.
  • Roll up t-shirts, undergarments, and any other item that can
    be rolled. It helps in saving space and easy to identify and pull out as well.
  • Foldable bags [1-2] that you can carry for a short day trip
    or  stay over.
  • I always throw in 1-2 freshener sachets in the suitcase. It
    helps in fighting any kind of musty smell and feels nice every time I open the
    suitcase.
  • Carry one hand towel and one bath towel – I always carry light
    thin ones that I know will dry fast. 

Hand baggage

Note: This can either be a backpack or a backpack plus a hand bag. But remember the flights have restriction on size and weight for this as well, so do not attempt to carry another ginormous stroller as a hand baggage. Also, in case you have a few hours transit, you will have to be lugging them around, so keep it light and small. 
  • Important documents- Have a pouch of sorts to store your passport, foreign currency and other important documents that you have to carry. Keep them all in one place so it is easy to pull out at the airport during check in and security checks.  Remember to keep your wallet also along with this so you can pull out your ID card whenever needed. 
  • Laptop – If you are carrying your laptop make sure to carry a
    backpack that has provision for the same. Best way to keep it from getting scratched
    or damaged. Remember to pack the charger as well.
  • Camera – I carried my DSLR in my backpack with just one lens.
    If you are the kind to carry all lenses, best would be to carry a camera
    bag.  Again remember to carry the charger
    and extra memory cards as well
  • Other chargers & cables  – if you
    carry an ipod/mp3 player, phone, other devices that require charging, remember
    to put them all in a pouch and have them in your backpack. This extends for
    power banks as well.
  • Hand sanitizer and wet wipes – carry a bottle/a packet.
    Flights are known to be the largest germ carriers, so best to use these.
  • Hand lotion – our skin
    tends to dry out in flight, as the air is quite dry, so use the lotion
    liberally.
  • Lip balm – For the 1st few days after landing in LA
    I had the toughest time as the area around my lips had dried up and was hurting
    like crazy. A Vaseline based lip balm was what came to my rescue and helped fade
    the pain an dryness away. I would advise you use this in flight as well.
  • Tissues – Use them to wipe your hands, face, or just about
    anything but always keep a packet handy. Infact this time I carried around a tissue  roll through the length of the journey [what if the public loo I visited had run out of tissues…egads..]
  • Eats – Carry oatmeal bars/granola bars, chocolates, biscuits,
    small bottle of juice and ofcourse water when you travel. It does not matter if
    it is for a flight or when exploring a new town. These are life savers!  Also remember to pack in some chewing gum or
    mint.
  • A set of clothes & a hand towel–   Always carry a set of clothes in your back
    pack. You never know when it would come in handy. Just a T-shirt, pants, and a
    set of undergarments would do. Same holds true for a towel.
  • Medication – If you are
    on any special medication, remember to carry that in a pouch in your back
    pack.  It could be to help you with
    motion sickness or a pre existing condition, but don’t forget.
  • Address and phone number – Yes these days we all whip out our
    phones for details. It wouldn’t hurt to carry a notebook in your backpack with
    address and phone number of those you are visiting/staying with.
  • Book to read/write – If you are in the habit of reading, carry one book for
    the flight and similarly if you are into journals, do carry one along with a good pen.
  • Headphones – Oh yes, always carry good noise cancelling
    headphones. Most airlines will give you a pair of headphones, but having your
    own gives the freedom to listen to music while you are exploring a town as
    well.
  • Universal Charger – If you are travelling to a different
    country, best to carry one of these as it comes with provisions for different
    charging styles. Do some research and figure out what that country uses and
    make sure to carry an adaptor/charger that will work.
  • Disposable bag – in case you want to trash something or to carry a wet towel, it is best to pack it separately so it does not soil other items in the bag


Note:
I
was travelling for 3.5weeks and what I did was pack in about 10
tops/tshirts/shirts/blouses along with a pair of jeans and 3 other pants
[palazzos, printed pants and a black workout pant of sorts]. As for
undergarments I took enough to last me a year [cos I wasn’t sure if I would be
able to do laundry].
I
should have just gone with my intuition and packed as I would for a local trip.
Lesson learnt! NO more lugging more than I need, plus most homes had
washer-dryer I was able to wash clothes and I repeated them. J



Bottom line- If you have your passport, some money, local address details and a set of clothes, rest can be purchased [ incase your check in bag goes missing or takes longer to arrive]. So don’t panic or worry unnecessarily, all you need to focus on is the holiday and the experience… πŸ˜€