How you pack for a trip is almost as important as what you pack and what you pack your things in. Here are some tips:
Packing Cubes: I use these packing cubes (medium and large size) to keep the contents in both my check-in and carry-on bags neat and organized. They are zippered with a net like top so you can see the contents in the bag.
I use a medium size packing cube to pack all of my electronics chargers and cords in. A friend who travels a lot told me to tie all of my electronic cords together neatly (okay, mine isn’t quite as neat) and put them in one bag. He travels a lot and has never been stopped going through security to checked his hand carry bag. Since I have followed his advice I have only been checked once. All other times I have just breezed on through. Doing this will also keep all of your cords in one place.
I also have another packing cube packed away to store all my miscellaneous souvenirs like postcards, maps, ticket stubs or little items. It keeps things together and if I needed to find something I just have to look in one place.
Packing Pouches: I like to use a clear packing zippered pouch to store my cell phone, iPod, iTouch and ear phones. For the same reason as keeping my cords together I like to keep my electronics in one place until I pass through security. Then I’ll sort it out for convenience once on the plane.
Clear Zippered Pouch: I have another clear zippered pouch to carry my medications and small liquid/lotion containers. Some airports require it to be separated in a clear plastic bag. I bought these clear zippered pouches so they are sturdy and in case of spillage they will not leak.
Plastic Zip Lock Bags: I use Large airtight Zip Lock bags to sort out my clothes into groups. And I pack extra bags to place my worn clothes in to to keep them separate from my clean clothes. This is helpful when moving from one city to the next. In fact, when my stays are short in one town or two, I won’t even unpack. I just pull out the things that I need for those two days or so.
BTW, I like to bring extra zip lock bags (small and Large) along on every trip. They can be used to store snacks or other items while sightseeing.
Avoiding Breakage/Spillage: If I am bringing home souvenirs that are breakable, I will use my clothes (like fleece tops or socks) to provide cushion around the items. If I am taking wine or some other type of liquid item, I will use this item called Wine Skins. I has a tight seal and bubble wrap to secure your bottles.
One of the new in thing to do in the US is to go green. That means doing everything possible to not be wasteful. These days we bring our own recycable bags to use and reuse so we don’t waste paper or plastic at the stores. For this reason, I always carry a little fold-up plastic bag to tuck away in my handbag or camera bag. I use it to put grocery things in. I bought mine at REI and they are fantastic.
And there’s a good reason why I put my Scottish sheep in the photo besides the fact that he’s so cute, of course. I wanted to give you some scale as to how compact it folds up to and how large it is unfolded.
REI – Packing Cubes