how to pack a suitcase more efficiently





“Traveling is a triple pleasure: Waiting, dazzling and remembering”.
Ilka Chase.




Hello, young Padawan



It is time to pack all of your stuff to go to the destination of your dreams, … or to join your boss at the Denver Gardening Show for a week (is there even a gardening show in Denver ?? lol). Sexy. Good luck, I envy you. In this case, no need to take your bikini obviously. What? You do want to negotiate an increase there? No judgment in this blog, but you have a very curious way of negotiating. Just let me know if it works in private message, so I can benefit my readers about the bikini-ukulele-wiggle technique.


No matter how long you leave, packing splits into two steps. The first step I would call it the “vital minimum”, meaning the things you necessarily take regardless of the number of days you leave (a toothbrush for example) and then for the second step it’s more a matter of numbers of underwears and pairs of socks. On this second point you will not need my help I think, but if you still have a doubt about it you can buy yourself some “days of the week” underwears, even if I do not do not guarantee you an international success with the opposite sex. Maybe some people don’t like organized folks, lol.


So, we are going to discuss the essential and superfluous-super-useful of this vital minimum, for the checked baggage, the cabin luggage, and the purse if you have one (in French we have a lovely name for a purse. It is called literally a “fuck in town”. Yes, we are true poets, I know).




It depends …

It depends on where you are going, but it depends mostly on what you are going to do.


If you go on a trip to a country where modernity and access are comparable to the USA or Europe, we are good, I’ll be able to bring you my two or three little tricks, certainly commonplace, but if you had not thought about them it may be able to change your globe-trotting life a bit.


But if you go backpacking for a wilderness trek, a 60 miles hike in Zimbabwe, or to cross Mount Everest, I will not be able to be of help to you because I have never experienced. For the time being.
Camping is for me an extraterrestrial thing, it’s not my planet, so I would not be useful as well.


We are going to talk about long-haul flights trips here, transatlantic for my part, but it obviously applies to all long flights because the important is not the ocean or the continent that you cross but the flight duration. The longer you stay locked in the flying box, the more you will have to be a minimum organized, for you and for others.


For now, you can start by looking at the weather … then you can begin with the most essential: to make a list.



Make a list of things you are afraid to forget

A few days before your departure, the easiest way is to start a checklist of all the things that will be essential during your next trip. This is THE thing that will make you think of everything, and will not burden yourself with unnecessary trinkets that will weigh down your luggage, and your poor shoulders that have not asked for it


– Starting with the must-haves like passport, visa, reservation documents, phone chargers and various devices that you will take with you, backup batteries …


– Do you take medications? Are you going to have your period? Do you take food supplements? Note those personal things that you must take imperatively with you.


– Are you going skiing? List all the equipment that will be useful on site. Sunglasses, mask, scarf, hat, helmet, ski pants, jacket, the different layers of clothing you like to wear (polar or not, technical t-shirt or not), gloves, high socks, sunscreen, lip balm , hand cream, tissues,heating or cooling patches in case of knee or back pain, arnica … but remember to not load your suitcase too much because you can always buy stuff on your vacation spot.


– Are you going to visit a big city? You will walk a lot. Much more than you think. Note to bring two pairs of comfortable sneakers (in case it rains, you will thank me for having a spare pair of dry shoes the day after), anti-blister bandages, it is going to be sunny? : sunscreen, sunglasses and a cap, it is going to be cold? : beanie, gloves, scarf, tissues …
A map or a guide of the city on which you already check what you wanted to visit and how to go to … In case you take a purse I recommend you to bring a small shoulder bag to have your hands free during your long excursions.


– If you do not speak the language of the country note to make a small lexicon to be able to communicate a minimum, like “Hello, thank you, goodbye, excuse me, the check please, where are the toilets ?, I have “day of the week” underwears, left, right, in front of, behind, far, near, where is the subway?, how many minutes on foot is …, Do you speak English? French?” (we all talk French when we are mad don’t we? haha! I know you do)…




the checked baggage

First of all, I recommend you a suitcase that is very rigid and solid but as light as possible. I remind you that you’ll put a lot of stuff in it that will weigh it down, so if it already weighs the burden of a dead donkey (plus the weight of the dead donkey as well), we are not out of the woods.


Then, it seems obvious, but when you observe the people in the airports you realize that it is not obvious for everyone: Put in your luggage only things you will not need during your flight, or you will have to open the beast at the check-in and to annoy everyone. Do not put inside it valuable objects like jewels, money, computers, fragile objects … because you take the risk that it gets lost, or manhandled, jostled in all the meaning, so if you want to carry a Ming vase inside your checked luggage it is your choice, but there are some people who tried and they had some issues, just for you to know.


If your trip last more than a week, do not bother to take your shower gels and other heavy and risky bottles (leaking on your day-of-the-week underwears). Take a kit of empty mini bottles that are now available everywhere, fill them for a shower or two and buy your essentials on site. They also wash themselves in other countries, you know, even in France (Yes we do, at least I do, lol) … Do not forget to put your little kit in a Ziploc (second security in case of shower gel flood. Safety first.), you’re welcome.


On the other hand, I do not recommend you the purchase of everything that is very intimate like tampons or pads in the spot because first, it is not what will weigh down your suitcase and secondly I don’t know what you think but I’m not tempted by the experience of having an eventual allergy in this personal zone. Definitely not!


Then, in the hotels there is often a laundry service, downtown in the cities there are coin launderettes, so if you leave two or three weeks you can also allow yourself to take one or two jeans less and have your necessary washed on the spot (I saw you smile behind your screen, I was talking about clothes little rascal!).


Finally, know that the “we never know” and the “in case of” have no place in a suitcase (for a destination like ours, as we said). So there is no point in charging yourself with fifteen things you will not use, at worst you can buy them on spot. But trust me, you will not need it. And don’t forget that it is nice to save a room for souvenirs 😉




the cabin luggage

Here you put everything that you can not put in your checked baggage and stuff that is less necessary than those in the purse (if you do not carry a handbag it will do both, of course). As mentioned above it will be about fragile or valuable objects such as computers, cameras, lenses, tablet, while paying attention to be as light as possible. First, the weight is limited, second, you will have to put this suitcase in the luggage compartment located above your head, and it is possible to have a broken elevator or some long stairs to climb on your way.


In case of loss of the checked baggage, I advise you to put a change of clothes in your cabin luggage, as well as a kit of sample toilet here or in the handbag (mini toothbrush and mini toothpaste, mini makeup removal set / cleansing set … I choose to have it in my purse because I use it regularly during my trip #Monk). In case you are the lucky winner of the dreaded joke, you will be prepared.


My cabin luggage does not contain any essential to use during the flight, everything is in my purse because I like an easy flight, efficient, and do not like to disturb the others (and myself) during it, fetching in the luggage compartment above people. And risk to knock them out lol.


I advise you a luggage with wheels so you will not hurt your back, because we walk a lot in airports when we have to go from one gate to another, we can stay a long time standing up at boardings, or in case of strikes (if you come to visit France! #lol), besides, you can put your purse and your coat on top of it.




the purse

Beware of the weight! Remember that you will lug it all along your flight, in addition to your cabin luggage. It must be practical, don’t worry about your style, you will have it when you settle down at your hotel if you want, but for now, it is better to simplify your life in order to get to the point, basically. That’s why I always choose a large tote bag, lightweight when it is empty but strong, flexible but stiff enough (flexible and solid at the same time, like your toilet paper, lol) and with a flat bottom, so I can put it on top of my cabin luggage. Thereby, I carry the least possible.


I put a bag organizer inside my tote bag and a pouch to find anything I need in the blink of an eye. This is the best solution I could try. Fast, efficient, we see everything at a glance, we cannot lose anything because it is obvious if something is missing.


Bring an empty light bottle to fill it with water after the security check. It is imperative to drink a lot during a long flight indeed, but the small bottles of water and the few drinks they offer during flights are clearly not sufficient in my opinion (to avoid the crocodile skin and the various undesirable effects of a long flight). Plan to have some medications in your purse if you have migraine tendencies for example, so as to have them directly on hand.


A transparent pouch (of the regulatory size) where you will store all your essential liquid products for the flight. Here’s what I put in mine: A mini toothpaste/toothbrush kit, a hydrating propolis spray for the throat, a moisturizing spray for the nose, some neutral drops for the eyes, a mini vial of make-up remover and toning lotion (in case of the loss of my checked baggage or the need to remove my make-up during the flight if necessary …), a tube of very moisturizing cream for the face and hands, a moisturizing cloth mask, a very rich lip balm (with shea butter), a peppermint roll-on (I’m not prone to migraines but in case it happens, I know I can apply it to the temples to relieve me, preferring it to drugs).


You read “a moisturizing cloth mask”, and now you tell yourself: “what? no! she does not use it during flights anyway!!? Well yes, I do it, my little Padawan. I don’t want to hear about dry skin because of the air conditioning.

Let’s do a tiny bit of philosophy of life in this article: You have to learn how to treat yourself and to do not care about the judgment of the others. It is important for your own happiness, sweetheart. Especially since I notice that we are more and more to do it, well, no more than one or two passengers per flight, but trust me the invasion of little ghosts in sheet mask is coming! Besides, it is Halloween very soon, so you can pretend that you are testing your disguise lol! Come to seek happiness in the second-degree team of people who “don’t give a poop”! (Hey, you saw it? I tried not to be rude. Why are you saying “for once”?!).



– Ed. of this article after an enlightened comment in the French section: If you are concerned, think imperatively to wear support stockings (compression tights?). –




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The old but faithful bag organizer of your loyal servant found on Amazon. The big black patterned pouch comes from a French boutique, “Maison du Monde”. It looks like nothing from here but in a purse, it makes all the difference. For the daily I remove the big pouch that I only use for the plane, I put instead of it a smaller one for my “girls stuff” and then my agenda next to it, ed.




Once everything is packed, take a last look

Once you have tidied up all your stuff and checked that you are ok with the weight (watch out, it can change from one company to another) it is time to make a last check of your list, of your bathroom, your closet, to be sure you have not forgotten anything.


To end this article, I recommend you to have a TSA lock for your checked baggage in case of customs control on the North American continent, thereby it will avoid you to buy a new suitcase (they break the lock if it is not TSA). I also advise you a padlocked strap to put around it (TSA again of course) in addition to your suitcase’s lock for two reasons. First for more security, because the zippers can break, it happens. The second reason is more practical: the suitcases are all alike, you will find it more easily on the rolling carpet.





And here you are, ready for a great adventure, I wish you the best of travels, and that it will bring you new neurons because, as Emile Zola (a French writer) said: “nothing develops intelligence like the trips “.


Bon voyage!  ✈️




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The magnificent Swiss Jura, CH.

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