all about packing, part one

December 8th, 2013 / by / in: packing / No responses

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This entry is all about one of my favourite subjects — PACKING! I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos and read a lot of blog entries in which girls explain how they pack and almost all of it is useless. I don’t care what you bring on the plane if you have two pieces of checked luggage. 99% of the time, I don’t check luggage so everything I bring comes on the plane with me.

I think that the whole carry-on only thing can be daunting for some people, but it shouldn’t be! It’s so easy and you’ll be a happier traveller. You’ll never worry about the airline losing or breaking your luggage and you won’t waste hours of your life hanging out at the baggage carousel. Your airport transfers will be effortless (no claiming bags and re-checking them for the next leg), and you’ll have the security of knowing all of your stuff is with you at all times.

If you’re the kind of person who obsesses over the “what if” scenarios while packing (“what if I need these 87 random things on my trip?”) or the type who gets panicky about forgetting something (“OMG what if I forget my shampoo/socks/aspirin?”), try to think about things rationally. Will you really need those 87 things on your trip? Really? Next time you check a bag, make note of how many of the items you packed that you actually end up using. It will probably be less than you think. As for forgetting something — it happens to everyone, checked luggage or not. But it’s not a big deal. Unless you’re going to rural Mongolia, you can buy shampoo/socks/a bottle of aspirin. And they probably do sell those things in rural Mongolia anyway.

There are legitimate reasons for checking bags: you have eight children, you have a disability, you’re a member of a royal family and need to cart around ballgowns and crowns, etc. But for most people, doing carry-on only is feasible. And once you try it, you won’t want to go back to checking bags!

The above bags are in my current rotation of carry-ons. I use them for different situations. There’s a LeSportsac Weekender, a Marc by Marc Jacobs Pretty Nylon Weekender, and my newest bag — an Antler Liquis carry-on spinner.

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My main go-to bag is the black and white LeSportsac weekender. This bag has been all over the world with me. It’s not sleek and classy like a Tumi bag, but it weighs almost nothing, and is very durable. This bag fit everything I needed for the three week trip we did to Asia last year. I love this bag.

A soft shoulder bag like this has its advantages — it’s better for shorter trips, and for domestic trips with regional airlines/smaller airplanes. It never has to be gate checked, and can always fit under the seat. It’s nice and squishy. But a bag like this can also get heavy because it has to be carried on your shoulder or in your hand all the time. (You will notice this especially when you’re sprinting through the airport to make a connection.)

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So I’ve finally decided it’s time for me to get a wheeled bag. Bags with wheels have an obvious advantage over shoulder bags: THEY HAVE WHEELS. They’re easier to carry because you don’t have to carry them at all. I did a lot of research to find the lightest bag possible and ended up with the Antler Liquis. It’s only 2.1kg and was the lightest hard-sided carry-on luggage I could find besides Rimowa. I prefer hard-sided bags (and they’re the norm in Asia). And the newer hard-sided bags are often lighter than their soft-sided friends. (Which is important — a lot of airlines have a weight restriction on hand luggage. For example, on Air Canada, Ryanair, and Peach, the limit is 10kg.)

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In terms of size, my two larger carry-ons hold roughly the same amount of stuff. I also included my “weekend” travel bag — the Marc by Marc Jacobs Preppy Nylon Weekender. It’s a bit smaller and a bit nicer than the LeSportsac, but still quite light.

Sooooooooo, for this entry, I’m going to show what I’d pack for approximately a week long trip. Really, this is slightly more stuff than I’d bring for a week, but it gives you an idea of what can fit in a carry-on bag. And if my trip was longer — two or three or four weeks, I wouldn’t really bring any more than this, I’d just do laundry while I was there.

Here’s the things I’ll be packing:

  • 2 dresses (1 black, 1 grey)
  • 5 tshirts
  • 2 tank tops
  • 1 nice shirt (good enough for a fancy restaurant when worn under a blazer)
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 2 pairs of leggings
  • 1 pair of tights
  • 1 pair of pajama shorts
  • 1 blazer
  • 1 v-neck pullover sweater
  • 7 pairs of underwear
  • 7 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of black flats
  • 1 makeup bag
  • 1 laundry bag

This is in addition to the clothes I wear on the plane — usually leggings, boots, a tshirt, a scarf, and a cardigan of some kind.

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Here’s the inside of the Antler bag. (It’s red! I like when suitcase linings come in fun colours or patterns.)

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And here’s the stuff I’ll be packing. (See above for the complete list.)

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Ta-da! Here’s the bottom layer packed — tops, dresses, leggings, tights, jeans and pajamas. I use the rolling method.

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As an aside, how cute are my Korilakkuma pajama shorts? They were $5 at a Walmart-like store in Seoul.

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So orderly. Such packing. Wow.

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I added the blazer on top and that’s everything for the bottom layer. It’s not super full, and more could fit if needed.

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I usually bring a laundry bag to throw dirty clothes in when I travel.

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This is my makeup bag. It’s a man’s LeSportsac shave bag, but it makes a perfect makeup bag because it has two separate compartments and a bunch of extra pockets. I put hair doodads like bobby pins and elastics in the front pocket.

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See, two zippered compartments.

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On one side, I have brushes and other tools (eyelash curler, tweezers, nail clippers), and some makeup wipes.

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I like Koh Gen Do makeup wipes, but baby wipes (much cheaper!) work too. I also like Ole Henriksen and Korres wipes.

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The other pocket holds all my makeup. (Except for liquids — they go in a separate TSA-friendly bag.)

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Foundation, powder, blush, lip balm, lipsticks, and a random assortment of eye products.

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A couple other random things to pack: toothbrush, sheet face mask (always useful!), and hairbrush. I buy toothbrushes in bulk whenever I can find them for $0.99 at the drugstore, so I always just bring a new one each time I travel.

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And the top (left) layer. It’s everything else: socks, underwear, flats, the sweater, brush, and my makeup bag.

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And we’re done! Easy, right? And there’s even room to fit extra stuff in case I buy anything.

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6.3kg! Well under the airline limits. (And as I mentioned, the bag itself weighs 2.1kg.)

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I took everything out of the Antler bag and put it into the LeSportsac bag for funsies. And so that you can see it holds a comparable amount. Everything fits, and it’s full but not totally stuffed.

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Kumamon likes to travel.

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Sorry for the poor photo, but it weighs 4.9kg when full. This bag itself weighs very little.

In addition to this carry-on bag, I bring a separate purse-type bag that holds everything I need while I’m at my seat (laptop, camera, phone, passport, Kindle, etc.) but I’ll talk about that in the next entry. I don’t want to have to open my main bag when going through security, so my liquids go in that bag as well. If you only want to bring one bag total, soft-sided luggage is probably a better choice because it usually has accessible pockets for your liquids and travel documents on the outside.

CARRY-ON ONLY FOR LIFE! (Click here for part two.)


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