March 15, 2017

The Secret to Stress Free Packing and Travel | Book Review

Packing. One of the worst parts about taking a vacation, amirite? If you're anything like I used to be, it's all about cramming every possible space in your suitcase and carry-on with every possible item you may need. Long before my flight attendant days, I was a notorious overpacker. 
The First Step to Becoming an Efficient Packer and Traveler | Line Up and Wait

Actually, even at the beginning of my time as a flight attendant, I was an overpacker. I remember showing up for what we called a "stand up" overnight (or a high speed, or a CDO [continuous duty overnight]), which basically means the crew works the last flight into a city at night and the first flight out in the morning. The crew is on duty the full amount of time (typically about 8 hours), but they are given a hotel room to rest. Well, on my first CDO, I had a bag full of clothes, makeup, books, laptop...and used nothing of it. I brushed my teeth, threw on some sweats and a tshirt and crashed for about three hours. I pulled my uniform back on in the morning and was ready to get back to Houston to really go to sleep in my own bed in a few hours. So that entire long story goes to show you that I still have overpacking tendencies, despite my experience of living out of a suitcase!

In my years of flying, living out of hotels, moving frequently, and traveling for work, I've come up with quite a few tips and tricks that work really well for me. However, there's one non-negotiable secret that I think everyone should follow. And that would be...

Buy a quality suitcase that is built to last!

But why would I spend $450 on a bag that just gets my things from point A to point B? Because you want your things to arrive intact. The job of your suitcase isn't to look pretty (but it's a nice perk!), the job of your suitcase is to get your belongings from point A to point B so that they show up clean, safe, and unbroken. The bag protects its contents from rain, snow, falls, you name it. So your suitcase shows up at baggage claim and it's looking a little worse than it did when you dropped it off? Cool. It's taking a beating so that what's inside - what really matters to you - is intact. Even the best suitcases will get scuffed, scratched, and generally worn. And that's completely okay. A quality bag will look even better as it ages and you can save yourself so much cash by investing in a good suitcase instead of replacing your lousy one after every trip.

I highly, highly recommend TravelPro (any of their crew lines are great, I've had mine since 2009 and in my time in the industry it's been on and off airplanes thousands of times as checked and carry-on and it's still going beautifully). Tumi is also a wonderful brand, and they stand by their products. Hard-sided suitcases might seem like a good bet, but I see them broken more frequently than any other kind. My TravelPro is an older one with only 2 wheels, but it's perfectly easy for me to drag it behind me, regardless of what it's filled with. And it's light, so I can lift it into the overhead, up the subway stairs, or into my trunk, regardless of how much shopping I did while traveling! So if you do one thing when it comes to travel - especially semi-frequent travel - BUY A QAULITY BAG!

Now, as far as packing the bag? I'm going to leave that to a pro, Hitha Palepu, author of the new book How To Pack. This short little information book is filled to the brim with ideas on exactly what to bring with you and how to pack, depending on your type of trip. Hitha's own blog,, is a great resource for all kinds of travel queries, but her book narrows down one of vacations biggest stressors: packing. She talks about pre-packing, choosing the right style of clothing, adding accessories to change up a look, what sort of toiletries are must-haves, how to edit your beauty routine for travel, and the big part: making the list and how to actually pack for maximum space. Hitha's book is a cute extension of her blog, and would make a great gift for any new college grad who might be moving into a new job that requires a lot of travel. Definitely check it out! But first - get yourself a quality suitcase before your summer vacations start up!

I received a copy of How To Pack at no cost via If you're a blogger who loves to read, check out their selection! As always, opinions are my own.

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