As I write this, I’m sitting in a hotel near the airport in Atlanta. I wasn’t supposed to be here today but the winter storm that’s raging through the Northeast caused many flight cancellations including mine.
I arrived in Atlanta only to find that my connecting flight had been cancelled and that I would have to find a hotel room for the night.
I’m kicking myself right now because I checked my luggage!
I haven’t checked a bag since I flew from Jamaica to Tokyo for a TV appearance. My luggage was put on the wrong plane and I almost had to go on the air with a borrowed suit that was about two sizes too big for me.
It ended up getting delivered to the studio about 5 minutes before we started shooting in front of a live audience, but I vowed never again to check my bags if I could help it.
This morning I forgot that lesson and now I’m left without a change of clothes or decent toiletries or any of the work I was intending to do.
Don’t let this happen to you!
The only way you can make sure this never happens is to carry on your luggage.
I could have carried my luggage on the plane this morning, it was small enough to fit in the overhead compartment, but I didn’t. Maybe that was so I’d be inspired to write this carry-on packing list for you
How to Pack for Your Next Trip Without Checking Any Luggage
1. Get luggage with a total dimension of 45″
Most airlines currently allow you to carry on 1 piece of luggage with a total length, width, and height of 45″. So the first thing to do is make sure you have a suitcase that maxes out this limitation without exceeding it.
2. Get a catalogue case
Most airlines also allow you to carry on 1 personal item like a purse or a laptop bag. I carry a catalogue case. Airline pilots typically carry these for their flight manuals. They are big enough to store your laptop in the outer accordian compartment and then fill the inner compartment with clothes or shoes or toiletries or whatever didn’t fit in your suitcase. Ladies can also stuff their purses into the center compartment of the catalogue case along with everything else.
This is what my case looks like.
3. Don’t overpack
Almost everyone packs far more clothes than they need.
No matter where you are going, you can probably get by with:
• a single pair of jeans
• a single sweater
• a white dress shirt
• a dark pair of slacks
• a pair of sweatpants or shorts
• a few t-shirts (you’ll buy more when you get there anyway)
• a dark jacket and tie for men or a little black dress for women
4. Only pack two pairs of shoes
Men – a pair of sneakers and a pair of dress shoes.
Women – a pair of sneakers and a black pump with a low heel. Trust me. It’s enough.
4. Buy toiletries at your destination
They’re cheap. They’re easy to find. And not packing them will free up a lot of extra space in your luggage.
5. Only bring one book.
That’s all you’ll read anyway so why weight yourself down with a lot of extra paper. Enjoy the change of scenery and save the book for the plane.
6. Photocopy your important documents
Bring a copy of your Driver’s License, Passport, and phone numbers for your Credit Card companies and leave it in the safe at your hotel. It can come in handy if your purse or wallet disappears.
7. Bring a laptop, an iPod, and noise canceling headphones
OK, so not everyone will need all of these, but they’ve become a must for me. I never travel without any of them.
In one sense, they’re toys that help pass the time. A way to watch movies and listen to music while on long flights.
They also increase productivity. You can go through all of your email and respond to them while on the plane without interruption. You can listen to a seminar on your iPod a the double speed setting and take notes on your laptop. You can catch up on your work without your cellphone ringing or the Internet beckoning.
The noise canceling headphones block out most of the ambient noise and the drone of the engine too so you can really focus without becoming fatigued. (I have the ones by Bose and they’re amazing!)
If you have any of your own tips to add to this list, please do so in the comment form at the bottom.
Until next time, may your next trip be safe and fun and may you arrive with your luggage in hand.