Packing Tips

Packing? Where do I start?

For some people, packing for a trip can be very stressful.  There are many factors that will impact your packing habits.  Use this list to help start your personal packing list.

Travelers who are flying… should be aware of the TSA’s restrictions for carryon items.  Forchecked luggage with airlines, travelers are limited on the amount of liquids, gels and aerosols in their carryon items.  There are other restrictions too like knives, combustable materials, etc.  You can view the TSA Checklist.    If you are in doubt about being able to fly with an item, check the “official” list.

Where’s my suitcase?  Are you ready to start packing?  The Universal Packing List was created by Mats Henricson and allows you to customize your packing based upon your dates, expected temperature ranges, activities, etc.  You can even select the countries that you will be visiting.  This is a great site to start your packing list.  This list also includes some reminders for things to do before you leave like take out the trash and turn down the thermostat.

Packing Hint and Suggestions
Below are some of the many tips we have gathered over the years.  If you have additional hints, please send them to us by email.

Before Leaving Home

  • Going abroad? Check medical and accident policies to see if they cover you.
  • Put complete make-up on from your kit before leaving so you know if anything is missing. Aerosol cans must be partially used to allow for expansion. Tape container tops, pack in clear plastic zipper-lock bags. All liquids should be in plastic bags and have room in bottle for expansion from heat or altitude.
  • Photocopy eyeglass and medical prescriptions, in case you lose medicine, etc. Pack medicine in purse, not suitcase. Make sure all medicine is labeled and in the original container(for possible customs inspection).
  • Leave photocopy of itinerary with family, office, friend, in case they need to contact you.
  • Leave a copy of your travel documents (driver’s license, birth certificate and/or passport) and credit cards with someone at home in case you need to have them faxed to you after losing your set.
  • Stop (Hold) your mail by visiting  It’s free and keeps mail with important identifying information like credit card bills from sitting in your mailbox for days unattended.
  • Remove breaker or turn off your water heater; no need in heating the water while you are traveling.
  • Turn your home’s water off at the inlet point to prevent possible busted pipes and water damage.

Luggage Identification

  • Government regulations require identification outside luggage.  For safety, use a business address instead of your home address.
  • For fast identification of your luggage, put a colorful wool ribbon on the handle or large, stick on label on the side of the suitcase.
  • Place copy of itinerary inside suitcase, with name, dates, flights, etc., for luggage “catch-up” if lost.

Packing Valuables and Carryons

  • Take fancy, expensive luggage if you must, but be aware it attracts thieves who assume the contents are equally expensive and worth stealing. Instead, consider cheap, plastic suitcases that sell for under fifty dollars in most cities. If they last for 30 or 40 trips before wearing out, your per-trip cost to use the bag amortizes to a dollar or so.
  • Traveler’s checks are safe, but not as prevalent as in the past.  Use a money belt, put valuables and prescription medicine in purse or carryon, not suitcase. Thus, if suitcase is lost or delayed, you have the really important stuff.
  • Leave expensive jewelry home (less tempting to thieves); take costume jewelry instead.
  • If you are traveling with someone, pack half your clothes in his bag, and carry half his in your luggage. Then if one bag gets lost, you at least have half your things.
  • If traveling on late night or overnight flights, carry a sweater as cabins can be cool.

You Have Arrived, Now What?

  • For jet lag, plan a simple first evening and take it easy the first day.
  • Use warm bulb from hotel lamp to iron out wrinkles. Remove from lamp first, of course.
  • Hang garments in hotel bathroom or shower stall first night, turn on hot water until steam fills area. Leave hanging overnight to get rid of travel wrinkles in clothes.
  • Packed troubles in a box and leave behind.

Packing List