Tag Archives: luggage and packing

Travel Packing Tips 101: Using Cubes & Baskets

This afternoon I’m boarding an international flight for the Adriatic Coast of Europe, where I’ll be traveling with Hettie on a tour for two weeks — my first tour ever! (We shall see how it goes.)

In my move toward minimalism, I’m attempting to pack lighter (for me) and that means taking one medium sized 26″ suitcase. Yes, it will be checked.

A friend suggested that I share my packing tips with you. I welcome your additions to the suggestions offered below.

After extensive research, I ordered a set of Diniwell packing cubes. A Great way to organize your stuff. These have industrial strength zippers and are deeper than most. The mesh top allows you to see what’s inside.

(Note: For years, I have used clear plastic zipper bags recycled for this purpose after buying sheets, pillows, mattress covers sold in them. Over time, they have torn and are no longer useful. I always liked how I could see what I packed, so I wanted to replace this system with something similar.)

I take a sturdy Oaxaca handwoven basket and stuff it with boots, shoes or toiletries. I use it on the return trip to protect anything fragile I might buy. (On this trip, I intend to discard one pair of shoes at the end.) The bubble wrap and packing tape are in the outside zipper pouch of my TravelPro suitcase, which is now 10+ years old and still durable.

Handwritten packing list — I need to get this on a spreadsheet!

My carry on for this trip will not be a rollaboard. And, I’m not taking a computer, opting for an iPad with keyboard instead. I’ve decided on using my favorite Oaxaca woven shopping bag as carry-on container, along with my Topo duffle-style backpack and my Picuadro cross-body travel bag — it’s tough and sturdy. The money will be in a pouch tucked under my shirt. I have used the backpack comfortably throughout Mexico, India, Spain and Japan.

Cross-body bag will tuck inside woven bag for boarding = 2 carry-ons

Packing List: Clothing and Shoes

  • 1 pair blue jeans (Raleigh Denim is my preferred brand)
  • 1 pair Raleigh Denim bermuda shorts
  • 1 jean jacket (bought from Target)
  • 1 dress (my Zayzelle design made with breathable Japanese cotton)
  • 4 cotton/linen shirts
  • 4 pair underpants
  • 1 bra to pack, 1 to wear — one black, one white
  • 1 nightgown
  • 5 pairs socks, 1 wool and 4 cotton
  • 3 scarves to vary the look
  • bathing suit
  • sun hat
  • boots for urban hiking (Caterpillar brand), sandals (Wolky), flip flops, black flats (Alegria) — foot comfort is essential
Packing cubes stack neatly, making it easy to organize and see what you need

To Wear and Carry on Board

  • Comfy cotton Japanese loose-fitting worker pants
  • Short-sleeve cotton t-shirt and long-sleeve cotton t-shirt for sleeping
  • Linen long-sleeve jacket
  • REI long-sleeve polypropylene zipper jacket in case it gets cold
  • Wool quechquemitl (short poncho)
  • Wool socks
  • Cotton or wool scarf
  • Jewelry pouch — NO BLING

To Carry on for Overnight Travel

  • Neck support pillow (Cozzy brand) — I researched extensively, ordered and returned others, and found this one to be the most comfortable
  • Toiletries/make-up, toothbrush and toothpaste, face wipes
  • Essential medications
  • Ear plugs and eye mask
  • Snacks — power bars, 2 packages Ramen noodles, ginger candy
  • Printed itinerary with record locators, flights, lodging contacts
  • Passport and copies
  • Small travel notebook (Moleskine) and pens
Nylon hanging toiletries bag to lighten load!

Technology: Be sure everything is fully charged before you leave home

  • Fitbit battery
  • iPad and charger
  • Auxiliary power pack and charger
  • iPhone and charger
  • Earbuds
  • Adapter to use in-country
  • USB plugs
  • Power strip, small

Miscellaneous to Pack

  • Umbrella
  • Laundry soap, Tide stick, sewing kit
  • Scissors, nail clips, emory board
  • Shampoo, rinse, creams, lotions
  • Q-tips
  • 2 clothespins for drapes that don’t shut
  • Sunscreen
  • Moleskin padding
  • Hand-sanitizer
The contraption is a hanging clothes dryer — from Japan, of course!

Other ideas

  • Jenny says: Bring clear plastic zipper bags
  • Joan says: Never check a bag — bring wash and wear
  • Helene says: leave plenty of time to get through security to avoid stress
  • Madelyn says: Bring bubble wrap and tape
  • Sandi says: Cut a water bottle in 2 pieces, 1/3 and 2/3; wrap your treasure in toilet paper, insert inside bottle, push both pieces together; great for protecting breakables
  • Becky says: Write a packing advice article

What are your tips? For those of you who can travel for 2 to 3 weeks with a carry-on, please share how you do it!

Please add your suggestions to the Comments!

Dubrovnik, Croatia, coastline

Benito Juarez Airport Mexico City–Moving Luggage Between Terminals

Hello Norma,

I stumbled across your wonderful website because I was googling “help with luggage in juarez airport” and found your article from the 16/Feb from this year.
I hope you have the time to help me with my question, because it is driving me crazy. 🙁

The situation is the following: I am a student from Monterrey, Mexico who is moving to Germany to study and work for a time; because the airline Mexicana went broke this spring I lost my connecting flight in Mexico City and had to purchase 2 separate tickets with different airlines….so I have to collect my bags in Mexico City in Terminal 2 and recheck them  with the other airline in Terminal 1.

The problem is I have a lot of bags!!! 3 big heavy bags,1 standard carryon and a purse  (winter clothes, shoes, books, salsa jars, gifts etc add up fast) and I am worried if I will be able to manage all of it.

My question is, do you know if one is able to take the luggage cart up to the aerotren, or if there is any personnel that could assit me move my luggage from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1?

I hope you are able to answer me soon, I fly out on Wednesday, but if you dont see this email in time, dont worry about it 🙂
Right now I am extremely busy but I will bookmark your website and look at it calmly some other time, I think what you are doing to promote Oaxaca and its unique culture is fantastic.

Muchos saludos,
Rocio E.

Dear Rocio, do not worry.  There are many porters available to help you move your luggage from terminal 2 (local internal Mexico flights) to the airtrain that takes you to the international terminal 1.  I usually pay them $1 USD or 10 pesos per bag for the propina.  Since you have so much, you might want to give a little more.  You will take your bags off the conveyor belt and put them through the customs (aduana) screener.  You will need to find a cart to put them on.  Then, you exit that area and you will see all the porters who offer to help you carry bags.
Have a good trip.

On Leaving Mexico: Travel Diary November 2009

There are one hundred fifty-five pesos in my pocket, equivalent to about twelve dollars.  Just enough left after paying 385 pesos or $25 USD for my extra bag.  Take your pick.  One weights fifty pounds exactly and the other is thirty eight pounds.  The smaller duffle is packed to the gills with soft clothing.  I can barely close the zipper.  I wore the same black pants and two different shirts for a week, so why did I bring all these extra clothes?  It sure didn’t seem like much when I left home.  Space, like time, is precious.  The biggest bag is hard sided and measures thirty inches high by 23 inches wide by twelve inches deep (deeper when unzipped to expand) .  When I install a sturdy woven bamboo basket inside to create a rigid barrier, it becomes a great shipping container for ceramics and alebrijes.  This bag weight in at fifty-one pounds, one pound over limit.  Not even a smile and a plea to let it go worked, so I removed a small bubble-wrapped package from the cache of like wrapped packages, and stuffed it into my carry on.

Now, we are all tucked away in the Continental Express jet to Houston, two hours and seventeen minutes away.  Palms and blooming orange jacarandas line the runway.  The sky is pure, clear blue, without a cloud, transparent to heaven.  It will be another beautiful day.