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  • Writer's pictureJenny

Freedom from Luggage!

Recently I traveled to France for a ten-day work trip. As a travel advisor, I’ve been closely following the issues at the airports concerning lost luggage. I knew I had to make a different plan than my usual of checking one piece of luggage. I knew that instead of throwing things in my luggage at the last moment, I needed to plan my packing more carefully for my trip:

Planning the flights:

I was able to book non-stop flights from SFO to Paris. These flights are more expensive and harder to find in these days of limited flight choices, but I lucked out with nonstop both to and from Paris.


I always over pack and say when I return home, I packed too much. I’m a shopper and like room in my luggage for a few items. I made myself a challenge to pack only carry on, knowing I would probably not be able to do it. But I did it! I have a wonderful soft-sided carry-on rolling piece of luggage and a good backpack. Key items in both pieces are large outside pockets.

  1. I color coordinated my outfits for ease of mixing up tops and pants. Because I would be on a river cruise, I had access to laundry, so it was easier to pack. Three was my magic number, with three pair of pants, 3 pairs of underwear, 3 pair of socks, three tops. I took a dressy jacket for the captain’s dinner, and then 1 bra and 1 scarf. This did not count what I wore (the heavier and bulkier of my clothing choices. Summer does make packing light easier, but I would just layer for the plane.

  2. I consolidated my 3-1-1 bag to smaller portions of the different face creams, makeup, and eczema medication I have. The ship has wonderful shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, so that wasn’t something I needed to pack.

  3. I still had room for my Canon 7-D digital camera and a selfie stick (for better quality photos for marketing later. Added a small day backpack for that camera and selfie stick.

  4. Of course, I added my medication, brush, (hotels and the ship had hairdryers), and even a pair of dressier shoes, that I ended up only wearing once.

  5. Purchases on the trip (how could I resist the Van Gogh scarf!?) made me need to repack. I opened that little day pack, stuffed it into a pocket of the backpack and then filled it with some of the items I purchased.


  • I loved the ease of walking into the SFO airport and bypassing the process of checking luggage.

  • On the plane, I observed bigger bags that their owners could barely get in the overhead. My carryon went in with ease and my backpack sat snuggly behind my seat and before the bulkhead.

  • I arrived in Paris, and the driver that picked me up commented that I had made it through Customs so quickly! I felt a bit smug. And how nice to not have to wait for luggage when all I wanted to do was go to my hotel.

  • Coming home, I was on a non-stop that turned out to have a stopover in Chicago to pick up a new crew because the crew ‘timed-out’ because we were delayed 5 hours in Paris. This had me realizing how I couldn’t rely on a non-stop, and I could have had to get off the plane in Chicago, and where would my check-in luggage end up? In one of those huge piles of luggage is my suspicion.

  • With almost 7 hours of delay getting into SFO added to the 11-hour flight, imagine the immense relief that I felt when I didn’t have to wait for luggage! It was well-worth the time it took to plan packing light!

Packing hacks - Everyone has packing hacks and these are the ones that work for me:

  • Compression bags for clothing

  • Small spray bottle (empty) to mist the wrinkled clothing before hanging it up in the closet.

  • Contact lens cases for those small dabs of creams I need.

  • GoTube, or similar containers for fluids.

  • Dry tooth powder instead of paste.

Did I miss something I couldn’t pack? Not one thing! What did I gain? Freedom from being at the mercy of my luggage!

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