Pack Smart! Save Time and Money

Posted By on February 1, 2013

Guest post by Marketing Strategist, Social Media Consultant and International Keynote Speaker Crystal Washington

Pair the fact that most airlines charge upwards of twenty-five dollars per checked bag with the knowledge that some 26 million pieces of luggage go missing annually at the airport, and you will certainly think twice before checking a bag.

I travel to sometimes as many as three locations in a week for speaking engagements — that is a lot of plane rides and opportunities for disaster. I’ve suffered it all, lost bags the day of speaking engagements, busted hair products all over my clothing because of crazy baggage handling and even one incident where my luggage smelled like it was lovingly stored in a dumpster during the flight. No more! In 2012, I promised that I would never again check baggage. I even managed to keep that promise during three international trips — France, Germany and Trinidad.

The Secret to Packing Everything You Need Lies In Four Rules.

  1. Invest in a great quality carry-on. If you purchase a cheap, flimsy carry-on, your bag will likely not be able to bear the weight of your items. Be sure to check with your preferred airline carrier for the most up-to-date size specifications for carry-on bags. The size does differ for domestic and international travel.
  2. Only pack exactly what you will use. Not only does this apply to the clothing you will wear, but also to skin care, hair care products and makeup. Invest in small, sturdy containers to hold the exact amount of product you will need. Also, do not pack “just in case” clothes. If you need something else, you can buy it when you get there.
  3. Be willing to reuse clothing. While this is obviously not appropriate for undergarments, wearing pants twice may be an option if you are sitting in a cool environment.
  4. Pack as if you are playing Tetris. Smart utilization of space is key. Socks should be stuffed into shoes. There should be few open cavities in your bag. One of my favorite YouTube videos for packing is called Pack for Weeks in a Carry-on by Using this method, I packed clothes, including formal wear and a winter coat, for nearly a week in Paris using my carry-on.

Putting Everything in Its Place

For overnight speaking engagements, I can travel with my rolling laptop bag. For trips requiring two or more days, I need my larger carry-on.

On my inside flap, I pack my protein powder and throat lozenges. In the larger compartment, I place my shoes on the perimeter and then fill the middle with my toiletry and makeup bags. I put socks and other similar items in my shoes. Sometimes, when I’m somewhere for more than two nights, I’ll pack my Magic Bullet on this level.

Using the packing method detailed in the video mentioned above, I pack my clothes on top of the shoes and toiletries.

I add my small laptop case with computer on top of my clothing.

In the first front pocket, I keep my inflatable travel pillow, eye mask and ear muff band.

In the second front pocket, I include any and all documents, tickets, etc.

That’s it! Feel free to share your favorite packing tricks.

Crystal Washington is a social media marketing strategist and international technology speaker who has worked with companies, including Google, Microsoft and GE. For more information, please visit


One Response to “Pack Smart! Save Time and Money”

  1. Ellen Delap says:

    Love the inflatable pillow too! Genius!