How To: Pack For Travel

I have a terrible memory but I live out of suitcases. So I use a list.

And living out of suitcases, I can only own a few things. I've discovered over time what things are good things. I've refined the list over many, many months.

For trips less than 3 months I use a carry-on suitcase and a laptop bag. For longer trips, I add a big suitcase. I'm happy with my Briggs & Riley suitcases. They have a lifetime warranty and after so many, many months they still look almost new. I'm currently using an Aldo laptop tote with bad zippers while I wait for a Dagne Dover Legend Tote to go on sale (as recommended by the fantastic Ann Lemay).

Inside the suitcases I organize everything with light reusable plastic pouches. I weigh both carry-ons to make sure they are just enough over the weight limits that I can still carry them on. I put everything necessary in my laptop bag regardless, because occasionally I fly Air France and they insist I check my tiny carry-on suitcase. I wear all my biggest clothes on the plane. 

For clothes I prefer only black, so I can spill all over myself without dramas. I find that some silks roll up rather nice without wrinkling and I totally wash them in the washing machine and it's always fine. I do a lot of silk and denim. Some faux leather. When I change climates I leave cheap basics in hotel rooms and replenish with other cheap basics. 

Here's my list.

To Do Before Leaving

  • Check expiration dates on passport, credit cards
  • Wash clothes
  • Do dishes
  • Empty fridge
  • Empty garbage
  • Put fresh sheets on bed ...So nice to come home to.
  • Adjust thermostats
  • Unplug computers
  • Set email auto-reply
  • Set up postal mail hold
  • Put tickets in phone
  • Check airline rewards
  • Put destination address in phone
  • Put books, music on phone
  • Check flight status



  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Bras
  • Blouses
  • T-shirts
  • Sweaters
  • Shorts
  • Leggings
  • Pants
  • Dresses and jumpsuits
  • Belts
  • Bathing suit
  • Heels
  • Shoes
  • Workout clothes
  • Running shoes
  • Flip flips
  • Jacket
  • Pyjamas


Laptop Bag - Liquids (max 100ml)

Laptop Bag - Other

  • Toothbrush
  • Tampons, pads, cup
  • Tweezers
  • Condoms
  • Dry cosmetics ...OMG the Urban Decay Full Spectrum palette. Layered on top of a Maybelline ColorTattoo 24hr metallic base these look amazing. 
  • Dry medicine
  • Melatonin ...Melatonin changed my life. 
  • Berocca ...Berocca is important. 
  • Hair iron ...I'm very happy with my T3 SinglePass Compact iron. It's fast and smooth. 
  • Sheet mask use on the plane. Bonus: It stops your neighbours from talking to you. 


  • Antiperspirant ...Men's is cheaper.
  • Razor ...Men's is cheaper again. 
  • Comb
  • Hair band
  • Bobby pins
  • Cotton swabs
  • Nail file
  • Band-aids
  • Unnecessary dry cosmetics ...Ones that don't matter if I lose. 


Laptop Bag

  • Passport
  • Credit cards
  • Phone
  • Phone charger
  • A safety pin or needle for switching sim cards
  • Laptop
  • Laptop charger
  • Wearables ...An Apple Watch for dev, and a Spire to remind me not to look at Facebook. 
  • Wearables chargers
  • Jewelry ...A few pairs of chandelier earrings.
  • Socket adapter
  • Headphones
  • Extra batteries for headphones
  • Business cards ...Moo makes the nicest ones I've ordered so far.
  • USB sticks
  • Earplugs
  • Chewing gum
  • Pen ...I only use Sharpie pens. They never bleed through but the write beautifully. 
  • Notebook ...I like Kate Spade notebooks.