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Creative Packing Ideas or Too Much Time on Packing Forum?

I think I need help. The other day, I found an empty tic-tax box (the large egg shaped one with a hinged lid). I thought "hey, this could work well as a travel first aid or ear-bud case." Is there a help hotline?

Posted by
27431 posts

Maybe we should fund one. I have a Xerox box--the type that holds 10 reams of paper--full of travel gear. Much of that stuff is containers of one sort or another. I'm always looking for the smallest, lightest plastic bottle or zippered pouch that will hold some object(s).

Posted by
1081 posts

No, you've just become one of US!! I do the same thing, if I see something that will save space or weight in my carry-on I immediately start thinking of ways to use it. I use GoToobs quite a bit for most all my liquids and the small tubs for pills. Foster Grant makes folding sunglasses that are very compact and we tried those out in Italy last summer and they worked well. Sea to Summit makes a daypack that when folded in it's bag fits in the palm of your hand, they also make a duffel bag that packs very small yet is quiet large for carrying back trip souvenirs. My most used item is a travel multi-outlet that is compact yet has four outlets, I only have to use one adapter and can charge my iPhone, iPad, camera and noise canceling ear buds. Also, on my last two trips I have used a Scottevest jacket that has 21 pockets in it and really helps getting through airports and flying by storing all the things you use in flight or going through the security, when I get to my destination I unload it and use it for a rain jacket.

This forum has played a large part in inspiring me to travel because everyone here teaches each other through their own experiences.

Posted by
2349 posts

If there is, I will lead the seminar "Searching Multiple Dollar Stores for Cool Things You Don't Really Need in the First Place." After a recent thread, I went to five (five!) dollar stores. One of the items I bought was a soft ball for a toddler on our trip. It rolled under the hotel bed and I left it there.

Posted by
2092 posts

Hi! My name is Darcy and I went from a Xerox paper box to a large plastic tote...and I don't want to change!

Posted by
7463 posts

Ha! I think I need that help hotline for the morning of the trip! That's when I'm tempted to stray from my carefully planned list and start thinking of items "I might want" since there's extra room in the suitcase.

The tiny sample jars from Clinique are my favorite find. I can take 3+ weeks of foundation makeup (w/ sunscreen) in a 1"D X .5"H plastic jar.

Posted by
1311 posts

Acraven and Darcy -- Last year I sorted through and discarded a bunch of stuff and I still have 2 large boxes full of travel "accessories!" on the shelf in my closet. Part of the fun of travel is the care and feeding of the minutia since most of us can't actually be on the road all the time.
Sun-Baked -- welcome to our world. You are in good company!

Posted by
1633 posts

Like previous posters, I have my shelves and containers in the closet with my travel stuff. Makes it easy to grab and go in a hurry. Came in handy this past September when I booked a flight to leave in 24 hours. One of my quirks, is keeping all electronic charging stuff and adapters in a colored, not black, zippered pouch. Easier to find and not leave in a room. A smaller pouch is my first aid kit. I'm always looking for another "handy" item to add to my travel shelf.

Posted by
11613 posts

Why would any light-packer use a hard-sided tic-tax box that takes up a specific amount of space when a snack-size Baggie will do (with the air pressed out, of course).

(Sigh) When is the next meeting?

Posted by
7463 posts

Zoe, that's another posting in itself - 101 uses for Ziplock bags. Seriously, how did we ever travel without them? : )

Posted by
2252 posts

This is a really fun thread to read. I am one dedicated "collector", too. I have a couple of plastic, see-thru tubs full of packing paraphernalia that I go through periodically with the idea to cull the "sometimes used, seldom used, never-used-but-I-maybe-I-might-use". Sad to admit, that great idea almost never comes to fruition. But I am a lot better than I was. Thanks for the laughs! And yes, I agree.... Zip loc bags are the best!

Posted by
2713 posts

Yes, we all have those tubs of "stuff". And now we get to add to it with our $100 voucher for our next tour. More of what we don't need! I hope RS figures out a better way....

Posted by
1603 posts

Well I drove two hours to the nearest IKEA just to get the square 100ml travel bottles! I thought they'd pack well not being round and they didn't disappoint!

I also have plastic totes with various and sundry travel items. I recently weeded but they're still full!

Posted by
11613 posts

Among uses for Ziploc baggies, a 2.5 gallon bag is s great sink wash "machine".

Posted by
14269 posts

"I have my shelves and containers in the closet with my travel stuff. Makes it easy to grab and go in a hurry."

Oh yes, this is me. I bought one of those cubicle shelving systems...didn't get all the fabric cubes and instead have plastic containers full of my travel stuff so I can pull things out. Just got back from a short trip and have my 3-1-1 in the bathroom ready to reload!

My name is Pam and I need the time and date of the next PA (packers anonymous??) meeting!!

Posted by
2092 posts

Pam, I think we need to just have our PA meeting immediately after the monthly Travel meeting. Maybe that way we can get other (regular) members to attend; after all, they really need it. We know they do and hopefully they will too!

Posted by
15702 posts

I have a filled 5 x 5 storage unit where half of the items--in boxes and trunks--are travel related.

It became so bad, that a few times I bought something I thought would be good for my travels without realizing I already owned it.

Now, every box and item is inventoried so before I buy anything, I check to see if I already have it.

As a friend of mine said, "you should open up a travel shop." When someone I know needs some type of travel accessory, I usually have it to give away.

Posted by
276 posts

Since losing my bag on a previous trip and finding this website I've converted. I now own 4 carry on bags, two domestic and two international. I've recently bought a back pack. My 30 inch check bag has now become storage for travel paraphernalia and it's half full!

Posted by
985 posts

I have a long plastic crate that slides under the bed that is stocked with travel stuff. I just pull it out and go through it to see what I need. I am almost finished packing up for our December trip. The new items for this trip are a seven day pill holder for my rings and earrings, a small draw bag for my few bracelets, and thermal wear. The thermal wear is heavier than I expected.

btw - I have a tiny gold drawstring bag that holds a splitter and both of our ear buds.

Posted by
2531 posts

There is a point one overthinks packing. Maybe Sun-Baked in Florida reached it. :)

Posted by
173 posts

I, too, have too many travel accessories! I have fallen for the notion that if 1 is good, 5 are better! Tried culling recently, but didn't make much of a dent. I am especially addicted to tote bags and toiletry bags. I love the idea of storing travel gear in a larger, less used suitcase. I do something similar with packing cubes--they are stored in a large one that I rarely use.

Posted by
14269 posts

Haha...I love the idea of an online consignment shop!

Darcy, yes, maybe we should have a continuation of our regular meet-up for PA, lol!! Or just you and I can get together however neither of us will be able to do an intervention with the other...more like egging each other on!

And what's really bad is that I do NOT need another suitcase but this weekend when in Edmonds visiting family for the holiday we all walked over to the RS Center of the Universe to kick the tires on the luggage. We had everything open, unzipped, examining all the internal extras...and did put everything back as it was. Then walked back by the other travel store in Edmonds to see what they had. No purchases however.

Posted by
5697 posts

@PamandDarcy, great idea to combine PA with monthly meetings -- if you can't stop buying and saving travel goodies, at least you can share your excess through a loan program for trusted group members. (My Don't Tell Rick bag got a trip to Paris with Andrea recently after her guidebooks went to Paris with me -- and Eileen has an entire Rick Steves store at her house!)

Posted by
79 posts

I ordered a set of Eagle Creek Specter packing sacks that arrived yesterday. I am seriously considering cutting off the clips to attach them to the inside of your bag just to save a few ounces of weight. I think we need a packing support group.

Posted by
27431 posts

Just yesterday I culled (only slightly) my box of travel gear, and I cut a couple of snaps off a lightweight nylon zippered pouch. Excess weight has to go!

Posted by
14269 posts

Akros/acraven - the critical part is also having a digital kitchen scale, lolol!!

Posted by
208 posts

Oh my! I'm IN!!! My heart goes pitter-patter when I'm on a packing-light forum, and I think we own every carry-on-friendly case/bag that RS sells! A consignment store would be a GREAT idea!

And, I always end up using ziplocs in all sizes, as they really ARE the BEST for use as light-weight, space-saving, high-visibility containers.

My name is Vivian, and I'm a light-packaholic.

Posted by
1971 posts

Geez, why do I also find this interesting? You people seem to have lost your minds... :)

Starting prelim packing this weekend for our 3rd trip overseas end of the month, a relative shorty for 11 nights to Rome & Sorrento, only moving once. Wife & I each have a 21" Samsonite spinner (which we'll check through--it's just on the edge of carry-on size), she also has a soft Vera Bradley bag to carry on. I used to have a larger CPAP bag, now it's about 35% smaller (machine too) which is good in the carrying part but bad in that I used to cram all kinds of stuff in there, so economizing is in order.

One RS tote bag will be folded flat in one of the spinners. It really came in handy on the way back from our last trip--it's thin nylon but seems really sturdy. Also, RS mesh packing cubes kept things quite organized. Other than that, like Rick advises we've become comfortable shopping at farmacias, so in advance we'll hit Bed, Bath & Beyond and the Dollar General for little bottles of whatever, and when we run out we'll buy some.

We're staying at an apartment in Rome so decided to bring a Melita plastic thing to place on top of a coffee cup and some filters in case there won't be a coffeemaker. There was one at our apartment in Florence on our last trip, which was divine--we picked up some ground blend at the Conad grocery and made real American coffee every morning to have with our prosciutto and fruit.

Weather-wise, it could be 40 and it could be 70, rain or shine. I don't like to be cold, so hat & gloves don't take much room, neither will my ultralight Marmot down jacket that folds down into its own pocket, the size of a softball. A Columbia fleece will be my only jacket--got a beautiful leather one in Florence last trip but it's not practical for this purpose. Also will pack a flimsy poncho, and if need be we'll pick up an umbrella over there. Military roll on the shirts and pants, should be able to get 8 shirts, 4 pants in there easy. Planning on doing laundry on Day 6.

Y'all have got me doing it now! :)

Posted by
2226 posts

Rick used to sell a tiny, 3-oz. (yes, 3-oz.!) daypack that was a self-pouch idea - when it's zipped up it's about the size of two large thumbs side-by-side. What happened to that? I've used mine so much I've sewed the straps more securely (seems I always stuff it too full), but I'm still worried it's going to give up the ghost.

Posted by
1450 posts

Jay, not to be an enabler, but you probably could put the new petite cpap in the older bigger bag.....you might have to borrow yr wife's fleece & the coffee filters to provide enuf padding...just depends on what you "need" in yr carry on. I had one of those melitta things....in a fit of insanity sold it on a garage sale

Posted by
503 posts

Not sure how I missed this when it was originally posted, but glad I found it. OMG, I really thought I was the only one who had plastic tubs full of travel "stuff"!! Everyone always seems so organized and precise on this forum, never thought others collected and kept stuff. My obsession seems to run along the lines of dental hygiene. I love to try different toothpaste and so have about a million little travel tubes and just keep buying more. I also covet the little, tiny samples of dental floss. I can not walk buy the dollar bins in Target or Walmart without exploring and purchasing some little $1.00 sample item of something I never use at home but for some reason am totally convinced I will use on a trip. Am I a hoarder? I think I must be!

Posted by
1450 posts

Lisa, if you stalk yr favorite dentist, u might score tooth paste samples about the size of a mustard packet.....i put one of those & my toothbrush in my carryon when i have the nerve to check a bag.....

Posted by
15702 posts

Jay, if you want to save some packing room, instead of the Melitta cone, you can use this collapsible coffee filter cone:

SlickDrip

One bit of warning....do not wash it in the dishwasher even though they say you can. It absorbs the soap and your coffee will taste of it. (I did this and the company replaced mine.) You still need paper filters but this takes up less room.

Posted by
1971 posts

I'm tempted, Frank, but think I'll stick to the Melitta, which has saved my butt coffee-wise on the road more than once. With hot water and take-along high-end coffee it really 'brews' a great cup o' joe, and no doubt I can find some of that in Rome. Now, in true OCD fashion, I'll have to find something small to fit inside the Melitta cone!

Doric8--good call on the smaller CPAP in the larger case (for extra storage), which two years ago I looped through the telescopic handle of the Samsonite, and it perched and balanced there quite nicely, either upright on the spinners or tilted on two wheels for them dang cobblestones. A smaller, lighter case--maybe not so much.

Back to Frank--saw your other post on slippers. Yes, you want them on the road--not only in the room, but going down the hall for ice (oops, maybe not in Italy!), to the front desk. Those heavy gripping socks just don't do it for me. But collapsible? I'm bringing my hard-soled but soft-inside L.L. Bean slippers, which you can put in the bottom of your case and smash stuff down on top, no problem.

But footwear is the bane of the OCD packing-light bunch here, I would imagine, especially you womenfolk. How do ye do it? :) I'm reprising my pair of Rockport World Tour all-purpose walking shoes, and that may be it. Good for every day, inclement weather, even out nice with a dressy pair of khakis--that's as nice as it's going to get for me. Maybe if I have room...a pair of Saucony running shoes--they're really light--but how much 'running' am I gonna be doing?!

Posted by
15702 posts

Rockport World Tour are my shoes of choice. They are the only shoes I bring and they held up so far for nearly 5 months in Europe. They still look great and the soles are hardly worn.

One tip.....take a couple of pair of disposable insoles. Cut them to size before you go. They add a bit more cushioning and help absorb odors and wetness. I change them out every month or so. Of course, if you are going for a short trip just put one pair in your shoes and you'll be fine.

Posted by
103 posts

here's one: I removed the fringe on my pestemals and hemmed the edges for a savings of 1.5 oz.

not neurotic at all. no sir-ee.

Posted by
1971 posts

Spork--now you're talking silly... :)

You know, we haven't talked yet on this thread about something else that takes mucho roomski--electrical stuff. On our two previous trips, we've taken a dual wattage, universal outlet power strip/surge protector, which has worked fine although I suppose the same thing could be accomplished with a normal power strip and an adapter on the main plug? And...I will need to also bring an indoor extension cord (American is fine) in case the outlet is too far away from my CPAP machine, which has happened numerous times in the past in older buildings.

So we have that, and this trip we've added an iPad and also a portable keyboard that works either for the iPad or our iPhones. Two years ago we got by for 17 days with just our phones, but using it to construct EMails, edit pictures, etc. was an arduous task at best and made my eyes cross at times, especially because as a writer I'm coming up with story ideas on the fly, to be fleshed out at night back at the apartment. My wife will bring her camera, but my older iPhone (5s) is sufficient to take great pics.

Obviously, I won't check this stuff through--it will go into my wife's carry-on soft bag. One more thing--anybody ever bring a hairdryer overseas? We've always made sure that our hotels have one, but that reminds me, I had better check to see if our apartment in Rome will be equipped with one, even though it's not for me. If not, may have to make a purchase over there--takes up too much room in the bag! :)

Posted by
2226 posts

@ Jay - just remember that women's shoes are smaller and lighter than men's shoes - thank goodness!

Posted by
1971 posts

Doric--

Problem solved. I found this Swiss Gear carry-on duffel to carry my CPAP bag and then plenty of room for my other carry-on stuff--one change of clothes, documents, meds, glasses, phone, chargers, etc.:

http://www.target.com/p/staycation-21-duffle-heather/-/A-51329672

A key was having a small strap on one of the long sides that would slip onto the vertical handle of my Samsonite spinner, thus securing it on top when walking through airports, train stations. It also can double as a garment bag. But no sportcoats on this trip!

Posted by
1450 posts

Excellent, Jay!
Ive been reflecting on Frank II advice on replaceable insoles. ( This is the time for the more delicate to avert their eyes) years ago, in the "necessity is the mother of invention" category, we discovered that what is sold as "pantiliners" at the drug store makes great supplemental insoles. Cheap, one size fits all, absorbant, a bit of deodorant, and a wide adhesive strip. Yr feet will thank you.

Posted by
1971 posts

Reporting back on our trip. 6 nights Rome, 5 nights Sorrento, from a packing standpoint:

Didn't use...

bathing trunks--don't know what I was thinking, 50's/60's in Rome, 40's/50's in Sorrento and COLD.

indoor extension cord for CPAP--worried about voltage issues, didn't use it & made it work with CPAP cord length and dual-voltage power strip.

Happy I brought...

Melitta plastic coffee filter--worked great in Rome. Apartment provided a hot pot, we had paper cone filters, so we simply bought some Lavazza and had great caffe Americano in the morning.

Slippers--COLD tile floors in Rome and in Sorrento. Definitely served its purpose.

Insoles for Rockport shoes--thanks Frank II, made all the difference, very comfortable, although it made the shoes snug as is, plus my feet must have swelled some on the way over.

iPad--really nice to do FaceTime with twentysomething daughters, give them a tour of the apartment or B&B.

portable keyboard--really handy writing notes & sending EMails.


That Swiss Gear bag of mine was large and great, even was able to stuff a bunch of spice blends bought & shrink-wrapped in Rome home, but the base was too wide to sit atop the Samsonite easily, so I had to double wind it on there, which was a real P.I.T.A. when unhooking to get on a train or whatnot. If we had been doing extensive train travel with our bags it would have become a real nuisance. But, didn't have to utilize our extra bags at all at any time, so that was a winner!

Posted by
2349 posts

I'll share my new favorite tip. When in line for security, while holding on to a boarding pass and driver's license, I twice dropped my license on the floor. So the next trip, I used a medium binder clip to hold the two together, and it gave me more to hold on to.

Posted by
989 posts

I just bought a new 3 piece luggage set from HSN because it comes with packing cubes and dividers so you can use the cubes as drawers when the luggage is "Standing up". I really didn't need another set of luggage and I really didn't need those drawers but I couldn't stop myself!!!

So I am now suffering from buyers remorse big time and will finally admit I need a 12 step program.

One the positive side though, the luggage colour is fuschia and will be so, so easy to spot on the luggage carousel.....

Posted by
1837 posts

Okay, since it's confession time.

I bought a new wheeled duffel bag for my next trip. Returned it because I decided it was too big. Bought another one and returned it as well because I decided it was also too big.

I've now got three (yes three) different bags at home. I will probably decide which one to bring on the trip when I pack for the trip.

Which is in November.

Posted by
15 posts

Omg it's not just me! Love it here! I think the RCO will be my only luggage since I had none currently (divorce, and I was ok with losing that 10 lb domestic even though it was amazing...need international size now) and I like to use one piece and be comfortable with its nooks and crannies. But everything else is up for constant review! I have several "personal item" bags I use depending on the trip, a bunch of packing cubes, and two smallish bins of supplies and assorted pouches. Not to mention the pile of travel purses that aren't quite perfect 😆

Posted by
21 posts

haha I love this topic! I also save weird little boxes. Small TicTac containers are perfect for carrying a few TicTacs plus Advil or those type of meds. I carry it with me always and it comes in handy all the time! I can freshen your breath or relieve your headache, or both at the same time!

I was given some mints as a publicity promo at a work event I went to. The mints were disgusting so I threw them in the trash but the tiny plastic cylinder container is ideal for carrying a spool of thread and a needle. It has been absolutely indispensable! I pack very light for long trips and therefore get a lot of little holes in my clothing. A needle and thread goes with me on every trip. And now I hae the perfect little home for it. Love!

Posted by
225 posts

Hi I'm Lori and I'm a packaholic...
Lots of good stuff here guys.
how about disposable shower caps to cover your shoes so they don't get everything else dirty? and go sacks? (lots of companies make them. they fold into a tiny bag and then open up so you can bring home lots of goodies. Inflatable hangars are the best, though. blow them up and hang your shirt. it dries twice as fast because the inflated hangars allow for greater air flow inside the garment too.
Oh, and if you're checking your luggage. Be sure to pack one outfit for each of you in the other person's suitcase. If a bag is lost, at least you have one spare change of clothes.

Posted by
1025 posts

I laughed at the idea of the plastic tubs to keep all the travel gear. Some years ago I bought a Tumi 20 inch rolling bag and after a couple of trips across country, relegated it to being my storage container for all my "extra" traveling supplies. My travel bag is the strong and functional Tom Bihn Tristar. Lighter, smaller, better...

Posted by
1025 posts

I laughed at the idea of the plastic tubs to keep all the travel gear. Some years ago I bought a Tumi 20 inch rolling bag and after a couple of trips across country, relegated it to being my storage container for all my "extra" traveling supplies. My travel bag is the strong and functional Tom Bihn Tristar. Lighter, smaller, better...

Posted by
206 posts

Two days and we're on our flight...that means I'm finding cool things around the house that MIGHT come in handy (no, pastelholic! Put down the ingenious vinyl business card holder! You don't need it!) sigh.....

Posted by
490 posts

As for " slippers" I do the Asian Grandma look with the lightest weight flip flops ( Old Navy) and a pair of socks in cold weather! :)

I keep telling myself that ONE DAY, I will travel with dopp kit, swim suit, hat and one t shirt/aside from what I am wearing on the plane...and then fill up my suitcase with Italian or French clothing! Then I realize, it is hard for me to fit into those tiny sizes! LOL and I would probably get tagged as a suspicious traveler...a woman from NY who has one tote bag for a two week overseas trip...SPY!

The FIRST RULE OF PACKING CLUB IS....never talk about packing club...with the uninitiated in packing " mentalness" is what my friend calls it..when you pack, re pack and pack again just for fun! :)