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Packing success (mostly)

On way home from three week trip to UK which involved some new items, most of which I have been pleased with so thought I would share. I actually got most of the ideas from this forum!
1) travelpro ultra lite suitcase. Much lighter than what I had earlier and thus much easier to handle, I got the two wheel version. I have carried it on without problems on American and British air but not discount airlines so may not pass muster there.
2. eBags toiletry bag. I bought the smaller one which worked well for me. I bought a few smaller versions of things I use at home. Much more compact packing than my previous one and the pockets worked well. I always knew where things were. My old one just had two big compartments.
3. Travelon cross body purse. I picked this up in line at TJ Maxx and it turned out to perfect. Very small and so I just wore it all the time. It had a separate compartment for passport which turned out to be invaluable. I found that about half the time I used a credit card, I was asked for identification which I had not encountered previously. I had previously used one I bought at Walmart but this one was much better designed for travel.
3. I used a plastic zipped bag (not ziplock) for electronic cords ect for the first time and it helped a lot with organization. I also used a dual cord cube which was convenient for charging multiple items. I also brought extra long cords to reach oddly placed outlets but would not do again. Most plugs were easy to reach and longer cords added bulk.
4. I used packing cubes for first time. I bought two as a set which did not compress but found that I could roll most of my clothes in them. This may have been part of reason I liked my new suitcase so much, although I used the suitcase once before taking it to the UK without them and was pleasantly surprised with how much it held.
5. I also bought a small bright colored make up bag at Tj maxx. I had previously just used a zip lock bag but liked having something could identify easily by sight.
6. I brought a nylon bag for laundry. I had always used a plastic bag but I liked this better. Again easy to visually locate.

Happy travels!

Posted by
1071 posts

I'm like you, I have learned a lot by trial and error and can now travel for weeks out of a carry on. Very liberating isn't it! This year I will take a 45L backpack and for my personal item I'm going to try a Pacsafe Vibe 325 sling daypack, I'll write a review for the forum after we get back.

Posted by
3518 posts

Thanks for the report. I have found that each trip we get better and better at packing light. I love the packing cubes, i think they are one thing i can’t pack without. We usually bring carry one size and a large tote each. Next trip, we are going to try and downsize to a much smaller tote and not bring the what-if items. We figure anything we forget we can easily purchase, cause it’s amazing how when necessary, you just make do with what you have.

Posted by
1259 posts

Beth, keep experimenting, next time will be even better. And welcome home.

Posted by
681 posts

I love those packing cubes. I just checked out your cross body purse. My finally broke after many, many trips. Time to check out new ones so thanks

Posted by
3961 posts

Thanks Beth for sharing your tips. We love our tried & true TravelPro bags. Good reminder, I need to order my dual cord cube soon. I was thinking of a 3 ft. Power line lightening cord for my iPhone, etc. (Anker brand). Beth, was yours 3 ft? Too bulky?

Posted by
4264 posts

BethFL - thanks for the summary, which has great ideas to consider as I'm packing for my fall trip.

*longer cords added bulk. *

At the dollar store I found a 4.5 ft USB (Type C) cable - really more of a USB cord - that is far less bulky than a typical black cable style. The cording is nicely bendable, so you can fold it up for convenience. It takes up less space than some of my normal black cables of less than 1 ft length.

Posted by
2251 posts

Excellent tips, Beth! Thank you for taking the time to post this very organized and informative report. Curious. What size Travelon ultra lite bag did you travel with? I just assumed the 21" since that's usually the upper limit for carryon size but it looks so tiny on the website. I travel with a 21", too, but for some reason, mine seems (?) larger than the one pictured! I love that one of the color choices is pink. This post is especially useful for novice travelers so thanks again for posting.

Posted by
13199 posts

Glad you are back home and that things worked for you!

"I found that about half the time I used a credit card, I was asked for identification which I had not encountered previously."

I found this to be true last year in the UK, particularly in Scotland. I did have my drivers license along which I started carrying with me to use as an ID instead of having to take my passport out of my money belt.

Off to look at the ebags toiletries bag, hahaha! You are an enabler!
-->editing to add: OK, which toiletry kit? The pack-it-flat regular size one ( ) or the Portage Medium ( ) one?

Thanks for posting (I think!).

Posted by
25 posts

@Pam-my husband and I have shared the eBags Pack It Flat toiletries bag for the last five trips to Europe and we love it! It has so many different pockets for great organization and one or two of the zip up pockets are lined to be waterproof/spillproof. And love that it is flat too! We couldn't travel without it now. Just my two cents worth. I'm interested to see which one Beth purchased as well.

Posted by
2285 posts

I had brought a six foot cord which I thought was too bulky. I had been thinking of going back to 3 foot but will look up style suggested at dollar store!

My eBag is the first one-pack it flat regular size one.

I would not have wanted to share it with my husband. There was empty space but probably not enough and I also must admit I want my own things!

I looked online at the bags and mine must be maxlite 22 inch not 21 inch. Mine is a rollar board not a spinner and I don’t see travel pro sells 21 inch roller boards. It fit easily in over head compartment and passed the muster of the BA employee going down the line waiting to board to make people check.

Posted by
1194 posts

I would strongly discourage buying USB cables or any electronics at the dollar store. The quality of these items is usually very poor. They have inconsistent standards.

The USB cable is carrying electricity to your device. A poorly insulated cable could risk electrocution. Technically, the USB cable should be carrying 5v. But cheap electronics are cheap because they don’t have all the safety electronics inside of them. There is less insulation surrounding the cable. That, combined with poor manufacturing standards, is a problem.

There have been several cases where someone was electrocuted (and died) by a cheap USB converter.

Always buy electronics that are of decent quality. Electronics found in the dollar store, mall kiosks, or the drug store are almost always cheap knockoffs that don’t meet electrical standards.

Posted by
2285 posts

Good point on dollar store. Perhaps style is available in more reputable places.

Posted by
4264 posts

Indeed you are right, BethFL. I just saw a $19.99 version at ACE Hardware and I've seen a variety on Amazon, with reviews of varying degrees of quality. The key to search is "braided cable" or "braided cord."

Posted by
139 posts

I would like to ask about your Travelon purse, is it the one that says "anti-theft"? I saw it at TJ Maxx near the registers and even though I was very interested in it, I thought it was too heavy. Did you felt it heavy?

Great report, thanks!

Posted by
2285 posts

That is the one I bought too. I had ideas of replacing the strap which is the anti theft heavy part but never got around to it. I am very sensitive to weight on my shoulders and much to my surprise it was very comfortable as a cross body purse which is why I thought I would share. It is small and I didn’t carry much in it-passport, two credit cards, atm card, money, cell phone (in its own pocket) small thing of Advil, a few bandaids, tickets for the day, usually some receipts but not much else. I also carried the Rick Steve’s small back pack (unstructured one) where I stashed a rain coat, guidebook, a portable charger, and a few other things. We did a few days of all day hiking and I just put the cross body purse in the back pack then.


Posted by
139 posts

Thank you! I try to not bring many things when I travel, specially if I'm going to be walking a lot, but as the hours pass I tend to put everything on my purse like flyers, tickets, candy...

I might need to go to TJ Maxx today and check the bag one more time :D

EDIT: typos.

Posted by
713 posts

I would strongly discourage buying USB cables or any electronics at
the dollar store.

I strongly second this.

I've found a couple of brands for these things that I trust, on amazon. One is Anker: various cables, chargers, and even a bluetooth keyboard. Prices are reasonable, the items are high quality, and customer service from Anker astonished me when I needed help connecting the keyboard to a device. I got a quick personal email reply - that solved my problem. Wow!

I'm less concerned about getting fried by using cheap cables, than I am about them just not working, or falling apart. (I'm not discounting the dangers of sub-par devices and electricity, just to be clear.)

Posted by
156 posts

I second the post about Anker accessories. Well made, safe, and they stand behind their products. At this point, all my non-OEM chargers and cables are Ankers. The dollar store and super cheap cables and chargers on Amazon are risky.

Posted by
5697 posts

On the advice of our daughters (who were, at the time, working at competing cellphone companies) we bought a portable charger from Mophie, and it has been great for over 5 years. We don't leave home without it.

Posted by
1221 posts

We've had good luck with Amazon's house brand Amazon Basics cables and other electronic accessories