How to Travel Like a Pro

After decades of frequent traveling, I thought it may prove helpful to share some of my tips with others on packing.  I hope you find some benefit from the article. If you are going to travel more than once per year, buy decent luggage.  A 21-inch roller board is large enough to pack for a week.

Don’t take more than one piece of luggage and try to make that a carry on.  A 21-inch roller board will cover you for a week.  If you are gone longer than that, seek out a “fluff and fold”, you can look them up on Yelp or Google.  These are laundermats that will wash, dry and fold your clothes for between $10-20 for a weeks worth of laundry (which is much less than checking an extra bag).

My bag of choice is the Tumi Alpha (around $550 retail), not inexpensive but a good value if you are a road-warrior.  After taking my top of the line Travel Pro roller board in for repair/replacement for the 5th time, the repair shop manager said the only two bags that would handle my travel schedule is a Briggs and Riley or Tumi Alpha.  Tumi carries lot’s of lines and they are vary in style and quality.  The Alpha line isn’t stylish, but it’s a brute.  I travel every week, often a couple of times during each week, and my Tumi made it over two years.  I had an issue with the retractable handle recently.  I sent it in and five business days later I received it back all repaired and at no-cost.

If $500 is more than you want to spend on a bag, Costco carries a Kirkland brand roller board that is similar in quality (not as durable in my test) for around $150.

Pack neutral colors and blacks.  Find things you can mix and match, not as much “outfits”.  Of course, there will be special occasions where you need one perfect outfit, but otherwise stay neutral.

For guys, jeans, dress shirt and a sports coat will get you in just about anywhere.

For colder months, pack a base layer down jacket.  These jackets roll up to a mashable one-liter nylon pack.  They are super lightweight, mashable (good for packing) and very warm.  Uniqlo offers them for around $90.

Guys if you travel a lot, invest in a couple of pair of Officio brand boxer briefs. These lightweight undies wick moisture and can be washed in your hotel sink and dried in a few hours if you ever get in a pinch.

Pack a Space-Saver bag.  These are great to keep your dirties in while on the ground, or separate from your clean garments on the way home.  These over-sized zip lock type bags can be found on line or at Container Stores.

Don’t pack large bottles of any liquid.  The key is to be able to carry on for lot’s of reasons; potential for delayed or lost luggage, speed to get out of airport once at your destination.  Instead of buying “travel-size” toiletries, you can re-use the shampoo and conditioner containers you get at hotels.  Invest $.99 in a small funnel then you can refill the hotel containers and viola, no more checked bags.

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