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Organizing for a long trip

When I planned my two and a half week trip to Europe in June using six hotels, I decided to put more thought into what kind of bags I would use, how I would pack them, and what I’d take with me. Unlike trips in the past, I decided to be more organized to make it easier to unpack and pack, easier to find things, and maximize my carrying capacity without needing to check my luggage wherever possible. In short, I wanted a system that worked without requiring a lot of effort or thought, so I could focus on other things. In the past I rarely put as much effort as I did this time, but it was well worthwhile.

I began with a semi-hard 22-inch roller board suitcase from Away as noted here. It allowed expansion should I needed it on the way home, when checking a bag would be less of an issue if it got lost. As it turned the expansion feature was never needed. I also used these packing cubes that allowed me to organize my clothes and easily find any piece of clothing without needing to repack. I could also remove them and put into a drawer or ona table when we were at a hotel for several days. I picked these cubes because they were inexpensive (under $20) and good quality.

For my second carryon, my criteria was a bag with wheels as large as possible that would still fit under an airplane seat. I assumed a few flights in Europe would require checking the roller board, so I didn’t want to have to lug a second bag over my shoulder through the airport. A wheeled bag also allowed me to slip my wife’s second bag, a small duffle, over the handle and carry it for her.

I looked at lots of bags and was even open to purchasing one, but found my Briggs & Riley rolling case to be perfect. It’s an older version this 2-wheel brief bag. It has three main compartments, a thin front one for a computer, iPad, passport, papers, tickets, pens, etc., a middle section for a headphone and toiletries, and a larger rear one with enough depth to hold two additional bags, one for all my chargers, batteries, and cables, and a second soft day bag containing a camera and other items.

I put aside my structured Dopp kit that takes up a lot of room and put all my toiletries into a simple flexible plastic zippered bag. Instead of taking the 7-day pill cases, I used one of these clever pill cases that take up much less space.

I used this Peak Design Tech Pouch for all my chargers, cables, backup battery, adapters, etc. With a family of seven of us together during part of the trip, I wanted to carry enough for several phones, iPads and watches for use in the hotel, out and about, and in the car. This 10,000 mAh iWALK battery was very useful, able to charge any device, including a watch.

Of course the best laid plans don’t always work out as expected, but that was not the case here. The extra planning effort worked really well and I was always able to find what I was looking for quickly, whether it was a charging cable or a pair of socks. And I was able to easily maneuver through all of the airports with little effort and no aches and pains.