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Meandering thoughts, travel

Getting Ready To Fly: travel tips and lists

Going on a trip? What do you do to get ready to fly?

vacation travel tips

Everybody’s got a pre-trip ritual.  Do you pack only hours before leaving, or are your bags ready a week in advance?  Are you getting to the airport relaxed or are you frantically asking the taxi driver for 5 extra minutes!

I’ve been flying for years.  Whether for business or pleasure, I am usually the one that is frantic before flying.  Guaranteed, I will forget something, only discovering what is missing when I get to the other side.  I’ve been known to be in a fluster, wrapping up business on the phone while getting a lift to the airport…oh the joys of the multi-tasker.  I remember the days of squeaking in at the last minute, gate nearly hitting me on the backside as I ran to the plane.  Those days are changing – Air Canada recently announced that you must be at the airport an entire 45 minutes before your domestic flight!  Depending on your destination, it could be even longer.  I can see the need too – more and more people, in an effort to avoid luggage fees, are carrying on.  The security lines are getting slower, and let’s face it, they really don’t care if you miss your flight.  It’s your fault for getting there too late anyway!

Gate is closed. Airport.

So, what’s a travel-aholic to do?  Times are changing, but not to worry – there is probably an app for that!  You can find anything you need on line, and for the slightly less than organized (ahem – yours truly here is at the top of the list!), there are some great lists out there.  Just print it off and check each item off as you put it in your bag.  Me – I like to hand write my list, specifying which items are going in.  Depending on the trip, I also like to list my days to the side, making sure I have an outfit for each event that I am going to.  I don’t need to be quite so organized on vacation…but when there are meetings involved…I want to make sure I have my act together.

Travel Packing list

Personally, I like to lay everything out on the bed before it goes into the suitcase.  That way, I can visualize the colour combinations, make sure I have the outfits I need.  Nothing like arriving somewhere to find you have double the tops, half the bottoms or blue shoes and black pants!  In an effort to be suitcase savvy, I like to work with a main colour scheme, accessorize for variety.  You’ll see colourful pashminas and tank tops to go with my neutral basics.

getting organized - packing my suitcase

This always helps me with my shoe selection too….you see, I have a shoe problem!  The guys scanning by bags at the airport have even commented when they looked at the contents of my suitcase.  I know when I have the luxury of taking what I want, and when I don’t and just how much I can cram in there.  I try and get exercise on the road so generally end up with a good pair of running shoes, and some cute daytime ones for walking tours.  Depending on the trip, there will be at least one or two heels.  Getting ready for a trip to Germany where I didn’t know what was expected made it extra tough…this photo only shows some of the shoes!  To make the most of my limited packing space, I generally stuffing my sneakers….jewelry bags, socks – you name it, they get stuffed on the inside.  If I want that extra pair of cute green wedges and sexy black boots to go in the bag, I have to make room!

shoes for travel

Shoe problem? Who me?

This tip is for the ladies – do yourself a favour – next time you are buying jewelry, get yourself a couple jewelry bags.  Most shops will give them to you no charge.  Protect your goodies and keep them organized.  I’ve broken a few too many necklaces that have been roughed up while my suitcase is in transit.  Even if it is just fun, costume jewelry, nobody wants the beads falling apart.  Your favourite ones aren’t always that easy to replace!  A few clear ziplocks will also do the trick.  I prefer to use them if I am moving hotels frequently – that way I can easily see what’s on the inside and not unpack them all at each hotel!  For the ziplocks, I like to keep a few different sizes…they come in handy for other things too!

bags to hold your jewelry

When packing your carry on, make sure you have your liquids in a clear baggie and easily accessible.  While the rules about what you can and can’t carry on keep changing – the liquids always have to come out.  The people in line behind you will thank you for your efficiency.  Have the laptops and iPads ready for quick exit too.  You know they will be coming out.  To keep all the cords and chargers in line, I find the larger ziplocks very handy.  When I walked the Camino de Santiago, I had everything sorted into different sized baggies and the contents written on the outside with a sharpie.  It makes for a great checklist when packing up to leave – you don’t want to leave your international converter in the wall of your hotel room!  Been there, done that.

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About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


29 thoughts on “Getting Ready To Fly: travel tips and lists

  1. My packing issues are always related to shoes! You just never know which type you might need, so I end up bringing them all 🙂

    Posted by Annette | April 17, 2013, 10:25 am
  2. I totally use those jewelry bags from stores. It makes things so much easier. Oh, and I’m going to have to raid your closet a bit. You don’t mind, right?

    Posted by Leah Travels (@L_e_a_h) | April 17, 2013, 12:01 pm
    • I was so naughty on my trip to Germany – after backpacking the Camino de Santiago last year, I really “needed” an update! Most of clothes were a new purchase…it was so much fun to coordinate the wardrobe from scratch. The ladies at Melanie Lyne were so wonderful…it was like a scene from Pretty Women with everyone getting in on the fun, trying on all sorts of combos, modelling the outfits and taking photos! They were more than happy to give me extra jewelry bags and a couple of hangers…which I often take in my suitcase too!

      Posted by Anita Mac | April 24, 2013, 8:48 am
  3. It is always helpful for me to read women travelers discuss packing as it relates to communicating with my wife. I wear jeans, nice slacks and a couple of shirts. I’m very simple. My wife, on the other hand, likes style. So it’s seriously helpful to remind myself that even the smartest female traveler still likes more than one pair of shoes. I’ll try to leave her alone the next time we pack and she wants a few pair of shoes. Teaching me to be reasonable, thanks Anita!

    Posted by tripsbylance | April 17, 2013, 12:43 pm
    • No worries Lance! Sometimes, there is no sense arguing these things! When I pick my shoes, I pick some for fashion, some for function, so it makes it tough to narrow it down. I am always in awe of the women that carry few shoes…I rarely seem to be able to do that!

      Posted by Anita Mac | April 24, 2013, 8:42 am
  4. Great Post – thanks for sharing! I lay everything out on the guest bed for the suitcase as well as the carry on. The tricky part of going on a trip for me is when the camper needs to be cleaned and packed too along with the truck. Sometimes I enjoy plane travel – pack and go:) Have a Great Day – Happy Traveling!!!

    Posted by cravesadventure | April 17, 2013, 12:45 pm
    • wow – I can’t even begin to imagine trying to pack for the camper too! When I kayak camp, my garage becomes the spare bed with all my gear laid out. Getting better at it now with my clear plastic tubs holding the gear for camping or day trips! Like you know, it is just a matter of having a system!

      Posted by Anita Mac | April 24, 2013, 8:50 am
  5. You didn’t really take four pairs of shoes, did you? *smack* 🙂

    Great post though! I’m one of those people who pack the day before, but then change my mind at the last minute about what to take necessitating a repack……which somewhat defeats the purpose……

    Posted by frugalfirstclasstravel | April 17, 2013, 12:57 pm
  6. Great post! I’m a list-maker too, but I do that about a week in advance and then as I use things I can add them to the list, then I pack the night before. By the way those floral print tennis shoes are SO CUTE!

    Posted by ashleypaige4 | April 17, 2013, 2:07 pm
    • I have kept a few master lists for some of my trips … especially cycling in Mallorca as we go most years! Love the tennis shoes – they are Desigual – a Spanish brand that I fell in love with. They are so incredibly comfortable too. I bought them for the cute factor and wear them all the time for comfort!

      Posted by Anita Mac | April 24, 2013, 9:06 am
  7. Ziplock bags in all sizes are a girl’s best friend while traveling! 🙂

    Posted by Elin | April 17, 2013, 2:56 pm
  8. You are way too organized!! I don’t make any lists, its all about a feeling the night before 🙂 lol Whatever I feel like packing, I pack and I deal with it when I get there. My only checklist is passport, credit card & license!!

    Posted by Bashar A. | April 17, 2013, 4:43 pm
    • I hear what you are saying Bashar. I need the list after forgetting to many silly things over the years! I often stray from the list last minute so my bag ends up being heavier, but at least I know I have my basics covered! For whatever is forgotten, I always have my credit cards!

      Posted by Anita Mac | April 24, 2013, 9:10 am
  9. Good tips here. Like you I travel and fly, a lot! It is pretty much off to a fine art although a quick checklist seems like a good idea. I was gutted the last time I forgot to bring my swimming trunks and there was a massive empty hotel pool just crying out for my attention.

    Posted by The Guy | April 17, 2013, 6:19 pm
  10. Just in time for our trip, so thanks for the insightful reminder. Where do I get a pair of those cool orange shoes with green laces?

    Posted by Michael Doran | April 18, 2013, 12:15 pm
    • They are fun eh! I believe you can also get hightops, although I bought them last October in Bilbao, so not sure what is out in this year’s collection. They are Desigual – a Spanish brand that you can get all over Europe. We get limited options here in Canada, but I am pretty sure they are available all around the world!

      Posted by Anita Mac | April 24, 2013, 9:18 am
  11. Compared with me… you’re super organized! I tend to start making lists a month in advance, but I still seem to forget something behind. Happy travels Anita!

    Posted by Jodi | April 18, 2013, 10:37 pm
    • For the Camino, I made my list months in advance…such a challenge for this overpacker to limit what I was carrying. For most trips, the list only comes about the day or two before. I don’t always know I am going away…for New Orleans, I had 48 hours from ticket to landing! I used to keep a small suitcase pre-packed with the essentials (contact solution + case, toothpaste, undies and a hair brush). The number of times I have had to run out in the night to find a pharmacy to buy these things…oy…the pre-packed kit was a staple in my life for years!

      Posted by Anita Mac | April 24, 2013, 9:23 am
      • LOL! I like the idea of the small pre-packed bag… I may use that tip in the near future 🙂

        Posted by Jodi | April 24, 2013, 1:40 pm
  12. Hi Anita,
    Loved to see my website TravelsChecklist.com listed on your post!

    I’m so happy to find out that travelers around the world enjoys my website!

    Thanks for using it, and thanks for sharing it with your readers!

    Happy travels!


    Posted by David | June 10, 2013, 8:58 pm


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