The New Traveler’s Guide to Packing Without the Stress

Air travel used to be relatively easy. Grab a bag and throw in every bit of item you’ll need for a holiday. But times have made your holiday packing into a near encounter with city officials over compliance policies. A year ago, you would have worried about putting a liquid-filled bottle in your carry on. Today, you need to make sure you’ve got a container of hand sanitizer with you at all times.

Carry On

Traveling amid a pandemic is for the brave — and those who absolutely must take a trip. You’ll have two things to worry about:

  1. New security rules may be more stringent as travel numbers are limited; the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may be extra precautious
  2. A highly contagious virus is still “at work;” until a vaccine is developed, you may be vulnerable

So make it easy on yourself by putting the right items in the right bag: what you should have in your carry on and what your check-in bags need to contain.

For carry-on bags, you’ll need to place the following reduce touch-points when you go through airport security:

  • Phones
  • Wallet
  • Keys
  • Food (if you have it) in plastic bags

Prohibited items on-board have changed a little bit as TSA now allows you to carry on up to 12 ounces of liquid hand sanitizer. If you’re found to have more than allowable volume, you may have to return to the divestiture table with your carry-on bag and dispose of the prohibited item.

Of course, don’t forget to bring the other essentials for your carry-on:

  • Change of clothes
  • Itinerary
  • In-flight medication
  • Passport and ID (and other travel documents)
  • Books

Keep in mind the length of your trip and not just your destination. This way, you’ll know if you need to have other essentials on-hand. For example, a weekend ski town destination doesn’t mean you have to pack your thick Descente jacket and add bulk to your luggage. You could just rent it if you’re just spending two days in the area.

Considering the length of your trip may also save you from having to check bags. All you need may fit into a carry-on luggage.

Don’t Overpack

travel bag

Now is not the time to overpack, what with changes and restrictions in air travel. Overpacking can happen if you decide to bring most of your shoes or too many shirts. Instead of guessing the number of footwear or clothes you’ll need for a few days in another city, plan what you’re going to wear.

Go through your itinerary to figure out what sort of outfits you’ll need to put on. You should also choose clothes you can mix and match; try shirts or pants you can wear with at least two other clothes.

Another option would be to bring clothes that might not need laundry; some brands have developed clothes you can wear multiple times without going through a washing machine. These clothes use fabric, like wool or seaweed fiber, that go through weeks without washes.

And finally, choose footwear that can work for any occasion and allow you to stay comfortable throughout your trip.

Traveling today isn’t easy. But when you put the right items in the right luggage, you could go through airport security with little to no incident. And make sure you’ve got your hand sanitizer and mask wherever you’re going.

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