Really – is there anyone out there who loves packing? I have suitcase envy. I keep searching for the perfect carry-on that can contain my clothes, school visit props, handouts, hostess gift, and computer (and, sometimes, data projector) and still be light enough to lift into the overhead compartment. I haven’t been successful yet.

As you’ll see in the photos below, none of my exquisite luggage matches.

From left to right: Carry-On, Backpack, Suitcase

I go for the lightest items possible. I do know some authors travel only with one carry-on and a toothbrush (I’m so jealous!). Usually these are folks who carry only a flash drive with their PowerPoint show on it and trust the school to have the right equipment. (I’m not that brave yet.) One female friend dresses only in black. (An East Coast thing.) A male friend wears the same sports jacket and trousers for traveling & assemblies and takes along one or two shirts for variety. (If only!)

But here’s how I’ve managed to condense my gear, so far.

Carry-on: This contains All That I Need to Do My Assemblies — in other words, the one suitcase I need to keep close tabs on: 4 of my books to display, props, data projector, hostess gift, handouts and my PowerPoint on a Flash drive for backup. I can live without P.J.s. but not my show!

Data projector & powerstrip go in my carry-on. Netbook usually goes inside my backpack.

Props for two books go inside this small backpacck inside the carry-on. (Cat is not included.)

These props are tucked inside the hat, which goes into the little backpack inside the carry-on.

These props go inside the paper bag, inside the carry-on.

Backpack: I stuff my purse, netbook computer, Kindle, snacks and data sheets for host, hotel & flights in here.

Suitcase: My assembly outfit is a “costume.” Translate to mean something “artsy” from Chico’s or Coldwater Creek that is impervious to wrinkles. If I’m doing more than one school visit on a trip, I’ll take an additional top. I throw in sweats, P.J.s, requisite undergarments, cosmetic case and a flashlight in case of emergencies.

Do you have any packing tips to share? Can you tell I need advice?!

5 Comments on “Packing”

  • Can you fit clothing stuff in the backpack so you don’t have to check?

  • I have one word: WHEELS. If you can’t pull your suitcase through the airport and onto the plane, your back is going to kill you!

  • STUFF! You tote a lotta stuff. Have you heard George Carlin’s “STUFF”? Hilarious. And perceptive. He said we accumulate more and more “stuff” which triggers acquiring more “stuff” to house our growing amount of “stuff.”…back to your pictures. Why bring your own powerstrip?

  • Joanne – I WISH I could stuff everything in one backpack! But I haven’t been clever enough (or brave enough) to do that yet. Caroline – Except for my backpack, all of my luggage is on wheels. Makes me wonder how humans ever managed to travel without them! And Lois – Schools usually have the right equipment, but if I’m speaking to a club or at a library, I found that the mini-powerstrip has come in handy.

  • I’ve written several articles on packing smart. You covered most things. However, I pack basic grooming items, extra underwear, an additional top in case the luggage gets lost, and all the important things for a program in the carry-on. Travel documents in a page protector for easy access, snacks, reading material, medications, and purse all go in the backpack or equivalent. For local programs, I carry an extension cord along with my own equipment. I stick to one basic dark color per trip whether it is black, blue, or brown and a couple of tops. Thanks for the powerstrip suggestion.