My Travel System (How I Pack + Tips and Tricks)

My Travel System

I’m obsessed with efficiency. One of the best ways I’ve found to be efficient is to have systems, so I have a system for pretty much everything.   

Below is my travel system.  If you travel regularly, I recommend adopting a system that works for you.  I’m sharing mine to inspire you and give you some ideas to try. 

Airport

1.   I literally have a box in my closet called “airport clothes” which contains the outfit I always travel in.  It’s a pair of super soft jeans, a super soft black t-shirt, black sweatshirt with black socks and comfortable black tennis shoes.  I’m generally cold so I keep this black pashmina in my backpack to use as a blanket or scarf.  

2.   I have TSA Pre-CheckClear and Global Entry.  I don’t like standing in lines and I especially hate airport security checks, so I skip all that.  

3.   Whenever possible I book nonstop flights.  If I must have a layover, I either book a short layover, or I try to do my layover in an airport with an American Express Centurion Lounge so that I can have a good healthy meal in a nice clean lounge in between flights (you get lounge access with the AMEX Platinum Card – this link gets you 100K points).

4.   I never fly crappy airlines like Spirit and Frontier. It’s not worth it.  

5.   I use TripIt Pro to track my trips.  

Packing

What’s In My Backpack

I linked to the actual items I have, most of which I got on Amazon.

– Small empty Swell water bottle that I can fill up at a filtered water station in the airport (many airports have them now)

Black Pashmina

Mulberry Silk Eye Mask

Kindle Paperwhite

Charger/Headphone/Cable Case (I keep this case pre-packed with my travel chargers, etc.)

– Snacks (raw nuts, dried fruit, protein bar, beef sticks, tea packets)

Natural Hand Sanitizing Wipes

Kleenex Packet

Tide Stain Stick

Dental Floss (I hate having stuff in my teeth, so I pretty much always have floss on me)

Organic Non-Applicator Tampons

Organic Lip balm

– My Laptop

EMF Pad for my Laptop

– My notebook and pen  (although I live a paperless life, I have a small notebook I use daily to track my to-do list and make notes in – so I bring that with me in my backpack).  

What’s In My Charger/Headphone/Cable Case

Laptop cord + plug

USB plug with a double port

2 iPhone charging cables (so that I have a backup in case one quits working)

– Charging cord for my travel electronic toothbrush and Kindle

iPhone headphones 

Regular/laptop headphones (and a dongle – I have had my headphones quit working while traveling so I keep a dongle with me so that my regular headphones can serve as my backup iPhone headphones).  

Clutch Charger w/cord – this is about the size of a credit card and charges my iPhone on the go

And depending on the trip, I sometimes pack my Power Bank which will charge my laptop, phone, kindle, etc. 

My Toiletries

I use this hanging toiletry organizer and keep it pre-packed with all my toiletries (I use two of them in order fit all my toiletries, makeup & makeup brushes).  Oftentimes hotels and Airbnb’s have very little counter space, so I like to hang my toiletries.  Plus it makes it easier to see them, use them and keep them organized. 

I use the Quip electronic toothbrush as my travel toothbrush because it’s super lightweight and holds a long charge.    

My Jewelry

I use this hanging jewelry organizer because it’s light weight, relatively small but still holds a lot of jewelry so if I have several back-to-back trips, I can pack pretty much all of my jewelry.  It keeps necklaces from getting tangled and I love that I can hang it up in my hotel room next to my toiletry bag.

General Packing

Almost everything listed above is pre-packed – so most of these items live in my travel bags.  The only items I pack for each trip are:

– My laptop + EMF pad

– My Jewelry

– My clothes & shoes

– Some of my makeup (I keep a set of makeup brushes and makeup basics in my travel bag and just pack specific things I need for the trip)

Additional Packing Tips

– I use this dirty laundry bag because it folds up super small when not in use, is easy to wash, and it’s great for wet swimsuits and things like that. 

– I use these shoe bags.  Shoes are FULL of dirt and bacteria, so I don’t want them touching my clothes and things. 

– I use these compression packing cubes to organize things by category (for example: one cube for all workout clothes, one cube for undergarments & PJ’s).    

– I put large items in my suitcase first and then pack small things around them.  

– I generally don’t fill my suitcase all the way full because I tend to acquire a thing or two on my trip and even if I don’t, somehow things don’t fit as well on the way home as they did on the way there so I like having extra space.  When possible I don’t compress my packing cubes until the way home – this helps keeps clothes from getting wrinkly on the way to my destination and it frees up space in my suitcase for the trip home.

– I don’t like having my suitcases on the floor when I’m packing and unpacking, so I use these suitcase stands.  

Suitcases

– I love the AWAY luggage because they actually hold up!  And the wheels are so good.  I have the large and medium.

– For my carry-on bag, I have this Tumi which has served me well.  It’s nice that it expands so if you end up acquiring too much stuff on your trip, you can always just expand it for your flight home and check it (when you expand it, it’s too big to have as a carryon). 

– I have this unisex backpack from Lo & Sons.  It’s a splurge but it’s the best backpack I’ve ever had. It’s been around the world with me, and it still looks new.  It’s durable, beautiful, and has all the right compartments and design.  I have black with a lavender interior (they have lots of combo options to choose from) which makes it easy to find things.  It’s far superior to a Tumi backpack.

– For overnights, I have this Beis bag, these garment bags, and this carry-on garment bag.  They are all great – I use them regularly and love them.    

General Travel Tips

– I find my flights on Google Flights. My rule of thumb is for trips under 6 hours I fly coach, 6+ hours I fly business class and will try to use miles.

– When going on a significant vacation or traveling with a group, use a travel agent. They’ll save you a ton of time and energy, and oftentimes save you money too.  You can find one for the exact type of trip you’re taking at FindAGreatTravelAgent.com

That’s my travel system!  Let me know if you try out any of my systems and if you have some great systems of your own, please share right here on Instagram.  

With Gratitude,
Heidi DeCoux