Top Tips for Pro-level Travel Packing – 121

Travel Packing can be fun and frustrating at the same time. What do you bring? What do you leave at home? After some big trips this summer, Shayne and I have some pro tips for you when it comes to packing.

Our Favorite Gear and Tips for Travel Packing

  • Planning to Pack/Prep for the trip?
  • Backpack/Side bag (when flying, what do you always have?)
  • Suggestions for types of backpacks (styles or brands)
  • Carry-on (how do you maximize packing in a carry-on?)
  • Suggestions for types of carry-ons (style or brand)

Question: What is your favorite travel packing tip?

Please let us know in the All Things Travel Podcast Facebook group!

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Episode 121 Transcripts

Episodes are transcribed with artificial intelligence, so there are likely some highly amusing translations!

Ryan: Hello, and welcome to All Things Travel. Packing can be fun and frustrating at the same time. What do you bring? What do you leave at home? Well, after some big trips this summer, Shayne and I have some pro tips for you when it comes to packing, you’re listening to All Things Travel, episode 121 original air date August 10th, 2022.

So Shayne we have had episodes about packing travel gadgets in the past. We’re kind of packing geeks. I would say, what does that characterize us? Well,

Shayne: Yeah, definitely. It’s funny because I’m not really a techy person. I don’t have to have gadgets and stuff, but when it comes to packing, I’m in,

I want the stuff

Ryan: feed has a lot of backpacks and luggage and things like that. Cuz they, they figured out what I like to stop

Shayne: Yes. Yeah. Amazon knows. Facebook knows. Everybody knows the stuff that I like.

Ryan: Well, we’ve both done some traveling this summer. And so we’ve got some new ideas or some golden oldies that we’ve talked about too on past episodes tips, particularly for flying. So how do we handle the thinking about packing? How do we handle the carryon or backpack? That we’re gonna have. And then how do we handle that?

Carry on that we’re gonna have the smaller piece of luggage. We’ve each got some tips for doing that. Because I can tell you for my last trip I don’t know how much I wanna check a bag anymore. If I don’t have to you know, we had some issues and it took a long time for my souvenirs to give back to my house.

But anyway, I digress. We’re gonna talk about some tips today, but first, you know what I want to know. Shayne, where in the world is all things travel,

Shayne: Norfolk, Virginia.

Ryan: Norfolk, Virginia. I don’t think I’ve ever been there before. Have you.

Shayne: I haven’t been there and I found this a cool piano bar named appropriately Gershwins. And it’s got that speakeasy feel that we love. And

Ryan: kinda, you know, if it’s a pub or a speakeasy, you’re just a you’re just a softie when it comes to

Shayne: you know, I’ve been to. A couple of bars in my time. And there’s different moods, different bars, you know, the loud sports bars. The louder live music bars and speakeasy bars, just a little quieter where you can have a conversation. And the lighting is usually kind of dim and relaxing and chill.

And I’m all about that vibe.

Ryan: I like it. I like it. Well, Hey Norfolk. Thank you so much for listening to All Things travel. We love hearing where people are and where they are when they listen to us. And so reach out to Shayne or I, you can do that on the Facebook group, all things travel, or you can do that via email that we’re gonna share at the end of the show, because I have a nice little gift for thanking you for being featured on the show today.

Shayne: And to make sure that you hear Where in the World as All Things Travel next week, be sure to subscribe to the show so that you never miss any of our travel tips, travel ideas, or travel stories.

Ryan: All right. So we have done some episodes in the past having to do with packing, having to do with travel gear. So if this episode sparks your fancy there, go back and take a listen. We do have some episodes to help you out there, but we’re gonna do three main areas today, Shayne and the first is how do you plan for packing or how do you prep for a trip? Are you a list person when it comes to packing?

Shayne: When it comes to clothes, I am because I you’re gonna be doing different things on each trip and you’re gonna have you wanna dress appropriately. So I’ll map out what I’m gonna wanna wear it, just to make sure that I don’t show up dressed inappropriately anywhere, as far as other things though, I just never unpack.

My toiletries and all that, it’s never unpacked. So there’s no thinking about that. It’s just ready to go for the next.

Ryan: That’s a good prep tip, right? There is stuff that you can keep packed. Keep packed. I do the same thing with my to, so that was gonna be one of my suggestions for carryon is you know, keep it packed so that, you know, you have everything you need replenish what you need right after the trip and then put it away so that it’s ready to go.

Shayne: So what I’ll do to make sure it’s never empty is Week or so when my new deodorant from Dr. Scotch arrives, I’ll stick the new one into my toiletry bag and my travel bag. And I’ll take the one that’s in there out to use daily.

And I do that with toothpaste and floss and mouthwash. Everything’s always new and full in the travel bag and what I’m using is what’s left from.

Ryan: That’s a great tip. So I do make lists, especially if it’s a trip I haven’t been on before. And just like you, my top tip for kind of prepping to, to pack is to think through what you’re gonna need. And then lay it all out before you pack anything. I, I always pack on our bed.

Right. I always lay it out on the bed and evaluate, do I really need all this stuff? Or am I missing things so that I know before it goes in the suitcase, I’ve mentally evaluated, whether it needs to be there or not.

Shayne: I’ll lay it out and then I’ll group it together with the packing cubes that each item is going to go in. And that way I have an idea of what’s gonna fit what maybe I need to rearrange into different cubes and so on.

Ryan: So let’s talk about then the backpack. So this isn’t our carryon, this isn’t our Tories clothes, shoes, things like that. But this is our travel backpack. Do you have a brand that you tend to gravitate towards?

Shayne: well, I’ve got two. It depends on whether or not I’m gonna be taking. Depends on what I’m gonna be doing. If I’m gonna be taking a laptop, then I’m actually in the market for an eBag backpack and narrowed it down between a couple. But for. More of a day adventure. If I’m not gonna be needing a computer, I’ve got one called a pack safe.

And I like it because it has several security features. It’s got Kevlar reinforced bottoms and straps so that no one can cut the bottom or cut your straps and steal stuff outta your backpack, or take the backpack, the zippers lock, and then enclose into the fabric. So no one can just come up and open up your backpack and sneak something out of it when you’re not paying attention.

And then it’s also got a lock where when you are, if you’re sitting at a restaurant or a bar, you can unhook it and wrap it around the chair or table so that it’s secured to something on the ground. And no one can just walk by and grab it and run off with it. And it’s got a nice, it’s very low profile.

It doesn’t look like it’s anything special. It’s just a plain black backpack. And then the perfect size it’s light and comfortable. And pretty much everything you might want in a backpack.

Ryan: Very good. So my backpack, when I travel is almost exclusively, my office backpack And it’s, I call it my office backpack because literally I can fit my entire office. You know, if I’m working at the coffee shop at the library on a trip, whatever, everything could be in there. And I do have an eBags backpack, Shayne and I absolutely love it.

It showed up on my Facebook feed a couple years ago and I watched the videos and I looked at it. Thought about it. And I looked at it some more and I bought one and man, I am an eBags convert. You’re gonna hear eBags several times from me on this episode, I have the medium size slim backpack. It fits everything I need for my office.

So I’ve got my laptop is in there. My Kindle is in there. My remarkable notebook is in there. I’ve got plenty of space for extra things. What I like about it is, and this is kind of counterintuitive. When it comes to traveling with a backpack, it doesn’t fit much extra than what I need for my work stuff,

Shayne: So you don’t have all that extra weight from stuff

that you don’t need.

Ryan: So there’s enough space for, you know, portable battery and some snacks and a water bottle, and then my normal office stuff. And I like that because. I’m not weighing myself down with a bunch of stuff when I travel. So my top tip, when it comes to your backpack, whether it’s. A backpack like that’s for work or for a travel backpack is keep everything as organized as you possibly can.

So I have a bag for my cords. I have my external battery. I have everything. And not only is it organized in smaller bags or in pockets, it’s in the same pocket. Every. So every time I travel and I take, I tend to take the same 98% stuff in that backpack. It’s in the same exact spot because then I know I have it.

And I know that it’s where it’s supposed to be.

Shayne: Yeah, when you’re in line for the, at the ticket counter or a restaurant or a coffee bar, and you need something real quick, you just wanna grab it. You don’t wanna have to look for it and it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Right? I mean, just plain old Ziploc bags to

Ryan: Right. Oh yeah. Cord. Yeah. But before I had a cord bag, things would just be in Ziploc bags or tied with, you know, garbage bag ties, you know, things like that. And that works fine, but yeah my, my wallet goes in the same pocket when I’m traveling. My passport goes in the same pocket when I’m traveling.

I know where my earbuds are so I can grab ’em, you know, if I have to reach. You know, on a plane and get something I’m, it’s pretty easy to do so. And you know, I’ve said this tip before, and this is cuz I keep messing up when I travel. I always take a disposable water bottle. Now on the actual trip, once I’m there, I might have a nicer one, but on the actual trip, I always have a small disposable water bottle one because that’s what fits best into my backpack.

And two I’ve left too many water bottles on the plane on the, at the sitting on the seat at the airport that’s kind of my go to tip. If you.

Shayne: You just don’t wanna use them for too many days, too many


Ryan: and I know, and I’ve heard that from you enough that I don’t do that anymore, but for the actual trip that’s what I do.

Shayne: oh yeah. Keep it handy for the day for their flying and driving day. So I’m curious, this doesn’t apply to everybody, but when in, when you’re packing your microphone and your attachment for your phone, it makes it easier to take pictures. Do you keep that, is that, does that go in your backpack or does that go in your suitcase?

Ryan: If I’m checking a bag, I always put it in my suitcase because that the handle that I use for my phone for taking pictures has a spring in it. And TSA folks don’t like spring. There’s something about the design that if it’s in a carryon, it’s been flagged a couple times and it’s never a problem, you know, but they have to open it up.

They have to look at it. So if I’m checking a bag, it always goes in that so that I don’t have to

Shayne: Sure. And we don’t wanna distract them from keeping an eye out

Ryan: Yeah. So, so yeah I, will I, if I’m taking that stuff for vlogging or for taking photos or videos? Yeah. I do put that in a check bag if I can. All right. So let’s talk about the carryon. I also have an eBags carryon that I love. I have multiple carry-ons , you know, at home carryon size fuel, but the one I love the

Shayne: we do.

Ryan: And again, I got it kind of on a whim because I liked my backpack so much. I got the mother load wheeled duffle carryon suitcase from eBags and my wife actually for our last trip to Italy got the backpack version and she really liked it.

So again, eBags wins the day. What I love about it is it’s so, gosh, darn small, that you opened up the first time and you. How in the world am I gonna fit anything into this? And it holds so much stuff the way that they have things structured you know, the way that you can expand certain things, I can expand it and it still carry on size.

I absolutely love it.

What about you? Do you have a specific type of carryon bag that you use? Shayne

Shayne: you know, I tend to be a little rebellious in nature, so. I have tried to avoid even spiting myself, tried to avoid the eBags and I’ve got a Swiss army carryon that I had my eye on it for a while that I liked it and I just liked the look of it. And when I saw it on sale, I grabbed it and it works perfectly fine for traveling for a carry-on.

[[ But I am gonna, you know, keep an eye on it at some. Invest in that eBags cause it, it, you know, it is fine. And if you see one and you grab it and you have a trip coming up, it’s gonna work out well for you. And it’ll last you for several trips for several years. I’ve always wanted to check a bag because I don’t wanna carry anything. I wanna carry as little as possible in the airport onto the plane off the plane, but I’m starting to also lean towards not checking and carrying on. And those eBags are a lot better for being able to pack more and carry on and not having to check a.

Ryan: Right. And I will say if you’re carrying a lot of extra stuff besides clothes, or if you have a vacation, that’s, let’s say, you know, more than four days, This eBag carryon might be a little too small for what you’re looking for. But I love it for smaller trips. It, it has a lot of really cool features.

And then my number one tip with, especially with, carry-ons not necessarily with check bags, but with carry-ons is I almost always use packing cubes or vacuum bags. And I absolutely love.

Shayne: Yeah. Anytime you can compartmentalize, whether it’s your suitcase, your carryon or your backpack, everything’s well organized. You don’t have to dig through everything. You know what’s in what bag and you just have to, maybe you just have to dig through that bag or maybe it’s a lot easier to see save you some time and frustration when you’re looking for something.

Ryan: so my third eBag suggestion, Shayne comes with my next tip for the carryon packing. I have an eBags toiletry bag that I love because it lays flat. So I used to have one of those traditional toiletry bags that was kind of a brick shape. And this one lays flat. Now it’s bigger. But it’s flatter.

So it fits in a bag really nicely. And it actually holds a lot more than my old tot bag did. But if you can find something that lays flat rather than as brick style, it actually takes a less room in your carryon bag.

Shayne: Because then you can hang it. Right. And you have easier access to all the items in it versus when they’re just. all. Even if you leave home with them organized inside the dot kit, I guess, is what they’re called when you open it up, items might shift during flight.

Ryan: My next tip. And this is something that I almost always do to Shayne. Even if I’m taking just a carryon is I have a packable second bag. So this might be a small duffle bag that zips up flat. This might be a larger, you know, kind of reusable shopping bag because that can become. A carry on if it needs to be, or that can become another personal bag if it needs to be for the trip home or the trip during your travels.

Shayne: especially if you’re going somewhere where there’s gonna be souvenirs that you want, or if it’s a shopping destination and you know, you’re gonna bring back more than you’re taking. It’s a

Ryan: Absolutely. Absolutely. What other tips do you have when it comes to carry-ons?

Shayne: I’ve got a scale that my daughter gave me a couple of years ago and you just attach it to the handle and lift and you can check the weight of your bag. You can, and I take it with me. So that way, if we’re coming back, I know pretty much what the weight’s gonna be. And I don’t have to fre what’s gonna happen when I get to the counter.

I know before I. What the weight of the bag is. And if I need to get a different bag, an extra bag, or if there’s, is there something I can leave behind? I can figure that out before I get to the ticket counter.

Ryan: Right. The last thing you want to be is that guy that has their bag opened up at the counter pulling dirty laundry out, know, and stuffing it into your backpack and all that kind of stuff. Absolutely. So my last piece of shopping here is a product you’ve heard me talk about called jet bags.

Shayne: Oh, yeah.

Ryan: And jet bags are for bottles of liquid. Now, obviously this would not work with carry-ons, but for check bags, this is perfect. So if you get some wine, get some whiskey or we’ve even used it for olive oil or things like that. There’s ziplock bags that have a padding inside of them that if something were to happen to that bottle of wine and it breaks, the liquid is actually absorbed.

Rather than leaking into your bag and I’ve used these bags over and over, and thankfully I’ve never had to test it cuz they’ve always worked really well.

Shayne: And since it’s just a bag, you can just take one or two.

Ryan: Yeah.

Shayne: In case you find something

you don’t have to

Ryan: and absolutely. That’s what we do. We just always have a few in our suitcase cuz you never know.

Shayne: we went to new Orleans a few years ago. have any intentions of bringing back any wine or liquor or anything. But then we went to the central grocery and they have the bot, the jars of the olive salad that they use on the sandwiches. And we’re like, wow, we really want this, but don’t really have a good way to carry it

Ryan: and the jet bags I’ve those would be perfect. I’ve brought back things like honey I’ve brought back. Yeah. I mean, I they would work well for that.

Shayne: That’s probably the last thing you would want your luggage smelling. Like if that jar broke, is that olive solid?

Ryan: Yeah. The olive salad from the Muff out is absolutely. Do you have a few things that are kind of must packs that, that you pack every time that people may not think about

Shayne: I have a USB charging bank and it’s, it has 10 ports in it. So it. Covers everything with my family travels, all of our phones, watches, AirPods, iPads. We can charge everything overnight. And then I will take it with me if I’m traveling alone. Because even if I’m by myself, cuz I still will have three or four things to

Ryan: Yeah.

I like that. That, that, that’s a really good tip. I need to get that not yours, But my own.

Shayne: and then make ’em with fewer ports. And then now. I’ll probably have to get a newer one pretty soon, because they’re all USB two the bigger

USBs, and there’s a lot of devices that are switching to USBC and other charging and other plugs. So,


Look at what devices you have.

Ryan: So, one thing that I had on my list is I always bring an extra pair of glasses. I lost my glasses one time in a water park, which is not where you wanna lose your glasses. Luckily, I, I. I found them believe it or not, they actually went through the filtration system and they actually got ’em.

But I always carry my older pair of classes. Cause I don’t have a pair with my current subscription. Other than what I’m wear. But now, because I have that nicer to bag, it just stays in my to bag. I no longer have to think about it. Like I’ve said on the show before, I always like to have one or two doses of kind of common medicines, because if I’m somewhere where I don’t know where a pharmacy is.

I always want to be able to take something to start to feel better. And something that I’ve used time and time again is I have a Ziploc, a gallon Ziploc bag that has multiple Ziploc bags in it. A couple small garbage bags of small roll of duct tape. Like the half size roll. Sharpie and a pen and a couple rubber bands.

And it’s amazing how many times I need something like that on the trip.

Shayne: Yeah, I found out from you and I think another friend of ours that there’s a lot of uses for rubber.

Ryan: Yeah. So, so that’s something that you may not think about. And again, doesn’t take up any room, but is invaluable if you need it.

Shayne: And a great way to hopefully not need any of those medications or, you know, like painkillers or anything like that is to take some sort of hydration, supplement something with little electro electrolytes and vitamins to give you a little energy and make sure you stay hydrated.

Ryan: Yep. I should have done that on my last trip. I think Miriam had one from cross country that she used and liked it during our trip. But yeah, that’s something I need to remember, cuz I know you’ve talked about that a. Well, there you go. Shayne, as we wrap up, what’s one more pro tip for packing that you wanna make sure that everybody keeps in mind.

Shayne: I don’t remember where I heard you mention this, but you had talked about a power bank. Having so that if you’re in the airport or wherever you are, your phone’s gonna run outta battery, something’s gonna run outta battery. You wanna be able to charge it. And if you travel a lot, whether it’s for business or if you’re like Ryan, you just get to travel all the time.

Ryan mentioned to me before that, when he returns home from a trip, he charges his power bank, so that it’s ready for the next trip.

Ryan: Oh, absolutely. It’s always charged. It’s always charged

Shayne: if you’re not gonna travel as much. If you’re just gonna travel every few months, what you wanna do when you get home is go ahead and use up the rest of the juice that’s in it and let it go ahead and power it all the way.

Go ahead and discharge it all the way. And then either wait until your next trip or month or so later, charge it fully and redo it again because you don’t wanna charge it up and down too many times cuz whether you charge it a hundred percent. 50% or 0%, it has a certain number of charges in it.

It is a specific number that it’ll take. So you want to try to discharge it as much as you can and then recharge it. But also if you’re not going to be traveling for several months, A month or so into it, you want to charge it fully and then completely discharge it again because it’s also not good to let them sit too long without any charge.

So it’s kind of complicated, but if you wanna get the most months or years out

Ryan: Yeah, no, I get it a AB absolutely. No, I get it.

Shayne: extend their lives.

Ryan: So my pro tip that you may not think about because everybody now travels with AirPods or wireless headphones or the wireless, you know, the big noise canceling headphones. We all love them. Rightfully so. I always travel with them, but always make sure you have an old school.

Pair of headphones because I’ll give you a perfect example. When I was on the when I was on the flight to Italy a couple weeks ago, they have the entertainment system in the seat. Well, I don’t have the adapter to go to my AirPods, which is a really cool idea, but I just don’t have. So I whipped out my old school pair of headphones that work a lot better than the free ones they give you on the flight.

And I’m able to use those there. And I’m also able to use that directly with my computer. If something happens to my AirPods or they run out of juice, it’s kind of my back up for something like that.

Shayne: Yeah. Your options there. If you don’t have something like that are. buy something at the airport, which is way overpriced or you use the free one that the airline will give you, which is pretty close to useless.

Ryan: Absolutely. So, so, you know, next, next time you’re at a store spend 10 bucks, get a nice pair that will actually work well, throw ’em in your backpack and use ’em when you need them All right, Shayne, I think we’ve given some good tips today. Some things to think about next time, people fly next time. People plan to pack for a trip and you know, that we would love to help you plan that trip. And we will actually even give you packing advice based on whatever trip you plan with us.

Shayne and I are both travel advisors with creating magic vacations, and you can reach us. Ryan that’s me. R Y A N at or S H A Y N E at

Shayne: Most families are confused and overwhelmed when planning a vacation, we work with you to plan a trip perfect for your interests, saving you time, money, and stress.