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Do You Suffer From Overweight Luggage?


10 Tips to Transform Your Packing

Humiliation. Not good. My innermost beings were strewn across the tile floor of the bustling airport lobby. The check-in agent authoritatively (smugly) declared my bag overweight, and with her czarina-type dismissal, the purging commenced. I was hot and unhappy. Sitting amidst my possessions, I wanted the floor to open and swallow me whole.

As the slinging, flinging, shoving, and stuffing ensued, other passengers vicariously stepped around me. The bravest offered comments—some sarcastic, others sympathetic; none helpful. Racing the clock, I muttered under my breath, “If I ever get out of this alive, it will NEVER happen again.”

The disastrous day lurks as a suppressed memory, yet the iconic symbol of travel still threatens like nothing else to set my teeth on edge. But, suitcases and airline scales remain a fact of life. So, how can we guarantee leaving home with a bag the check-in agent will smile upon?

After more than 50 years of international travel—in spite of the inevitable defeats like my introductory story—I offer ten tips to guide you in packing a suitcase that behaves:

  1. Pray. Take charge. Don’t over-think; be decisive.

  2. Start 2 days ahead. Place your suitcase in a separate room other than your bedroom. Do your laundry first.

  3. Place hanging clothes on a door rack to view your choices.

  4. Pack in daylight, not at night. Begin by counting out underwear.

  5. Use Eagle Creek packing cubes for categories.

  6. Think simple, think solids.

  7. Minimize shoes. Always take a dress.

  8. Remove at least 2 items. Be realistic, but not ruthless. After all, you do need clothes and supplies where you are going.

  9. Place a versatile windbreaker and a small empty duffle in the outside pocket of your suitcase.

  10. Know your enemy. Weigh bags at home.

Once the suitcase is zipped, and you are ready to go, you can pull up to the airport curb without a knot in your stomach. As the ticket agent smiles at you and says, “Place your bag here on the scale,” you can confidently look her in the eye, knowing that you made the cut! Victory! Bye-bye bag.


[Bonus tip: Always leave one clean pair of underwear in your drawer at home. In the event your suitcase is lost or delayed upon returning, you will at least have one clean pair of undies waiting. When I shared this with my precocious granddaughter, she quickly asked, “Gammy, did you learn this the hard way?!”]

Living With Eternal Intentionality®

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to the words of knowledge (Proverbs 23:12).

What is your worst nightmare at an airline check-in counter?

Please offer your best packing tip for the rest of us.