One part travel blog. One part nerdy history lesson.

It’s Packing Day!

After years of business and personal travel…I like to think I’ve become quite the expert packer. If I’m going anywhere for less than a week, I can do it in a carry-on. People always ask how I can pack so “light”… But the truth is, I don’t pack light at all. 

So, since this time I was packing for over three weeks to a cold destination…I thought it might be fun to capture the packing process for anyone interested.

I raided the closet and this is what I selected for the trip:

No way, right?  Wrong.

In 15 minutes- all of that plus shoes and toiletries was in here:

And really, this suitcase is just the next size up from carry-on… It’s not even a full size.

So enough bragging. Here’s the secret: pack loose items into packing cubes where you can and learn to fold and stack for maximum space in a suitcase.

I was able to fit 15 pair of undies and 5 of MY bras (yeah…I went there) into this 6×9 inch packing cube.

Most people think about suitcases all wrong. We open it up on the bed and start using the sides like drawers. That limits the stacking space. Stand it upright on something rigid, a little higher than the ground to make it easier. I chose the bedside table…and use it like a shelf.

Start with your most important items you have to pack and stack all the way to the top

Then, once it’s stuffed to the top, lie it flat and continue placing items in the leftover “top” space in the traditional fashion until full

Unzip the expander ring zipper to give you an idea of how high to stack your remaining items. Place shoes in the pockets and other small items that have not yet been packed

Lastly, add your toiletries in the small areas in all the nooks and crannies.

Then zip it up and once it’s zipped, apply some pressure to the top and re-zip the expanded ring for extra security against movement inside the suitcase

And there you have it.  Suitcase packing- Level Expert.

Any other tips and tricks? Was this helpful?  Let me know in the comments. 

Monday is the big day. We leave West Palm Beach airport on a 2 hr flight to Newark.

A 5 hour layover with a toddler there should interesting…then the 6 hour flight to Dublin. Did I mention we’re bringing the toddler? 🙂

If anyone is interested in what we packed to entertain Norah for the next 3 weeks, let me know and I’ll try to share.


  1. Makala staples

    Have a great time and be safe

    • Erin McKinney

      Thank you!

  2. Janey Bowman

    I learned some great tips! Can’t wait to follow your adventures.

  3. Deb Schill

    Yes – I want to know what you are bringing along to entertain Norah.

  4. Bob Hamilton

    I admire you both!

  5. Aunt Deana

    You are a Packing Wizard! That is absolutely genius. Why have I never thought of this?
    Thanks for sharing. And I am looking forward to travelling to Ireland etc. vicariously through your photos since I will most likely never make it. Can I request at least one castle visit? I’ve always wanted to check out one their castles, LOL. Love y’all – have fun and be safe.

    • Erin McKinney

      Yes- there will be about 5-6 castle visits. 🙂 but I can pretend it’s just for you! Haha Day 2- we are going to the Rock of Cashel and the ruined Rock of Dunamase. I think you will be most excited about Tintagel Castle in Cornwall towards the end. It was literally King Arthur’s castle! It looks amazing!

  6. Patricia woo

    Enjoy and stay safe.

  7. Kathy Rudolph

    Have a great time, you three. Be safe!

  8. Grandma Millie Russom

    That was very helpful. Looking forward to your next post.

  9. Lyla McGlinchey

    Have fun! Safe travels!

  10. Brenda-Nonnie

    How wonderful! Fun to be able to follow along. ..

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