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Everyone has an idea about packing.  I am always looking for the lightest suitcase so that I can bring more with me.  My husband and I travel between California and France at least twice a year.  If you read my blog, you know that one of my sons lives in France.  Everything time I go to see him and his family, I bring “stuff” for them along with my clothes and my “stuff”.  Let me know if you have some good packing tips that I am overlooking.

1. Soft sided suitcase or hard shell suitcases.  I bought 2 – 32″ wheeled duffle bags at REI a number of years ago that I think work well for me.  But as you can see, this is not a sexy bag!    Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 3.53.18 PM

I chose REI because if they fail, this company will take the bags back and give me a new suit case in exchange. However, I love the idea of the hard shell cases since they seem to be very light and some of them come in great colors.

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Recently, I have been tempted by the French designed Lipault suitcase.  It is made of a lightweight nylon twill, is super light and comes in bright colors.Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 3.15.09 PM

2. Cell phones and iPads;  I find myself traveling without my favorite camera more often because of my cell phone.  Most of the time, I bring a good camera as well as my mini iPad.  I always take a picture or two of my packed suitcases so that if they gets lost, I will have a picture of it to give to the Airline’s lost and found.

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3. I am a list person.  This way, I don’t have to think about what I might forget.  My lists are flexible and ever changing but I always use one. I also figure that if my bags gets lost, I will have the list of what was in it with me. http://www.luggageontheweb.com/travel-tips.html

4. Suitcase organization; I like bags that have some internal pockets and I always try to remember to put a few plastic bags in. (Remember to add this to my list!) The empty bags are good for wet bathing suits, shoes and dirty laundry. I also use the plastic bags for items like salt and olive oil that I might be bringing home.  I roll my clothes since I am under the impression that this saves space and then I will have space for gifts. I have successfully brought home wine, mustard and pickles by putting the bottles in 2 plastic baggies and rolling my jeans around the bottles.

5. Global Entry Program; If you travel out of the US at least 1-2 times a year, this is a marvelous time saver. It costs $100 for 5 years.  Those who are approved for the program can re-enter the US by using a kiosk at the entry airport.  The kiosk reads the traveler’s passport or green card as well as finger prints. Basically, there is limited or no waiting at immigration.  http://www.us-immigration.com/us-immigration-news/uscis/uscis-global-entry-program-for-trusted-travelers/?gclid=CJO9w9–xb0CFVJffgoduVgACA

6. Weigh your bag before you leave home; We also use a mini scale to make sure that we haven’t gone over the limits for luggage.  I bring the scale with me so for the return trip.  If I need to bring a second bag, I  pay for it online before leaving home since that is less expensive than paying at the airport.

Bon Voyage!