Several people have asked how I pack for trips & any tips. I pride myself on appropriate packing. My standard is a rolling carryon size bag that will fit in the overhead with expandability (for newly acquired purchases) as well as a backpack or satchel type carryon for under the seat accessibility. If it’s a trip where there will be many purchases, packing a folded duffel bag that can be carried on the plane upon returning is vital. In that case, you check your rolling bag & store your new items above the seat.
I truly dislike checking a bag unless I have to. I have had my bag lost or rummaged through 3 times in my history of travel but I had a few items stolen back in my 20s and it left a bad taste in my mouth. Additionally, the inconvenience of getting to my destination after a long flight and waiting an additional 15- 20 minutes to get my bag is awful! Also, the anxiety of watching all the bags roll by and being touched, and sometimes removed from the belt and then replaced, by strangers until mine comes out, is something I like to avoid.
To decide what to pack, count the number of nights you are there. I always pack an outfit per day, although typically I can wear the shorts or jeans twice on the trip so that can cut out an item or two. I try to pack single piece items for night time, like a dress, so that cuts down on pieces & add a light weight jacket for chilly nights or restaurants.
For a beach trip, you can do a few day items less as you will probably be in a bathing suit, (I bring 3 for a week trip and 2 coverups). I also use the shampoo in the hotel to rinse out my bathing suits after use. I always pack 2-3 extra undergarments on top of the # of nights.
In the unlikely event that you must check your bag, ie: carrying bottles of alcohol or taking a puddle jumper plane with no cabin storage, my helpful tip is to have a brightly colored ID tag to set yours apart from all the other bags especially if your bag is black or dark blue. I also suggest taking a photo of your bag so that, if by chance it is lost, you have the exact description.
In my under the seat carryon, I pack headphones, a charger (car charger for rental cars) a book or magazine, my ziplock with toiletries, any medicines you need, a snack and, if checking a bag, a change of underwear and a bathing suit if appropriate. I also try to add a purchased bottle of water once I am through security in case for some reason the in flight service is slow or unable to happen. A hint: for long trips (a neck pillow) or music festivals, I bring a portable charger. I have one that has 2 ports to charge two phones and it plugs in at night into an outlet to recharge. It has been so helpful! Best purchase ever! See photo below.
Another thing I do is to assess the cost of the Uber ride to the airport compared to the cost of overnight parking at the airport. We have a parking lot close to our airport, called Oh Park, that allows you to self park and hop on a shuttle to get dropped off at the entrance (about $8 per day) or to have an attendant ride with you in your car and drop you off at the entrance and then drive your car to their lot (about $15 per day).
When you touch down at home, you text the ticket number and they get your car started (if you had them drive) and leave it running with the heat or a/c on, depending on the weather, and you take the shuttle back and get in your car and leave. They even have add ons like oil changes and car washing while you are away. You can accumulate points and get free days of parking which is also a nice perk. Hint: I always take a photo of my parking ticket in case I misplace it.