I’ve developed a system for travel crisis management that has seen me through many a storm, workers strike, airport security involuntary cosmetics tosses, gate check “full overhead” confiscation, and other ways you might become involuntarily separated from your luggage. Perhaps even permanently at the rate you hear of luggage getting lost on transcontinental flights.
My system is pretty simple and a bit sad yet it’s crucial but I cannot be without certain items. I have a medical condition (ankylosing spondylitis) that requires delicate management. I carry a anti-inflammatory that is an injection pen that must be kept refrigerated. I carry a full travel pharmacy including solutions for all major issue from from digestive troubles to anaphylaxis, and analgesics or “forcing function drugs” for emergencies. Most are stored in labeled plastic bags but a few few controlled substances have to remain in their bottles or they can be confiscated by customs unless I can prove the prescription. In other, words. I can’t let the airline ever get their hands on it and it has to be provably mine.
Aer Grey Duffle Backpack
My backpack is my hand luggage under the seat item. In it I keep my travel pharmacy, a basic quart bag of grooming & cosmetic basics, all my electronics & their chargers, and a BagSmart packing cube with a change of pajamas (including under wear, bra, & extra socks). This functions as my purse for the duration of travel so includes wallet, phone, passport, chapstick, hand sanitizer, extra warmth layer, and other essentials. Even if my carry on bag gets checked against my will and lost in transport, I can still survive on what’s in this bag no matter where I end up.
Grey Muji Roller
Alas this bag isn’t sold anymore but it’s a soft top 4 wheel overhead. It’s my typical one week trip companion. It will go overhead unless something happens so this contains a week’s worth of basic clothing, shoes, and purse that could function for an entire trip if necessary. It is all organized and labeled in BagSmart compression cubes. I keep the majority of my secondary cosmetics here as well so I can shave, shower, do some hair and makeup. If I have a checked luggage failure (it’s lost forever) I’d be alright. I also keep a week’s worth of supplements while a month would go into the checked bag. I also keep 2 detergent tablets in this and the remaining in checked. Yes, I bring my own detergent because allergies.
Tumi Alpha Bag
For longer trips like say a month in Europe I do a checked bag. I pack stuff that I’d prefer to have larger sizes of like toothpaste & body lotions and my preferred shampoo, conditioner and styling products. Still 3 oz but no sense in lugging if you have the luxury. I also pack all my professional and going out clothing in here if it’s not absolutely necessary on landing in which case it would go into the grey carry on. I have dresses and separates that can handle anything from cocktail to family office for a month.
How It Works
I have every item listed in a packing template in Notion but I also do a ritual where I write it all out on a note pad and note the placement of each item in the cascade failure packing stage as either backpack, carry on or checked so I always know where everything is at all times. I’ve never been separated from anything critical like medicine or an electronic. Every time I travel I refine the lists and procedures.