Over the years, our packing has gotten more efficient and the amount of stuff we bring back has gotten less efficient. Basically, we are hauling the same amount of stuff back that we did in the beginning. 😅
If you want to learn from a suitcase-maximizer (me!), read on and learn to buy to your hearts' true desire (food and booze). There's nothing wrong with hauling and safeguarding a bottle of pisco on a red-eye flight. Priorities are priorities, and if you are going to travel that far, might as well bring something back to show for all that trouble?
Ditch as much stuff packing in advance.
This is a no-brainer, though it's amazing how much space can be saved by ditching the paranoia. This is doubly compounded when staying in a hotel (or an extremely well-stocked Airbnb) that provides a full suite of amenities. Leaving a carry-on suitcase half-empty is definitely more than possible.
Stow away a large, foldable bag.
In this particular case, it could be work well if 1) the personal item is small enough to fit in the suitcase, and 2) the large, foldable bag is bigger in capacity than the personal carry-on.
In situations where a lot more space is needed (cough, cough), stuffing the personal item in the bag and unfurling the foldable bag is a great solution. Just do us a favor, and buy everything at the end of the trip.
Remove packaging from souvenirs.
Do you need the packaging? I mean, are you going to return to another city to return it in case you get buyer's remorse? (No.)
Though it will keep things neat and pretty until you get home, sometimes there's no really no point in if it increases the packing footprint. Think Matryoshka dolls, and stuffing things within things within more things is really the key.
(Perhaps the only thing that we do not remove the packaging for is for cosmetics, because, hygiene.)
Here's how much stuff we brought back.
Keep in mind that the following list is in addition to our carry-on belongings for a week. So yes, we actually wore clothes on top of all of this.
Before anyone makes judgments (everyone has their stuff, quite literally), there was actually more space to spare in what we shall call our souvenir bag, but just because you have the space doesn't mean you should always use it. 😂
Costco trips are great, aren't they?
- 5 lbs of quinoa
- 6 avocados
- 30 dumplings
- Pen holder
- 3 ring binder, plus tabs, and notebook
- Bottle opener, whisk, pastry scraper, steamer, tape
- Cookie cutters
- 5 additional makeup items, including moisturizer, mascara, eyeshadow palettes
- 5 items of travel-sized toiletries (razors, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush)