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How to Pack a Bag to Avoid Baggage Fees (Ep. 30)

A couple of years ago, I was at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris when I struck up a conversation with two travelers from North Carolina. The conversations came around to our trips and I said I was going to be in Europe for 16 days with my one bag. The woman said, "holy crap, I need to see how you got all of that stuff into one bag!"

Proud papa that I was, I realized I was doing something many other people hadn't thought about. And so many times we see prices for baggage that rival the price for these economy flights.

When I told my sister, she took on the challenge and bought the bag off of my Amazon store. On our trip to Texas to go see my mother and brother, she had done it - in fact, better than me!

So, while we are talking Miles and Points and Cheap Flights, it only makes sense to talk about avoiding baggage fees. Check out this week's episode where my sister Colleen and I unpack our bags.

The Miracle Bag

Colleen demonstrating

KonMari Folding Method


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Colleen's Items

Top pocket

  • Charger for phone and Garmin.
  • Headphones.
  • Gum.

Front pocket

  • iPad
  • Inside front pocket
  • Journal

Side mesh pocket

  • Phone/Wallet.

Divider pocket

  • Clear makeup bag

Top layer of clothes not neatly folded

  • Nightgown
  • Light robe
  • Workout tank and leggings
  • Bike shorts
  • Sandwich sized ziplock with six pair of underpants
  • Another small ziplock with two bras

Tucked in the sidewalls of the suitcase

  • Sandals

Tucked in the top

  • Small see through toiletry bag

Folded in the bottom of the bag Marie Kondo style

  • Nice jean leggings
  • Nice black slacks
  • Two jersey skirts
  • Three dresses (wrinkle free nylon for two)
  • Three tops
  • One jacket
  • One pair of socks
  • Forgot my minimalist running shoes

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Drew's Items

I tend to choose if I'm going casual or dressy, but I found shoes that could work with anything but shorts and sandals


  • Jeans (or dress pants), t-shirt, over shirt, shoes, socks, belt

Front Pocket

  • Business cards
  • Selfie stick / phone stand

Main Compartment

  • Lenovo Yoga Laptop
  • Clear package (see my Amazon store)
    • Suntan lotion
    • Deoderant
    • Soap
    • Razor and shaving cream
    • Toothpaste and toothbrush with cover
  • Laptop charger
  • Whisky distillery sample glass (not those kinds of samples sis!)
  • Grocery bag for dirty clothes
  • USB / Car radio broadcaster (see my Amazon store)
  • Tide pods
  • 6 days of boxers / underwear
  • 4 t-shirts
  • One extra over-shirt (casual or dress)
  • Second set of jeans (or dress pants if a clean)
  • Sweat pants

Packing Tips for One Bag

  • Build your wardrobe around your pair of shoes
  • Remember you also have a pair of clothes you're wearing and you can bring all your coats and sweaters on your person.
  • You can buy your toiletries when you get to your location if you have to.
  • A carry on and a laptop bag for overseas trips is an advantage because you can keep your important documents in the personal (laptop) bag so it never is taken from you. Items that could go in your main bag, but when going overseas I find the extra bag helpful and a safety feature.
    • Passport
    • International Driver's Permit
    • Local transportation cards like Metro, Oyster, T, etc.
    • Hotel Reservations, Car Rental Agreement
    • A spare debit card (I use Ally Bank due to their AllPoints ATM locations that could save you a fee)
    • Ear buds
    • Laptop
  • On extended trips plan on enough clothes for a certain amount of days (6 or 7) then have a laundry day.
  • If you take really cheap t-shirts, you can always leave them at your hotel if you need room for trinkets on the flight home.



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