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Maybe you want to know how to pack a suitcase, but you don’t have any trips planned. Or maybe so you’re going on a trip in the next few days, and you want to make sure that you have everything ready to go in your appropriately sized for the overhead bin suitcase. We could get into why it would be a better idea to charge for carry-ons and not checked baggage, but I guess charging for carry-ons is very close to charging women for carrying purses. Anyway…

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You don’t want to pack until midnight the night before. The fear of not finishing in time will drive your success.

An exception to the above rule is if you’re going with a tour group somewhere, say to Machu Picchu or the Grand Canyon. In this case, prepare well. Prepare early. There aren’t any stores in these places that will have what you’re missing if you don’t pack correctly.

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Beautiful scenery everywhere, but I don’t see a Wal-Mart.

If you’re just going to somewhere like Vancouver to visit your sister, brother-in-law, and grandparents, you’re in luck. They have stores; in fact, if you go to Robson street, you’ll find Vancouver’s equivalent of a Calgary mall. It’s just like a mall, but every store entrance faces the street since it’s never going to be minus twenty. So you can relax knowing that anything you forget can be bought where you’re going.

That being said, it’s still a good idea to remember as much as you can. You’re obviously going to buy a coffee at the airport; you don’t want to blow that budget on things that could have fit in your suitcase, had you only remembered to buy them.

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Also, remember that security theatre is still a thing. The liquid rules help no one, and yet they’re still in place. This means you’ll want to take a visit to the travel section of Shopper’s Drug Mart before you leave. You could also buy empty 100 ml bottles from Bed Bath and Beyond to keep what you already own in airport appropriate sizes, but some airports get weird about that.

Remember: The rules are different not only depending on which airport you’re in, but depending on who’s working security that day. Also, please note that that I use the word “airport” not airplane. This is deliberate, as none of these rules are helping anything in regards to the airplane. Did you know the pilot has an axe?

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Once you’ve condensed your items into airport appropriate sizes, your best bet is to make a list. You can assume you’ll remember, but even though I’m not sure who’s reading this, my guess is you’ll forget something. My memory is quite good, and I still forget things in the rush of trying to get to the airport in a city that has no good way to get to the airport. If only we were having an international event that would bring money to the city. Oh well.

My list generally looks something like this:

  • Indoor clothing and shoes
  • Outdoor clothing and shoes
  • Jewellery (earrings, necklaces)
  • Makeup
  • Toiletries
  • Travel documents and ID
  • Wallet with credit cards and money
  • Electronics and chargers
  • Books and notebooks
  • Things you can’t pack until the day you leave, or things you won’t pack but will take with you, like your phone.

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Once everything is in your suitcase and purse big enough to carry a lot but still small enough that you can call it a purse, you can leave your apartment and…take the train to the airport? No. Take a bus, like in Edmonton? No, we don’t have that. Take an uber? Not if you don’t agree with how they treat their employees. Call for a taxi and hope it shows up? Sounds good.

Once you get to the airport-I’ll get into that the next time I’m actually at the airport.Check back in February for a guide on how to survive YYC,, as well as a look at what makes YVR so great. And just in case you think I like Vancouver better, Calgary is the best, but we need to start acting like it. Also, the Calgary Flames are still my favourite hockey team…the Vancouver Canucks are my second favourite.


Tags : travel


  1. I am usually a last minute packer. My list to pack looks similar to yours.
    Great visuals added, makes the post interesting.

  2. Ha lOVE the use of GIFs in this post. Yep, I’m also a midnight-the-night-before kind of packer and so far it has yet to fail me. You’re so right though, no matter how hard I try I always inevitably buy myself a tea at the airport. They know they can get us!!

  3. A great post. I was reminded of my trip to London last year when I completely forgot about a bottle of Digene (antacid) and let it lie in my handbag. It was unopened (had never used it) Didn’t check my handbag had not slept for 2 days and was dead sleepy. The lady at the security at Heathrow told me either to drink it whole or chuck it. I just chucked it. But lesson learnt – never ever ignore your handbag

    And to my aunt my handbag looks like a pandoras box (though except the incident mentioned above never had issue)

    I generally pack days before for an international trip and a day before domestic travel.

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