As a flight purser for Finnair, Irina Ramsay’s role is to oversee the flight attendants and ensure passengers are safe and comfortable. And having been with Finland’s flag carrier for 27 years, she knows a thing or two about packing a suitcase.
According to Ramsay, it all boils down to careful planning. “Most of us can manage with fewer things on our travels than we think. Instead of carrying a book, download it onto your iPad,” she says.
When it comes to medicine, for example, Ramsay advises to always store them in your carry-on baggage, never in your suitcase, along with spare clothes in case your travel outfit gets dirty or your checked luggage gets lost or is delayed.
Here, she offers more tips on how to pack like an air travel insider, from choosing shoes for a trip to taking advantage of hotel amenities.
“I always try to minimize the amount of clothes and other necessities on my trips. I try to pack clothes that can be coordinated instead of taking a new outfit to wear every day. Carrying a lot of cosmetics also fills up a suitcase quickly and they also weigh a lot, so I only take what I really need and use the hotel’s amenities, such as shampoos and body lotion, instead.”
“It’s always a challenge when choosing shoes for a trip because they tend to weigh quite a lot. I only usually take three pairs: shoes for walking, my trainers for working out, and a pair of pretty shoes, like sandals. Shoe bags are important so that the footwear does not soil the clothes in the suitcase. It’s also a good idea to put one shoe per shoe bag as this makes packing easier.”
Best suitcase for traveling light
“Naturally, a small one! The less space you have, the less you will be able to pack. If I go away for one or two nights, I can fit everything I need in a cabin bag on wheels.”
For clothes without wrinkles
“I always iron my clothes beforehand and make sure they are not moist when I pack them. I also try to choose materials that are as wrinkle-free as possible. Folding the clothes neatly helps as well. When I arrive in the hotel, I always unpack immediately and hang up my clothes on a hanger in order to get the creases out. As most hotels have an iron and ironing board, I use them as needed.”
Traveling with small children
“I recommend that parents use a backpack as this leaves their hands free. It’s important to have spare clothes in the carry-on baggage both for the children and the parents. I have witnessed more than once a child vomiting over himself or herself and the parents, too. It’s also a good idea to have books, toys, pens and coloring books and give them one by one to the child for entertainment. Also pack some of the child’s favorite snacks or biscuits so they have something to eat in case they get hungry. Parents with babies should bring their own feeding bottles and formula as airlines do not have these onboard.”