Weekend Trip - DutchPilotGirl

How a Pilot Packs For A Weekend Trip – Travel Tips!

Packing and unpacking my suitcase on a daily basis goes hand in hand with my life as an airline pilot. Most layovers take 2 or 3 days and can be compared with a weekend trip. In this blog post I will tell you how I pack for a weekend trip and provide you with some tips and tricks as well.

If you travel often, you probably realize it’s beneficial to reduce the overall weight of your luggage. You will face a lot less hassle if you do. For example, you won’t be charged with any last moment overweight fees during check-in. So how can you reduce the weight? Start with the suitcase itself since it’s the biggest factor when traveling light and efficient is your goal.

So which suitcase should you go for? There are a couple of things to take into consideration. I usually make sure all my items fit in one cabin size suitcase. That way, I make sure my uniform and personal items arrive at the same destination as I do. So go for a suitcase that’s big, but not too big to carry on board. Usually the airlines use the following size for their economy class allowed luggage: 55 x 40 x 23 cm / 21,7 x 15,8 x 9,1 inch. I am using the Baggallini Getaway Travel System!


DutchPilotGirl - Pilot


When you fly with low cost airlines it is very likely that the airport ground staff counts the trolleys. When the airplane has been fully booked, a maximum amount of trolleys is allowed on board. Once this cap has been reached, the remaining trolleys have to be loaded in the hold. In order to reduce the chances of your luggage ending up in the hold, you either have to book priority/speedy boarding, carry a backpack/bag or use a 2 wheel under seat carry-on. Still required to store your hand luggage in the hold? Take out your valuables, any device containing a battery and don’t forget your keys and passport.

Have you ever heard of packing cubes? I learned about those a couple of years ago and they are a true life saver. Packing my suitcase became so much easier and a lot less time consuming. Packing cubes come in loads of different shapes and sizes. They enable you to keep everything neat and organized while at the same time using the least amount of space possible. I am currently using these. In case you don’t yet own a couple of packing cubes, try rolling up your clothes instead of stacking them in order to save some space.


Weekend Trip - DutchPilotGirl


If I have to operate a flight myself followed by a layover, I wear my uniform and easily store all other required items in my carry-on. Whenever I am proceeding somewhere as a passenger with another airline, I make sure I wear multiple layers of clothing. That way I can easily take everything along.

So why not just check in a suitcase instead? The thing is, my suitcase got lost once already and if you travel frequently it becomes so much easier when you don’t need to wait for your luggage to arrive at the baggage belt after each flight. That is why I try to fit everything in just one cabin size suitcase.

Consider leaving items at home which can be bought easily or which are more of a luxury. Face masks, lotions, high heels in different colors and accessories can take up a lot of space and in my opinion are items you can easily live without for a couple of days. Forget about the non essentials 😉

So by now you are probably wondering which items I always carry with me, no matter where I am going. Well these are the things I consider mandatory and they always fit in my awesome carry-on:

  • Laptop
  • Chargers
  • Camera
  • A jacket
  • Adjustable bag
  • Toiletries
  • 1 pair uniform shoes
  • 1 pair regular shoes
  • Flipflops
  • Uniform
  • 2 Jeans
  • 1 sweater
  • 2 tops
  • 1 t-shirt
  • 4 pairs of underwear
  • 4 socks
  • Swimwear
  • Powerbank


  • Storing your socks in your shoes works as well! Make sure your external battery pack is not fixed to your carry-on since that’s no longer allowed.


    Weekend Trip


    So how do you pack your suitcase for a weekend trip? Is there anything you think I should add to this list? Want to know more about my favorite travel destinations? Check out these blog posts! More into aviation related articles? I’ve got you covered! Check out my eBook about how to become an airline pilot if you need something to read while traveling 🙂 That’s all for now, stay tuned for more videos, pictures and blog posts! All the best, Michelle

    2 thoughts on “How a Pilot Packs For A Weekend Trip – Travel Tips!

    1. I fly so often I have 2 ” go bags” 1 for the current trip and the 2nd bag back home waiting for the next trip.

      When it comes to clothing I pack them folded then rolled up, saves space. Toiletries go in a shaving bag. Also a hard slim hanging case for my Suits. Sneakers, Dress Shoes go in there.

      My problem is the electronics. Laptop, IPAD, Portable Printer, Drone, Camera, and all the chargers & extra batteries.

      When I get home, I wash everything and repack it and that becomes the 2nd bag. I take the bag left behind on the previous trip.

      Thanks for sharing your tips. There’s a few I’m going to try.

      Safe takeoffs and landings

      Take care
      Glenn

    Leave a comment, I appreciate it and will reply as soon as possible:)