Packing Light When Covering a Story

E-mail Maggie Lineback

Working for FOX News, we travel A LOT. In the past month, we’ve hit Houston, Laredo, New Orleans and Mexico — not to mention a personal trip I had to Tucson. It’s fair to say I now have packing down to a science. After standing in long lines for Memorial Day travel, it’s also fair to say, most of my fellow travelers do not. It seemed like everyone was carrying huge trunks and cases! Are they moving somewhere? And that’s just what they checked. It didn’t even include all the laptops and backpacks and shopping bags they toted on board.

America — you need help packing. I humbly submit my personal packing philosophy. For starters, I NEVER check bags. Ever. I’d rather mail a full size bottle of shampoo than check it. My family thinks I’m weird. So do my friends. But when I breeze past the lines prior to takeoff and bolt out of the airport past the throngs of poor dolts waiting for their bags, I am smug. Here’s another reason not to check — your bag will always make your flight and not the one going to Guatemala.

I have one bag I carry on board. It fits in the overhead but also under the seat. It carries my laptop, camera, three cell phones — as well as all my clothes and shoes. This last trip it also packed rain-boots, rain-jacket and bug spray. And travel checkers and nightlight.

Here’s how I pack it all in. With clothing, everything must go with everything else. I always pack for five days because no matter how quick a trip we think we’re going on, it always seems to be extended. For five days, I’ll pack four or five bottoms and five or six tops. All of them must work with each other. If I need a jacket or sweater, I usually wear the bulkiest, and maybe pack a second. All clothes are rolled — you’d be amazed how much space this creates.

What kills most people are shoes. They pack way too many. This trip, I took rainboots, sandals and flip flops. I usually wear the bulkiest pair of shoes, but in this case, I didn’t want to look like a dork sloshing around in my rainboots, so I packed them. Try stuffing your shoes! It’s a lot of wasted space otherwise. In the rainboots, I packed my rain jacket and rain paints. In other shoes, you can also stuff things like socks, etc.

Reading material is my kryptonite. I generally pack too many books. I am usually starting one, finishing another, and then I’ve been meaning to learn Spanish, so I’ll pack that book. Then when I get to the airport, I’ll hit the newsstand and impulse buy more. What I do when I’m good is just take a couple magazines. They don’t take up a lot of space and you can toss them or share them once you’re done reading.

Maggie Lineback is a Dallas bureau producer.