March 21, 2011

My Packing Tips & Tricks

If there is one thing I've gotten really good at since flying around so much, it's scamming the airline baggage system. 

I only have experience flying with JetBlue, Southwest, Lufthansa and Swiss (so I can't speak for all airlines and I apologize in advance if you get stopped at the airport) - but not one of these airlines has ever weighed or measured my 'carry on' bags. 

(Now everyone go knock on a piece of wood before we depart for the airport tomorrow morning!) 

Our four suitcases and hockey bag are packed to the 50 pound max with clothes, shoes, and all the junk one can't carry into the aircraft, but I easily take on an extra 75 pounds of 'stuff' with me in my carry on bags. How? You might be asking yourself ... let me explain.

This may not be the prettiest  'purse' in the airport
but I could honestly care less - look at how wide it is!
I have a 13x9 glass baking dish, a large Yankee Candle, all of my makeup, cell phones, camera, wallet, and 9 books packed in here right now.
This is the appropriate dimensions for a carry on bag, but the little sucker weighs in at 48 pounds. I have more books, small but heavy items, a turkey roasting pan (this was the first time I cooked a turkey, I'm saving the thing ;) ), and three of the containers below filled with my Etsy & personal jewelry.
Yes, I am genius. (insert:: round of applause) I found these containers at WalMart in the fishing department. It's kind of ghetto, but these are fantastic for keeping my jewelry safe and separated during flight and they also served as makeshift jewelry boxes this year.
Besides cleaning, I have also spent a good amount of time this week searching all over Google to find the appropriate documentation to bring Brutus back home. Cross your fingers that I have the right information - I kept saying to myself "Why the hell isn't there one page with all of this information and documentation laid out for me?" and decided I would save a family the aggravation when searching for "traveling with a dog to Germany from the US", or "traveling with a dog to the US from Germany" by laying out the steps that we had to take to bring Brutus here...and hopefully home!* 

I honestly have found dickall about flying back to the US from Germany. We had to get three different papers filled out to come to Germany, so it's hard to believe that "The CDC does not require general certificates of health for pets for entry into the United States. However, health certificates may be required for entry into some states, or may be required by airlines for pets. You should check with officials in your state of destination and with your airline prior to your travel date." I did call and they told me to look on their website which just led me to a pissed off process. I hope that I did this right otherwise ya'll are gonna have to team together and pool funds to bail me out of jail for assaulting someone at customs for detaining poor Bruts.

To travel with a dog from the US to Germany you will need:
  • A Bilingual Vet Certificate filled out by a Federally Accredited Vet. The form can be printed here
  • A 15 digit (standard: ISO 11784 or ISO 11785) microchip
  • Proof of Rabies Vaccination
  • Proof of your dog being on a tick and echinococcus (deworming) treatment program
  • A Carbon 7001 form filled out by a Federally Accredited Vet. The vet will have this form, it cannot be printed online.
  • All of this information (Bilingual Certificate, Proof of Microchip, Proof of Rabies Vaccination, Proof of tick and deworking program, and 7001 form) must be taken to a USDA Office for an official endorsement stamp. They will send the appropriate carbon form to the German Embassy, keep a form, and give you the remainder. 
  • MAKE COPIES OF ALL FORMS If for some reason the information attached to the crate goes missing mid-flight you are basically screwed unless you have a copy of all papers on hand.
  • Put all forms in a see-through plastic folder duck taped to the dogs crate.

To travel with a dog from Germany to the US you will need:

*Please note that this is based on our personal experience flying to and from Germany and Massachusetts. Rules and regulations may be different depending on your state in the United States as well as your country in Europe or abroad.

Okay friends, our internet is being shut off today so the next time I post it'll be from the home-front! I want to thank you all for your kind words and support during my catastrophic meltdowns this year. It's funny to look back on them and laugh now - this was a scary, frustrating, exciting, fun, amazing, and memorable ride and I'm glad great friends came along with us for the ride!  Massachusetts here we come!!!!!


  1. haha "it's kind of ghetto" no way! i think that's an amazing find. i never would have thought to look there!

    that's awesome that you're well versed in all things airport luggage. i bet that saves a lot of time and trouble.

    also, i had a best friend in high school who played hockey. he was really good and still plays now. not sure what team but i always thought it was a pretty awesome sport :)

  2. You might already know about this, but has EVERYTHING you need. I also had to do the German papers because we're flying in and out of Munich. Good luck and have a good flight home! It's my turn next Thursday!

  3. My comment just erased, blah!

    You may already know about this, but has EVERYTHING you need. You can buy the "pet passport" for like $8 and it's all the papers you need. I have to do German papers as well because we flew in and are flying out of Munich. Good luck and have a good flight!

  4. My comment just erased, blah!

    You may already know about this, but has EVERYTHING you need. You can buy the "pet passport" for like $8 and it's all the papers you need. I have to do German papers as well because we flew in and are flying out of Munich. Good luck and have a good flight!

  5. Mighty good thinking on all of these!! Good luck lugging that bad boy around....I mean that to TJ, cause I would totally be making Alex carry it all, haha. And hope everything goes smooth with Brutus! Have a safe one :)

  6. yayyy!!!! happy travels! :) I'm cracking up at your carryon bags.... Our biggest problem is SAS air.. which we have to take from Skelleftea to Stockholm.. they can be a PAIN IN MY ASS... and do weigh our carry on bags.. it's so freaking annoying. I have this lululemon carryon that i take that looks all fluffy and light from the outside that has worked wonders the past couple times, so i'm hoping it will again :) Chat w/ you when you're back safe and sound!! xoxo

  7. ugh, packing up your whole life is SO annoying, but it looks like you have your system down to a tee! Have a safe flight and enjoy reuniting with friends and family!


  8. Glad you get to come home. Sounds like you are really organized with everything. I hope it's a safe trip home!

  9. Oh boy... I will be thinking of ya'll and sending good vibes your way! Don't worry - if they try to detain poor Brutus - Mr. Fluent in Deutsch can smooth things over with them, right??? :D

    Have a safe trip!!!

  10. We broughtour pup here with us from Germany and all the vet at the airport wanted to see was the proof of the rabbies vaccination...that's all!
    Thanks for the links for taking her back!! Travel safe and "see" you over here!

  11. GOod luck on your travels, and I hope everything works out for Brutus! You are my blog of the week this week!!! Your button is on my blog all week! yay!

  12. Have a safe trip back home!!

  13. It's always so exciting to go back home after a long time away! Have a safe flight, hope everything with Brutus works out :)

  14. geez louise! seems complicated but youll be back in the states before you know it!! great idea w/the fishing box for jewelry!!!

  15. I haven't been on a plane in over 8 1/2 years so this was informative. No idea when I'm going to be on a plane next, but I'm sure it won't be to another country with my cats. But everything was still informative.

    Yes - you are a genius for how you're packing your jewelry and Etsy materials in those containers from Wal-Mart. But are you gonna be able to stick those big bags in the overhang?

  16. LOL..I would soooo be packing like you!!
    And I use a tackle box from the fishing dept to..for my scrapbooking is sooo perfect! I have a friend that makes jewelry--she uses those cases too!

  17. I WISH my 'carry on' could be like that ... instead it's full of books and toys and diapers and wipes and in-flight snacks. You are a genius! Safe travels - e-mail when you're up and running again! Lots of good thoughts to Brutus too!

  18. Welcome home! Great post...Jordy and I are SERIOUSLY looking into getting a pup this summer and we're super stressed about where we'll be next year and what we we'll need to get the little guy there. This most definitely helps!

  19. I've always had good luck with carryon bags too...never being weighed that is and they are stuffed! Good luck on getting Brutus back...I'm in the process of bringing my two cats to Ireland with me and it is incredible with all the paperwork and planning involved. Wish me luck all goes well next month!

  20. oh. my. gosh woman! check out those carry ons! i have flown alot (having a long distance relationship for 3.5 years) and i never quite nailed the carry on trick. i always wanted to go small... so i just did a purse and my laptop bag. but look at you! way to go!

  21. Very nice!

  22. You are a packing GOD! I know about traveling heavy as we move a lot too. With a kid the load is so heavy that I now I have to ship stuff! So, how did the move go? I was thinking of you and hoping all went well with Brutus!

  23. I love that you ended up ditching the pyrex. That made me laugh SO hard.

  24. NatandBen BreaultJuly 14, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    I HAVE to ask, where did you come by this gem of a bag?! I am on the hunt for a similar one and cannot find one anywhere!! lol


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