Pack-It-Up Expert Anne McAlpin to Present AAA Travel-Packing Seminars

Travel expert Anne McAlpin encourages anyone who plans to attend one of her regional Pack-It-Up seminars hosted by AAA Oregon to contribute to a luggage donation benefitting foster care, shelters and other needy organizations.

McAlpin is a travel expert who has been a featured guest on Oprah, CNN, The View, and HGTV. Her events draw crowds everywhere for her free hour-long seminars. This fall and winter, she asks attendees to her Pack-it-Up seminars to donate no-longer-used luggage to benefit foster care and local charities.

AAA has will be the point where travelers can easily drop off their lightly used luggage as a donation. “So many people have older, heavier large suitcases in their closets,” McAlpin said. “With the weight restrictions these days, it just doesn’t make sense to travel with a large bag.”

Nifty Travel Products and Budget Ideas

“Anne’s power-packed seminars include lots of ideas on how to travel sensibly and inexpensively,” says AAA Oregon/Idaho Travel Store Manager Colleen Coe. “She’s energetic and friendly, and everyone who attends a Pack-it-Up seminar learns something.”

Having recently returned from a trip to Tuscany, Anne says there are plenty of new products and good ideas that can make travel more enjoyable.

For instance, villas sound extravagant, but staying in one can be less expensive than a hotel room if you’re traveling with a group of friends, she says. Travelers can share cooking and shopping. They can also share a rental car with friends which can easily cut the price of gas and rental fees in half, not to mention the stress. Be sure to pick up an International Driving Permit (IDP) at AAA before you go, McAlpin advises.

Packing everything in a carry-on bag with an 18-pound limit was a challenge even for McAlpin, but she managed. “By using a 22″ rolling bag, I saved money on transportation in Florence and just walked to the hotel and train station.”

A few of Anne’s recent discoveries include:

  • GoToobs ($5-$9). No-leak plastic bottles, under 3 oz each, these are perfect for TSA carry-on regulations. Says Anne, “Since I could only take a quart-size bag of liquids in my carry-on, these were invaluable. I packed shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, makeup remover, moisturizer, toothpaste, hairspray, and more, enough for a 10-day trip, in my quart-size bag.”
  • Compression Socks ($8-$20). They provide gradual compression that promotes better circulation and helps prevent swelling. Compression socks offer superior comfort all the time, “especially on long shopping days.”
  • Convertible HandBag/Backpack ($20). In the city, keep your valuables convenient by wearing this multi-featured product cross-bodied with easy access in front. Then it converts to a backpack when you are away from the crowd or out hiking. “A perfect solution for hiking through the vineyards — and I had my hands free to take photos,” Anne said.
  • Travel Coin Purse/Wallet ($5-$7). Use it as the community “kitty.” Everyone in the group contributes evenly, using it for gas, group dinners, groceries, and gelato. Says Anne, “A simple item like this avoids keeping track of who owes whom what, and it also solved the problem of splitting checks in Italy, which is frowned upon.”

Learn how to pack the perfect bag, regardless whether you’re traveling light or you prefer to check a larger bag. Because most travelers prefer to check a bag these days, due to security restrictions, the seminars will focus on how to pack a 24″ suitcase. Travelers can also learn additional tips regarding essentials they should pack in a carry-on bag.

Here’s a schedule of McAlpin’s “Pack It Up” workshops:

AAA Oregon/Idaho provides more than 725,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services, and is an affiliate of AAA National, serving more than 51 million motorists in North America. For more information, go to