Anne McAlpin

World adventurer, Anne McAlpin, has been featured on Oprah, The View, CNN and the Today Show. She has flown more than 2 million miles, traveled in over 73 countries and has cruised through the Panama Canal 98 times. Anne's new edition of her book & dvd: Pack It Up, Travel Smart, Pack Light! is available at AAA stores. To learn more about Anne and her upcoming appearance schedule and to get her book and DVD visit her website, To see our review of Anne's book, Pack It Up, Travel Smart, Pack Light! visit the Armchair Adventurer.

1. What does adventure mean to you?

Any new experience. I think you can find adventure in every- day life if you’re open to it. I tend to look for it.

2. What events in your childhood led you to being such an adventurous woman?
A biking trip through Europe at age 16 was my first real travel adventure. We were entirely on our own all day, and met up at night at our B&B. It still is my favorite travel experience to date. Finding our way in 5 countries, where few encounters were in English, made it my first 2 month adventure. It also made me realize I needed to figure out how to make a living while traveling I loved it so much.

3. What inspires you to travel? What is the personal reward?

I love meeting new people and experiencing new cultures.

4. How did you become a Packing and Travel Expert?

Through years of traveling for fun & business. I came from a travel family: My father was a sea captain and my mother a world traveler so they both taught me the secrets of efficient packing. Then, while working on board cruise ships, I was lucky enough to travel the world and saw how much the guests packed that they didn’t need (and everything they bought on their cruise) and I designed a new event to add to the entertainment program: How to Get It All Home! From there came the book/dvd, Oprah appearance, and a new career was born.

5. Why is packing so important?

Because it can make or break your trip. Friendships (and marriages) have dissolved over someone bringing too much luggage. It literally weighs you down. And less choices of clothing means you can focus more on the experience, not deciding what to wear.

6. What is your lead time in packing for a trip?

Packing doesn’t really take much time, it’s the deciding what to take that takes so much time.

7. Are you still learning things about packing effectively?

Almost at every event where I’m presenting I learn something new. Travelers are some of the most ingenious people I know.

8. Why do so many women over pack?

I think it’s for security. We’re worried about what to wear and not sure what everyone else will be wearing. Women also have more accessories than men. Layering is all you need to know: Take things off when you’re hot, put them back on where you’re cold. You don’t need five sweaters.

9. With new luggage restrictions (and strict weight restrictions) packing efficiently is more important than ever. What is the single most important piece of advice you give your audiences?

Less stuff, less stress. Travel with just a 20” carry-on bag, under 18 pounds total. (which I’ve done the last two trips to Italy and then Greece & Turkey, and I didn’t need anything else- it was liberating to travel so lightly).

10. How has travel changed over the last few decades?

It’s easier to pack light since life is more casual these days.

11. What is your favorite place to travel again and again?


12. What is your craziest travel/adventure story?

One of my favorite trips ever: Trekking in Nepal. However, the adventure part of the trip involved leeches - need I say more?

13. What destination is on your MUST List (bucket List)?


14. What single item do you always pack in your luggage?

Quick trying Travel Towel that I use multiple ways: As a blanket on the plane, as a sarong, as a beach towel, etc.

15. What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?

My mother was Canadian and she was the original packing genius: She taught me if you pack your bag the night before and let things settle, you can always fit/pack in one more thing in the morning!

Almost all my best packing tips came from my mother.

And I live by her motto: No news is good news!

16. What is your adventure (life) motto?

If you want to get away from it all, don’t take it all with you. Anne McAlpin