The downside to this is that it takes a long time to go through security. In order to keep them from stopping me, I have to pack the items in clear plastic bags so that I can grab a group of them easily to put in the multiple trays for the x-ray machine. It takes me five trays and about five minutes do this little dance, and when everything's gone through, it takes another five minutes to put my shoes on and repack everything into the bag. The clear plastic bags made it easier this time but it's still not quick.
Using plastic ziplock bags was an idea I saw on a travel site, and one that turns out to be a rather brilliant "lifehack." We packed our clothing in 2 1/2 gallon bags, which means that if they really want to do a number on our checked baggage at Customs, it will be easy to lift out 10 bags of clothing and put them back, rather than tossing everything out of the suitcase in a mad jumble and then trying to reassemble it freehand at a table in the airport.
The ride to the airport is pleasant. We've hired a driving service so that we can leave our cars at home. It turned out to be cheaper than paying to keep our cars in long-term storage at the airport. One other advantage is that when we return, we will not have to drive home after a 10 hour flight. I did manage to refrain from texting everyone blow-by-blow updates of the trip to the airport; a silly and twitchy impulse driven mostly by nerves. However, things like "it's 10 minutes till the car comes and I'm checking my mail for the 200th time" begin to look annoyingly spammy. So I texted that I was headed to the airport and promised myself that I'd Shut Up until after the plane landed.
So what would you take along on a trip? For me, the first two items are "books" and "electronics." Luckily, in this age and day, it's easy to bring along a whole library of books plus music on a single kindle or Android tablet. I have more than enough to read on the flight, but my plan is to take a sleeping pill and a strong analgesic and sleep for most of it.