Packing is of crucial importance to the overall success of your trip. Your trip can turn into a mess if you forget even just one essential item. On the other hand, if you bring too many, you will be carrying a heavy luggage or worse, you might even end up paying exorbitant airline excess baggage fees.
The key to packing is to strike that perfect balance. Always pack light and just bring what you need.
Here are some packing strategies that every traveller should know:
1. Make a Packing List.
If you are worried that you might forget something important like your passport and other travel documents, it is a good idea to make a packing list long before your intended travel. A packing list is a sure way to avoid forgetting essential items. In addition, you will also have enough time to consider what are the things that you need to bring on your travel.
2. Know your Limits.
Before you start packing, it is wise to do some research first on the airline baggage rules. Each airlines has different rules so it is better to check the specific airline that you are going to take. Normally, the allowable luggage varies depending on your fare class, the destination and the type of aircraft that will be used. Don’t expect a light commuter plane to accommodate a huge carry-on luggage as that of a jumbo jet plane. Thus, it is wise to know the size and weight limits of allowable luggages. Knowing the regulation and fees can help you pack smarter.
If you are travelling outside the country, check the customs and immigration policies for visitors of the country that you intend to visit. Aside from the obvious contraband items, certain goods such as cheese, fruits, plants, pork rind (chicharon), fermented fish or shrimp (bagoong) and other animal products are prohibited in some countries. If you bring them with you, they will be confiscated.
Furthermore, travellers who violated custom rules can de detained, fined or worst, can even be sent to prison. To avoid all these things from happening, make sure you know all the things that you can and cannot bring.
3. Use the Correct Luggage.
Now that you know the allowable baggage size restrictions and weight limits, the next thing to consider is to use the best travel luggage for your needs. For example, if you are going to a place with a difficult terrain, it might not be a good idea to bring a travel luggage with wheels. If you have back issues, a backpack is out of the question. If you are a business traveller, you might want a bag with an easily accessible laptop compartment.
Pick the right size of luggage to avoid over packing or packing too little.
With so many kinds of luggages in the market today, there is always a perfect luggage for every type of trip. It is important to identify what you need and use the correct luggage that will suit your requirements.
4. Plan your Travel Wardrobe.
In this age of social media, nine out of ten travellers will definitely post their travel photos online. There is no problem if it is just a short weekend getaway. The challenge takes place if it is a long trip. The last thing that you want is to make people think that you have not brought a change of clothes. How will you bring the minimum amount of clothing and yet create numerous outfit combinations?
The key to long travel is to bring a week’s worth of clothing. By choosing the correct fabric, colour and cut, you will be able to create multiple fashionable ensembles and maximise the use of each item.
Fabric – The ideal fabric for travellers are nylon and polyester. These synthetics are not only light, they also dry fast. You can wash them at night and they will be dry in the morning. They are also soft, breathable and wrinkle resistant. For cold weathers, it is wise to invest in a cashmere. This luxury fabric is light and soft. Although thin, it will keep you warm. If it gets wrinkled, all you have to do is just hang it.
Colour – Layering is the simplest solution to dressing in any kind of weather. Packing multiple thin items takes up less space than bulky items. To do layering, you need to choose colours that complement one another. The best way to do this is make your color palette as simple as possible by sticking to basic colours. Bring pieces such as tops, blouses, shirts, polos and pants. Refrain from bringing complete outfits. Add colours and prints through scarfs and other accessories.
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Cut – To be able to mix and match items, like the colours, the cut should also complement one another. The key is to bring clothes with the right fit and try out the different combinations before packing.
5. Roll your Clothes.
When packing, don’t fold your clothes, instead roll them. There are many reasons why you should roll instead of fold. For one, rolling makes the clothes easier to stack. You can place them in tiny sections of your luggage. It also compresses the clothing saving you more space for other items. One benefit also is that it prevents wrinkling of clothes and cuts down on creases.
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6. Use Packing Cubes.
You can organise your travel belongings by using packing cubes. Packing cubes are small containers usually made of fabric that come in different sizes. They are designed to compartmentalise and separate items inside your bag. They will keep your stuff organised. It makes packing and unpacking easier. You can get items quickly without the need of rummaging and dumping out all the stuff inside the luggage while searching for something.
7. Bring Transparent Resealable Bags.
If there is one item that will come in very handy in your travel, regardless of what your purpose is, it has got to be the ziplock bag. They are light, cheap, transparent and has so many uses.
You can use it to prevent your liquids from spilling. It can be use to protect your electronics such as cameras, cellphones and charges from the rain. You can also stack all your vitamins and medications in one plastic instead of bringing several bottle containers. You can use it to wrap your used intimates or underwear. It works great for wet clothes too. It can serve as an inspection bag for all your liquids at your carry on luggage at the airport. Bagging liquid makeups or lotions in it will prevent your clothes from staining. You can also use it to put your snacks or takeaway food. The list of uses and benefits could go on and on.
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Just make sure to bring them in different sizes. There is no need to bring the whole box, after all, they can be washed and reused over and over again.
8. Pack your Travel Essentials in your Carry On Bag.
I’ve seen people pack just one kind of item in their carry on bag. For instance, they pack all their shoes or all their underwear and nothing else. That is just so wrong. If you are a seasoned traveller, chances are, you have experienced having your checked-in luggage delayed or even lost. Whether we like it or not, these things do happen especially if you are taking connecting flights. That is why, a carry on bag is supposed to be used for packing travel essentials.
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Travel essentials pertain to the basics such as a change of clothes together with a set of underwear and socks, your toiletries, medications, valuables, travel documents, cellphone charger and a jacket if you are going to a cold place. Of course, it should also include your passport with a validity of more than 6 months beyond your date of travel, your wallet, some cash and credit cards.
Nonetheless, travel essentials may differ from one person to another. The best guide is to just simply ask yourself, “what are the things that you need in order to survive in a foreign country just in case your luggage will not arrive?”. Your answers are your travel essentials.
9. Bring a Health Kit.
A health kit is essential in any travel regardless of your destination. First aid supplies and medications may not always be available. If you have pre-existing conditions, make sure to bring enough medications on the entire duration of your trip. Bring a little extra just in case your departure date gets delayed.
A good health kit should include items such as adhesive bandages, antiseptic, hand sanitizer and thermometer. It should also include medications for allergy, fever and pain, diarrhea, cold and flu, stomach pain, bug bites and anti-motion sickness. Other items can also be included like sunscreen, aloe gel for sunburns, insect repellant and oral hydration salts.
10. Bring a Portable Luggage Scale.
To avoid paying the excess luggage fees, it is advisable to bring a portable luggage scale especially if you intend to shop in your travel destination. They are small and lightweight and will be very useful, more so if you are not sure about the weight of your luggage.
11. Carry a Foldable Travel Bag.
No matter how many times you kid yourself that you are not going to buy anything while abroad, you will inevitably buy something whether they are personal items, souvenirs or gifts for relatives and friends back home. A good practice is to always bring a foldable travel bag with you.
A foldable travel bag will come in handy if your luggage has reached its weight limit or if you need that extra space for your purchases. Standard allowance for airlines is for one carry on bag and one personal item per passenger. All you need to do is to put your purse or your personal item inside the foldable bag or your carry on. You will have no problem bringing those two bags on board as long as there are no prohibited items inside.