You may have two feelings after reading this article – 1) “This piece is an assault on my intelligence, I know how to pack a bag before travelling!” or 2) “Wow…that was considerably helpful”. I’m hoping that some of you will be saying ‘wow’ at the end of this, and although this piece might not be earth shattering, it may help you be to a bit more savvy when it comes to packing for that next getaway.
It’s 11 pm, you have to be at the airport in a couple of hours and you still have to go through the list of what to pack and what not to pack (I forgot to mention that you aren’t in the mood to pack – although your two week trip is sounding really good). Here are 12 packing tips to avoid those last minute packing troubles:
- Plan ahead – The biggest packing pitfall is bringing items that you won’t use (i.e. those ‘just in case’ items). Laying everything out on your bed can put your packing into perspective. From there you can see what you need and don’t need.
- Cut back on the shoes – “Aww man, but I was planning to wear my awesome pair of Nikes on Tuesday at…” I’m going to stop you there. Shoes can be the biggest space thieves when it comes to packing. One way to avoid this is to bring shoes that serve more than one purpose. If you need to get some running in but still want to feel comfortable when going out, then bring those Nike trainers.
- Make the most of your carry on – If you have a little extra space in your carry on then make the most of it.
- Limit your toiletries – If you have a hair-hair conditioner that you use after your hair conditioner it may be a good idea to leave it behind. Some hotels and lodges provide soap and shampoo for guests, and unless you are travelling deep into the rainforests of central Africa, there should be stores to buy some items.
- ‘Travel size’ items – I know you want to bring that 2.5 litre of hair-hair conditioner, but that’s going to take up quite a bit of space. There are a lot of toiletries that are ‘travel size’ now days and this could help you save on space.
- Assume anything that can leak, will leak – All those liquid items in your bag are conspiring against you – trust us on this. Sunscreen leaking all over your bag doesn’t make for a great holiday. Rather avoid the swearing under your breath and pack liquid items in a Ziploc or plastic bag.
- Conserve space and avoid wrinkles by rolling your clothes – I’ve never been in the navy, but apparently this is an old navy trick. Fold shirts, pants and skirts in half then roll them up tightly into a burrito.
- Carry essentials with you – Essentials could include medication, a change of clothes, cell-phone, contact lens solution and cash. While most of us expect our luggage to meet us at the other end, things happen and you don’t want to be left stranded with nothing but your travel pillow.
- Wear it on – Travelling to a cold climate means that you have to pack a bit more warm clothing and warm clothing is usually bulky. Try and wear what you can to save on space.
- Pack interchangeable pieces – If you have clothes that are interchangeable (i.e. neutral colours as opposed to bright colours, and clothes that can be worn with multiple outfits), then it’s a good idea to pack them. If you can lose the idea of ‘a different outfit for each day’ then you will save on a lot of space.
- Never check in any valuables – “Mam, sir, you don’t have any valuables in your luggage do you?” We’ve all been asked this. Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping that they arrive untouched, in your bag, on the carousel, keep all electronics, cash and personal documents with you.
- Space for shopping – If you are planning to bring back some items after a little bit of overseas shopping then make sure you have enough space in your luggage. You don’t want to upset the grandkids and have to leave their gifts at the airport.
Packing for a two week trip shouldn’t feel like packing for a round the world trip. The benefits of packing light and smart usually outweigh the negatives. If you follow some of the tips above, then packing won’t have to be troublesome, and you can look forward to your upcoming getaway.