Top 10 Serious Travel Packing Tips & Tricks
Some people pack by the "list" theory, some people just casually throw all and sundry in. Whilst others agonize for weeks prior to a trip as to what they may want, and in the process hog a spare bed with clothes laid out all over it.
When packing for a trip there is always the big question. What is the trip for? Is it business, pleasure (running away with an illicit lover), family annual trip (with the appendage of rug rats in tow plus a grumpy partner), or carefree globe trotting on a budget? Are you travelling by yourself, with a partner or friend, or in a group? The question of accommodation will nudge the packing in one direction or another. Is it five star, bed & breakfast, middle of the range, or possibly even camping in a tent on a remote hilltop of a third world country. Consider carefully the climate of your destination; are you going to a tropical island, hiking in the mountains, or walking in a smog filled city. All of these dynamics alter what we should be ferreting away in that small confined space of a travel bag which will become our life whilst jetting around.
General Tips - but listed for those who lack a bit of common sense
1. Think Before You Pack
Be clear with yourself on these four denominators:
Where are you going?
What is the climate?
What is the culture?
Flying solo or not?
2. Take Out What You Don't Need
Pack what you think you need and then take it out and halve it.
The mantra here is reduce, reduce and then reduce some more.
If you are going with a partner or friend, buddy up in relation to what you are packing, rather than double up.
3. Pack A Couple Of Days Ahead
This is so you can change your mind, especially if you are female.
It is not the chance to put back what you took out!
4. Hair & Body Products In A Bag
Store liquids in tiny containers, ok it may be a bit more expensive, but it does save room and weight. Ensure you escape the "clothing goo syndrome", and check that the lids are tightly screwed on. Better yet, don't take any products and buy what you need once you are at your destination. They do sell toothpaste in third world countries, albeit of a herbal variety!
5. Bag Your Shoes
Think holidays = bare feet or flip-flops.
Unless you are hiking, it's the middle of winter or it is a business/city trip, think "one on and one off". And, I don't mean one shoe (unless you are really a bit on the slow side); I am saying one pair of shoes on and one pair off. If you really are going to meet the Queen whilst on vacation, then by all means pack those Monolo Blahniks.
6. Organise Your Suitcase
Roll your clothes; do not lay them out in your bag.
How many can you wear in say three days? That is how many you need. Launder your clothes yourself in the shower with the old method of foot stamping, or avail yourself of the hotel's laundry service.
Layer up and double up, using the smell test. But, ensure that your deodorant is a good one and that it actually works on you when doubling up on the wear. And please, I am not a believer in doing this with your undies, just hand wash them each night. Or, don't wear them to begin with.
Forget the clothes of colors, stripes and spots; it is such a bitch to match patterned clothes. Go only neutral tones that mix easily.
Do everything by halves, remember cull, cull, and cull some more.
7. DO Pack
Some plastic bags or dry bags especially in your hand luggage. They are handy for wet swimmers from that last minute dip, or heaven forbid if you have an "accident" as a consequence of the too spicy and rich, or food bug variety, that your rumbling stomach could not contain. Just make sure you rinse the offending undies out before you put them in the bag.
Keep your important things with you...cash, credit cards, passport, travel documents.
9. Carry It - Don't Lug It
Use back-saving luggage and be kind to your posture
Keep weight to a minimum
Go as bright as you dare in your luggage color choice and be the envy of everyone trying to determine which is their bag from the carousel of muted colored bags.
10. Finished Packing?
Always weigh your bag; bathroom scales are excellent for this.
... for those serious trips - yes, business ones which may require a bit of decorum and are sometimes a question of speed traveling.
A. Never check your bag at the airport: Roll it with you, stow it in the overhead locker, then breeze through customs first.
B. Splurge on laundry: Surely you have a travel allowance, forgo that last drink and get your socks, undies and shirts laundered by the hotel.
PS Backpack Globe Wandering Advice
1. Pack some gaffer/masking tape - great for running repairs to bag straps, even the soles of shoes, if in dire straights.
2. Take a lock - one for the zipper on your bag and one for the door of your accommodation if it is a bit dodgy.
3. Get a bag that is the right size for the length of your body.
4. Make sure that the bag has a waterproof cover.
5. Above all when buying a backpack, it is not the time to be a cheapskate. Think of support for your back and of the ease of carrying. Buy the best one that you can afford.
The last crumb of advice: If you can't afford to take out travel insurance, then you should not be travelling.