Do you have a big trip coming up?
Are you excited?
The prospect of travel excites some, but in contrast, it haunts others. Change is a good thing. Stepping out of your comfort zone every once in a while to explore somewhere new is a good thing.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. – Neale Donald Walsch
So why does traveling freak some people out? The answer is packing.
Whether it is an impromptu weekend getaway or a month-long trip, packing for a trip can be quite exhausting. The sheer anxiety of making sure that you pack everything you need can take quite a toll on your pre-travel excitement.
Travel is all about keeping it light and breezy. You have limited choices, so you have to be wise with your picks. It is quicker, easier, and more convenient; what is there to complain about?
We have compiled a comprehensive list of travel tips that will help you immensely on your next trip. Whether you are a frequent traveler or a newbie about to embark on your first solo trip, this guide will help you learn how to pack smarter without the stress.
So, are you ready to head to your next destination? Let us get started.
1. Make a list
Always start things off by listing the things you need. Start with the basics like clothes and other essential items. Then, move on to additional accessories and belongings.
Understand your destination and decide what you wish to bring along, depending on the nature of your trip and the weather there. Plan your outfits and start settings things aside one by one.
Make your list at least two weeks before your departure. Do not do this last minute because it will only confuse you and make matters worse.
Packing may seem like an easy task, but if you are one to stay organized, you need to get this done earlier.
2. Roll your clothes
When it comes to packing your clothes, the best way to do so is by rolling them. The rolling method not only saves you a lot of luggage space, but it also prevents creasing on your clothes. If you are going to be carrying your maroon leather jacket for your trip, you do not want it to the crease.
Although, we do suggest you opt for travel-friendly fabrics such as knit and stretchable fabrics because they do not wrinkle much, to begin with.
Our advice would be to pack your clothes first. Roll them and place them at the bottom of your suitcase to create a uniform and sturdy base. Once a solid base has been set, you can pack other belongings on top of them, such as your shoes and accessories.
3. Pack in order
Packing has to be organized; otherwise, you will only end up emptying the content of your suitcase on the floor as soon as you land searching for something like a pair of socks.
Packing and unpacking your luggage repeatedly is a taxing endeavor. Instead of engaging in such fruitless labor, plan your outfits and pack them accordingly. Save yourself the hassle.
To keep things neat and organized, we suggest you pack your clothes in order. If you have decided on an outfit that you will wear soon after landing, pack it on top by placing it in your luggage at the very end. That way, you will not have to waste time scavenging through your suitcase after arrival.
A bonus: if you place your outfit on top, it is less likely to wrinkle.
4. Place heavy items at the edges
Luggage is very prone to damage. We have all been through the trauma of discovering damaged goods on arrival.
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) issued its airline travel report for 2018, which noted an average of 3.08 mishandled baggage reports per 1000 passengers.
These figures reveal a significant improvement since previous years when the average number soared to 8 reports per 1000 passengers.
While you cannot control how your luggage is handled while you are traveling, what you can do is be a little more careful. Place heavier items like books, shoes, and other accessories, near the edges of your suitcase to provide an added layer of cushioning.
This will help with two things. One, it will ensure that your bag stands upright and stable. Two, it will prevent and items in your luggage from being squished because the areas that are most prone to impact damage are the edges.
Protect your suitcase’s edges, and your luggage will instantly be a lot safer.
5. Use packing cubes
Packing cubes are a gift sent from heaven and above. If you like to keep things organized, packing cubes are your best friends.
These containers keep your luggage neat and organized. They stack together easily, which helps maximize packing space. Marketing claims that packing cubes can save you anywhere between 33 to 39% more space. Thin and lightweight, they are the ultimate solution to messy and mismanaged luggage.
6. Pack the right amount
It is normal to get a little overwhelmed when you are packing for a trip. Often we tend to go overboard with our luggage and pack everything in our closets. Overpacking is the worst. It pushes you to exceed your weight limit and leaves you with no space for anything else.
Forget souvenirs and shopping because if you overpack, you either buy more luggage to carry the extra items or you buy nothing at all.
According to the results of a study by Trunk Club, 62% of Americans overpack their luggage.
In contrast, if you wish to keep space for new things, think again because too much space is also bad news. The extra room in your luggage can allow items in your luggage to move around and break.
The art of packing is all about striking the perfect balance between carrying too much stuff to carrying minimal stuff.
If you are planning to travel light, we suggest filling the empty spaces with something that would help cushion everything else, like dry cleaning bags.
7. Carry a mini iron and laundry bags
A mini iron is a must-have item because you can prevent wrinkles and creases, but you cannot eliminate them. There is no guarantee whether you will find one at your place of stay, so it is best to keep one instead.
Laundry bags are another essential item you should pack with you. Dirty laundry is unavoidable.
Often we do not get the time to wash our clothes while traveling. Instead of packing it with everything else, keep your dirty clothes in the laundry bags.
Make sure to separate the darks from the lights. Not only will this save you a lot of trouble with assorting them when you land, but it will also keep them away from your clean clothes.
8. Make a separate bag for liquids
The last thing you need in your life is a spilled bottle of liquid all over your luggage. If you are carrying any liquids like skincare, be sure to keep them in a separate clear bag.
Be sure to pack some wet wipes, a face wash, a moisturizer, a hand sanitizer, toothpaste, and a travel-size bottle of shampoo with you.
9. Keep your meds in your purse
If you carry essential medication with you, you should keep them in your wallet during traveling.
Not only does this make the checking process easier, but it also makes sure that you have them on you at all times.
There is no way you can otherwise be able to open your luggage in the middle of your flight to grab your meds. The best solution is to keep them with you the whole time.
10. Carry a scarf
Planes are cold regardless of the season. It is prudent to carry a scarf or a warm knit wrap in your bag, especially for long flights, because they will make your journey much more comfortable.
11. Pack a reusable water bottle
A reusable water bottle is an excellent way to cut down on plastic waste. Traveling can be quite exhausting, and to make sure that you stay hydrated, you must drink lots of water.
Now, if you are going to be drinking a lot of water, you will automatically be using many bottles. Switch from the disposable kind to the non-disposable one and get yourself a reusable water bottle. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you will also be saving a lot of money on your trip.
12. Downsize everything
The key here is to keep things as light as possible. Downsizing is always interpreted in the wrong context. Well, not in this case.
To travel light, you must downsize everything. If you are carrying toiletries, bring travel-size containers. If you are an avid reader, do not carry books. Instead, keep your Kindle or your tablet.
Think of all the things you can cut down on and cut them down. There is no need to keep options. If you are going to need two pairs of shoes, only pack two pairs. There is no need to bring the additional three pairs for “options.”
Susan Heller very aptly noted,
When preparing to travel, lay out all of your clothes and all of your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.
– Parting Thoughts
Packing for a trip may seem overwhelming; however, all you need to keep yourself together is a little bit of time and a little bit of organization.
Start planning ahead of time. The worst thing you can do to yourself is to leave everything for the last minute. Use these packing tips on your next trip to make your journey a smooth sailing one. Cut the stress out of your life because travel is supposed to be relaxing. Do not turn it into your worst nightmare.
In the timeless words of Anthony Bourdain,
Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts; it even breaks your heart. But that’s OK. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.