There are many things that need to be taken into consideration on what to pack and bring on a trip. No matter how long the trip will be – whether it be a weekend getaway to the beach, a two-week family vacation overseas, or a longer trip visiting different countries – knowing how to pack smartly will guarantee a smoother trip.
But first, it’s important to have the right bag to pack. A duffle may be all you need for a weekend trip. The more traditional suitcase will probably be best for a family holiday. A backpack may be a better option if you intend venturing off the beaten track. There is a myriad of choices available to suit every traveler’s different needs and budget.
If you need to buy a new bag, check out one of the online luggage retailers like Luggage Direct first because then you’ll have a good idea of sizes, weights, and prices for comparison shopping. These retailers provide all the specifications of the bags on their websites, so you’ll know the exact capacity and empty weight of each bag you are comparing.
Taking a bag with the largest capacity for the lowest possible empty weight is the first step in maximizing what you can take without falling foul of airline’s size and weight restrictions. The high-tech materials from which modern travel bags are made enable you to pack more than could be possible in years gone by.
Here are some tips on how you can pack easier and smarter:
Create a packing list
Every experienced traveler will tell you that preparing a packing list in advance is the most important thing you can do to make the packing process easier. You can either write it down or list the things you need on your mobile phone or tablet. If you start to prepare your first packing list a few weeks before you leave, you can add things to it as you think of them, and hopefully by the time you leave there won’t be anything you’ve forgotten.
If you do forget anything on your first trip that you can’t easily pick up at your destination, then add it to your packing list for the next trip. And if you find that there were things that you took and didn’t use, then take them off the packing list for the next trip. After two or three trips you will have a packing list that you can rely on for all your future trips.
If you travel for business as well as leisure, then you may need to prepare two different packing lists because the clothes that you will take, and some of the accessories, will be different. For a trip that might combine business with pleasure, you can then just pick and choose from both of the lists.
Roll your clothes
Rolling your clothes instead of folding them will keep them wrinkle free and will save a lot of space in your bag. This is a piece of advice that many travel writers give when talking about the best way to pack for a trip, but surprisingly not a lot of people follow it. That could because people don’t believe it, or maybe it’s because it takes a bit longer to roll clothes compared to folding them.
However, it really does work, If you don’t believe it, try packing your clothes into your bag by just folding them, then take them out and do it again after rolling each item. You’ll be surprised how much additional space there will be left over in your bag.
For some large items of clothing it may be difficult to roll them, but do it for as many of the smaller items as you can, and you’ll benefit from the space savings. The only exception to this suits packs which are designed to have suits and shirts laid flat.
Organize with packing cubes
You can try using packing cubes in a different color to divide your belongings. This will make it easier for you to locate where you placed the things that you brought when you open your luggage. In addition, packing cubes are easier to take out and put in your hotel dresser’s drawers. You will be unpacked quicker and you can get ready right away to enjoy the day.
The downside, of course, is that packing cubes cost money to buy, so will increase the outlay you make on your luggage. And they will very slightly add some weight to your bag, but not by much given the lightweight materials that are used in packing cubes.
But if convenience is important to you, and you don’t mind spending a little more, then packing cubes are the way to go. Most people who use them say they don’t regret making the investment.
Wrap liquids in plastic
It’s advisable to not to carry liquids in your check-in baggage if traveling by air because the pressure changes at altitude can cause even the most tightly secured containers to leak. It’s best to carry small sizes of cosmetics in your carry-on and buy larger sizes if you need them at your destination. Note that most airports in most parts of the world limit liquids and gels to 100ml in carry-ons.
However, if there are items larger than 100ml that you really must take, and you can’t buy at your destination, then wrap them in plastic bags and tape them securely, so if any liquid does leak out during the flight, your clothes and other possessions won’t get damaged.
Put socks in shoes
If you are carrying shoes, then roll up your socks and underwear and place them inside the shoes. That will result in better utilization of the space inside your bag. And if you don’t already have shoe bags in which to pack your shoes, buy some from a travel accessories shop. They are not expensive and will prevent the soles of your shoes from soiling your clothes.
If you are handy with a needle and thread, they can be easily made with a few pieces of fabric and a drawstring. Just google for shoe bag patterns and you’ll find plenty of ideas.