The challenge of packing for a holiday is one of the most stressful parts of the trip. Imagine it now. Your vacation is set, your trip is booked, and you leave for the airport soon. Everything is arranged except for one thing. You have to pack. As tempting as it is to pack for every imaginable scenario, here are a few important travel packing tips to consider that will assist in making packing a breeze. Frequent travelers often develop a well-honed routine to further enhance the ease of the ordeal.
Plan for the Best-Case Scenario
The best of the travel packing tips may just come from travel guru and author Rick Steves. Rather than pack everything you might need plus the kitchen sink, pack for the best-case scenario and bring extra money to buy yourself out of any serious jam. By packing smart you can turn each item into something that covers multiple uses. Rather than packing a heavy winter coat, for instance, plan on dressing in multiple layers, knowing that those layered items always can be used again in different ways. Embrace the mantra “When in doubt leave it out”. Remember, people all around the world use deodorant, shave, put on make-up, and wear clothes. By packing light, you also add to the adventure. Just consider how much more fun it is to run out of a toiletry somewhere out in the world and require a fascinating cultural trip in search of a replacement.
Utilize Packing Cubes & Compression Bags
Another of the pro travel packing tips for packing efficiently is the use of packing cubes. These individual zippered containers are perfect for compartmentalizing items. They come in a variety of sizes and most often are sold in sets. Not only do packing cubes decrease the size of items in your main bag, they are fantastic in their ability to keep you organized on the road. When you combine, for instance, all undergarments in one, shirts in one, pants or skirts in another, it is a simple matter of grabbing the intended bag to find what you are looking for.
As wonderful as packing cubes are, to even further decrease the room your clothes take up, consider compression bags. These plastic bags literally compress the air out of the bag, thus dramatically reducing the amount of volume needed. There are several types of compression bags, so it is important to select the kind that you can roll the air out of, rather than those requiring a vacuum type attachment.
Wash Along the Way
There you have it, the packing light dilemma solved. All joking aside, packing less is the most sure-fire way to avoid over packing. Crazy as it sounds, the rest of the world has, in fact, learned how to wash clothes. Many travelers embrace having their clothes sent out in, for instance, Mexico or Southeast Asia, where within a matter of a few hours your nasty garments come back smelling like a rose and perfectly pressed for the cost of a latte back home. By sending clothes out, travelers are not only helping the local economy, but also decreasing what you need to bring. In a pinch, rinsing out a few things in the sink and hanging to dry overnight can also increase your wardrobe.
You Don’t Need That
It’s one of the travel packing tips you might not want to hear, but probably need to. Truly, you don’t need that, or that. It can’t be said too often. Light packers are happy packers. Airlines ever increasing baggage fees aside, the joy of strolling out of the airport with your lightweight bag while others struggle with bulky, weighty monsters, can only feel good. Even if you are fortunate enough to be able to fit a private jet charter flight into your budget, why not do yourself a favor and consider simply leaving some things at home. Most hotel rooms offer hair dryers and toiletry products. Checking the projected weather ahead of time is always a good idea, but if there is an unexpected warm or cold front, simply look at it as an opportunity to purchase a travel memento in form of a cute t-shirt or scarf.
HOW You Pack is as Important as What You Pack
Word from the pros: roll your clothes. It is not a normal thing. Most people fold their clothes at home and, of course, this is how stores display their merchandise. However, one of the great travel packing tips is that rolling your clothes tightly can do much to eliminate wrinkles, but also creates a smaller footprint in your luggage. One great tip is to remember that you will pack as much as you can into whatever size bag you choose. So the idea is to go out and buy a bag 20% smaller than you would truly like to take. Pack it with everything you plan on taking on holiday. When satisfied, return that bag to the store and purchase the bag in the size you are truly planning on traveling with. Repack everything you had carefully chosen for the smaller bag. There you go! You have everything you need but with a lighter bag and with a bit of room to bring home souvenirs.
Eliminate Full-Size Toiletries
By now most potential travelers are well aware of the airlines restrictions on liquids brought onto the plane. Keep in mind that most hotel rooms offer up shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer and soap. For those items you must take with you, purchase travel size options, or head down to the local store to pick up some plain plastic containers in the appropriate size to fill up. These generally will easily last the traveler the course of a one or two week vacation. Leave those Costco size containers at home, and travel lightly with the carry on version.
Regardless of when or where you are traveling, the pros attest to the fact that you can pack the same for two weeks or two months. By carrying layering pieces that mix and match, considering a little laundry or hand washing along the way, and only taking what you truly need to get started, the days of packing angst are behind you.