If you have ever packed for a long trip you are likely to be familiar with the rather challenging balancing act of trying to keep your bag small and mobile while at the same time bringing everything that you need.
Effective packing not only requires that you bring as little as possible, it also requires some thought into just how you order your belongings to allow both ease of access and the most efficient use of space.
Therefore regardless of whether you are preparing for a two week sun holiday or a two month backpacking trip, keep the following tips in mind when deciding just what should go where.
Tips for Smarter Packing
Source – johnnyvulkan
Use/Make Separate Compartments – Dividing your belongings into separate compartments will save you a lot of time and this is of course especially the case should you have a number of stops planned? If you are traveling with a suitcase, the most straightforward way of doing so is to utilize home made cardboard dividers allowing you to easily divide up to space for different items. If you have a backpack on the other hand, your best bet is simple plastic bags. Remember that if you have a number of stops planned, having to constantly unpack everything just to find your socks will start to get to you after awhile.
Avoid Creases by Rolling Instead of Folding – While it is of course impossible to pack in such a way that none of your clothes get even remotely wrinkled, creases can be greatly reduced provided you pack your clothes in the correct manner. The method that I have found to be the most effective is to roll your clothes instead of folding them. Rolling your clothes simply involves laying them down on a flat surface and then rolling them into the cylindrical shape. If you insist on folding your clothes instead however, creases can still be reduced by folding multiple items of clothing together. For example instead of folding a single t-shirt, lay three t-shirts on top of each other and then fold them as normal. This allows each t-shirt to act as a sort of cushion to the others.
Don’t Bring the Wardrobe – One of the easiest ways to pack clothes that you will never use is to fail to correctly anticipate the weather conditions. The second easiest way to do this is to pack a coat or outfit “just in case”. The fact is that regardless what clothes you bring, you will not be perfectly prepared for every situation. And attempting to do so will not only hurt your back but also possibly your wallet in terms of excess baggage fees. Therefore, only ever pack what you will definitely wear! It is also worth noting that cold weather can just as easily be handled by wearing multiple summer layers as wearing a winter jacket.
Order is as Important as Content – Should you have a backpack, the order in which you pack things really should be paid attention to. By packing lighter items at the bottom with the heavier essentials at the top, you will have what feels like a lighter bag. This is down to the fact that backpacks generally rest against your lower back when walking. Items that should be excluded from this rule however are those which you will need frequent access to. Such items should be placed at the top as the depth of backpacks makes items at the bottom impossible to get at in a hurry.
Non Liquid Toiletries – Unless you have been living on the moon in recent years, you will likely be aware that a number of airports have taken a rather strong dislike to all things liquid. And although this has lead to many travelers buying their toiletries when they arrive at their destination, many clever toiletry manufacturers do indeed develop a few non liquid alternatives. Not only can you get powdered toothpaste but the makers of shower gel also make this hard stuff known as “soap”.
Fragile Items – If you are planning on bringing fragile items with you and they will not fit into your hand luggage, there are a few tips worth following. First off, fragile items should always be placed in the center of your bag as this ensures that the rest of your belongings act as a cushion. This alone however is insufficient as you also need to wrap them up. In my opinion, the best way to wrap your fragile items is to use clothes and towels that you are already bringing with you. Provided you wrap them tightly enough, clothes and towels do the job perfectly but don’t take up additional space.
Lost Luggage Issues – Unfortunately, airlines are not exactly the most reliable organizations when it comes to keeping luggage where it is supposed to be. And while a lost bag is not the end of the world on a long trip (most airlines will forward your bag when they find it), a two week holiday can be completely ruined. Therefore whenever I head off on holiday, I take two measures to safeguard against this. First off, I keep the things that I really cannot live without in my hand luggage. And secondly, I always put a portion of my clothes in my partner’s bag and vice versa. This ensures that should one bag go missing, we both still have at least some clothes to wear.
Choice of Bag – Finally, while many travelers obsess about the getting the lowest possible airfares and the best located accommodation, your choice of luggage is also not something that you should take lightly. None of these packing tips are really worth anything if they are all applied to a backpack with straps that dig into your shoulders or a suitcase without wheels. Consider the amount that your holiday is going to cost as a whole and don’t be afraid to splash out on a bag that will allow you to reach your destination with your back still intact.