So you’ve mapped out your trip, planned your route, figured out your dates. All that’s left to do as your date of departure approaches is to pack … and that’s when it can sometimes feel like the real work begins. How many pairs of shoes should I pack? Do I need one sweater or two? Is one nice outfit going to be enough? It’s almost enough to make one consider nudism!
While there is no one solution or formula, there are some handy tips and tricks to make packing less of a burden and more of an easily achievable task.
1. Less is more. If you’re flying, opt for one carry-on per person (yes, even for your six-year-old) versus larger checked-in baggage. There are a few reasons for this. Since more airlines are charging for checked-in baggage, choosing carry-ons could save you money. Plus, smaller bags are easier to handle – making it easier for each person to pull his/her own weight (so to speak) and allowing the whole family to share in the responsibility. Also, there’s always a chance your luggage will go astray en route to your destination and, while this is rare, it’s still very possible. So if you must check-in your luggage, then bring a separate carry-on with some essentials – just in the off-chance that your baggage doesn’t arrive when you do.
2. Roll it up. Rather than folding your clothes, roll them tightly and fit them in as snugly as possible into your suitcase. Try to use every inch of the valuable real estate available inside and outside (in the zippered pouches) of your baggage, as well as the hollow spaces inside your shoes or sun hat (perfect for rolled-up socks).
3. Stay neutral. The key to any successful packing venture is efficiency and versatility. Bring along easy-to-wear, low-maintenance pieces that easily mix and match. And don’t be afraid to repeat outfits – trust me, no one will know except you. Another key rule: Stay away from whites and light-coloured pieces; these are unforgiving when it comes to showing even the slightest smudge or stain. And for those chilly days and cold nights, the key is to layer up. Pack slim and tight outerwear, opting for thin fleece or wool items over thick sweatshirts and bulky cotton sweaters.
4. These shoes are made for walking. When traveling, substance and comfort always trumps style. (Though style need not be sacrificed altogether, but there likely won’t be a real need for those three-inch glossy red stilettos or rockin’ cowboy boots on your trip.) Ideally, you would need only three pairs of shoes: comfortable loafers (or similar) that can easily transition from day to night, a pair of well-worn sneakers and a pair of flip flops or crocs (especially if yours is a beach/resort holiday or your hotel has a pool and/or hot tub).
5. Take a sample. In this case, literally. With strict air restrictions on liquids and pastes (100mLs or less) for carry-on luggage, aim for sample sizes and minimize toiletries such as toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen and so on. To save on cash, buy regular-sized items and transfer to small, empty containers (available at dollar stores). A key tip: Remember that those containers with liquids have to be packed in a clear, self-sealing plastic bag and easily removable from your luggage when going through airport security. And don’t fret, chances are that wherever you’re going will have readily available toiletries… if and when you run out.
Now that the packing’s done, all you need to do is enjoy the adventure.