Your trip is planned and you’re ready to go, but you still haven’t packed and don’t know where to start. We know that feeling well, we’ve all been there before! Thankfully it’s nothing to worry about as packing can be easy as pie. Here are a few basic tips to help you wrap your head around the daunting task of fitting weeks’ worth of stuff into one bag. You got this!
Keep It As Small and Light as Possible
This may seem obvious. But you’d be surprised how many tourists you see stumbling around Europe with a bag larger than a small child strapped to their back. Alternatively you’ll see the regret in their eyes as they drag ridiculously large suitcases across cobblestones. Why put yourself through that horror? Whether you go for the backpack or the wheelie suitcase option, if you can aim to keep the weight to around 10-12kg you’ll definitely thank yourself later. For a size guide, a 55L bag should be more than enough if you pack wisely. Remember you can always buy things you need whilst on the road – you don’t have to bring absolutely everything from home!
Packing Cells Will Make Life Easier
Grab a few of these from somewhere like Kathmandu, and it’ll take the hassle out of keeping your bag organised. Get a few different sizes, and divide up your stuff – one for shorts/skirts/pants, one for tops and jumpers, one for underwear and swimwear, and one for dirty laundry helps too. You get the idea. Bulky stuff is easier to just leave loose, but having the majority of your clothes organised into their own spaces will mean you avoid the inevitable mess that you usually find when unzipping your pack after a long journey.
Roll, Don’t Fold!
You can definitely fit more in there if you roll each item as tightly as you can, rather than folding and placing in a big pile. This is especially useful with items you’re placing inside a packing cell – you can easily fit 7 or 8 different t-shirts inside a small packing cell, if your rolling skills are on point.
You Can Never Be Too Cautious When It Comes to Liquids
I’ll preach this until the end. Unless you want to find yourself in a ‘shampoo explosion’ situation like Ross from Friends did, make sure your toiletries are in ziplock bags – and then inside a plastic shopping bag. The ziplock bag may break, as I unfortunately discovered the hard way, and if I’d taken a second to wrap it in another layer then I would’ve avoided my favourite jeans getting a moisturise. It’s always handy having a spare plastic bag anyway, to use for rubbish/wet clothes etc.
Avoid the Jewellery Tangle
To start with, if you can avoid bringing jewellery at all, that’s the easiest way to go. It’s a hassle having to take it on and off at airport security, and the potential for losing it while moving around so many places is just too high. But if you’ve got a couple of necklaces or chains that you can’t bear to be without, this is a good trick for avoiding them getting tangled together, or tangling themselves. Use a plastic straw, and put the necklace through the straw, clasping it together at the end. For bracelets you can just cut the straw shorter. The straw trick keeps everything from knotting inside your luggage, which can happen even when placed in a separate pouch!
Don’t Let Shoes Be Your Downfall
Knowing your limit with how many shoe options you’ll need is crucial. Shoes take up an annoying amount of space in a bag, and are heavy too. You can wear your comfiest pair, while packing just one other pair of ‘nicer’ shoes if you want them. Some jandals/flip flops can usually be stuffed into an outside pocket or at the bottom of a daypack. Try and avoid taking a pair of heavy boots unless it’s winter and you really need them! Whichever set of shoes you decide to carry around in your bag, make use of the space inside them and stuff them with as many pairs of socks as you can.
Keep Printouts of Your Important Documents
If you want to be safe, print out copies of your passport/visa documents, and make sure you keep a set in your luggage. Imagine if your daypack got snatched and you lost all your important items in one go! Spread your risk, and keep copies which might help you out a bit if you ever have to go through the headache of getting new documents. Speaking of spreading your risk, it’s best to keep some of your cash in different bags too. But of course, things will go smoothly and you won’t need this tip. *touch wood*
Make Your Bag Stand Out
Don’t be afraid to make your bag stand out from the crowd. Time to be flamboyant, why the hell not. Making your luggage easy to spot will save you some time, and that awkward encounter when you have to jog after someone who’s walking off with your suitcase by mistake. If you’re not secure enough to simply tie bright ribbons around the handles, you can always go the hipster-traveller-route, and add a tonne of patches to your bag.