How to pack smart for your next trip
Ah, packing. I used to hate it and I admit that I’m still not that fond of it now. Over time and with every trip I’m getting a bit better at it though. Thankfully, those days are over when I almost couldn’t lift my suitcase onto the belt when checking in. I perfected my desperate-cry-face in case the check-in agent would ask me to pay extra for my bag, which did work sometimes, surprisingly…
Pack clothes you can combine easily
Over the years I’ve learned that I don’t have to pack every last item of my wardrobe, even though I go on month-long trips. Why not? Because we usually only wear the same 20% of our clothes regularly anyways. No need to schlepp the remaining 80% with you if you don’t even touch them when you are at home. The same goes for shoes. Pack your favourite pair you can combine with lots of outfits and bring sports shoes and flip-flops for sunny destinations / winter boots for snow trips. Also, if you forgot a key item of your wardrobe, you can always buy it or ask someone at home to send it to you.
As far as cosmetics are concerned, I pack my essentials (toothbrush, face wash, moisturiser, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, razor and hairbrush) as well as a small bag with make-up (with travel-sized perfume) as well as medication/first aid items. Things like toothpaste, shower gel, body lotion and sunscreen can easily be bought at the destination or I’ll bring some travel-sized versions of those items if I travel to a remote place. I haven’t travelled with a hairdryer in years. When I did back in the days it took up so much of my bag space and I hardly used it, so I decided to completely scratch it from my travel list. Never looked back J
Lay out your items before packing them
A tip I learned from my boyfriend is to lay out every item you want to pack on your bed or on the floor and see how much you accumulated. At this stage you can still ditch some shirts that are just overkill or the dress you’d never wear in a million years. After that you can proceed to pack your bag with your final selection. I’m very fond of the rolling technique instead of folding, as my clothes don’t get ugly creases and they fit in the smallest spaces. You can also stuff your socks/stockings in your shoes to leave no free space unused.
As far as hand luggage is concerned, you also want to keep it fairly light, as you have to carry it around with you at the airport(s). Fixed items, next to my wallet and passport (and a photocopy of the latter), are my laptop, phone, chargers, headphones and an adapter, sun glasses, a tiny jewellery bag, a book or two, fresh underwear (in case of bag delays), travel socks (to keep my feet warm and comfy while flying), a sarong/scarf in case I get cold on the plane or land in a Muslim country, and a pen to fill in passenger / customs cards. I also travel with a neck pillow. A sleep mask and earplugs are handy too, especially on long-haul flights.
Here some bullet points to sum up how to pack smart:
Use a packing list. This saves you time and you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything as you have it all neatly on your list to be checked off
Lay out your clothes before you pack them to see how much you actually want to take. Put the bag on once you packed it to test its weight
Travel light. Pack versatile clothes and shoes and use travel-sized cosmetics for a hassle-free trip
Roll your clothes and stuff your shoes with socks and stockings or other items to take advantage of every nook and cranny of your bag
Plastic bags double up as shoe covers and storage for dirty clothes or to wrap up souvenirs
Pack travel socks, a scarf, a sleep mask and ear plugs for your comfort in your hand luggage. A neck pillow is also a good idea. I can strap mine to my backpack
Don’t forget a pen to fill in travel forms on the plane as well as a photocopy of your passport