After traveling for many years, loading and unloading thousands of suitcases I realized a long time ago the importance of packing properly for trip.
After speaking to many tour professionals, researching a number of internet sites and logging hundreds of thousands of miles myself, I found a system to pack that works for me and I would like to share it with you.
Always check airlines for the latest travel rules and restrictions regarding what may and may not accompany you and your luggage on your travels. The worst part of traveling is when you’ve gotten yourself all the way to security, only to find that some of your belongings will be thrown away.
Know where you’ll be going, what activities you’ll be doing and what the weather forecast is so that you can pack the essentials you’ll need. Plan to wear certain clothing items that are versatile and accessories that can be paired with different outfits.
Make a checklist of every item you plan to take on your trip: clothing, shoes, toiletries, maps, guidebooks, reading material, and hotel and rental car information. I made my list on a pad of paper and started a few days before is planning to pack, leaving it in a central location in my home and jotting down items I thought it might need is that popped into my head . Include everything you intend to bring even if is not going to be packed. It is easy to forget something, not remember until you’re at the airport or even worse on your trip; for example plane ticket, passport or house keys.
When your checklist is complete, take time to review before you start to pack. This is the time to determine if you really need four sweaters, five pair’s jeans, seven pairs of shoes. Bring comfortable shoes. A good rule is to wear 1 pair and pack 2–including a casual shoe or sandal, a tennis shoe and a more formal shoe for dinner.
Pack a wardrobe suitable for going just about anywhere and take clothes that are appropriate for the weather of the area you are visiting. You also want to blend in so that you won’t be easily identified as a tourist to local pick-picketers’. Some examples of good wardrobe choices are comfortable walking shoes, pants and skirts and comfortable T-shirts or button-up shirts.
Now you can remove from your list that will lighten your load.
Include mainly maintenance-free items. When possible, avoid items that require ironing and do not bother with items that must be dry-cleaned.
Begin packing your luggage, checking off each item on your list as you go.
Buy travel-size containers for your toiletries, regardless of the length of your trip. Unless you will be in a remote location for weeks, you can always drop into a local shop to restock your supply of soap and toothpaste. Enclose toiletry containers in airtight plastic bags to prevent contents from spilling into your suitcase in the event of a leak. Wrap socks or pajamas around breakable items to cushion them. Nothing worse then arriving home from a great trip to Canada to find maple syrup all over your shorts.
Pack shoes and heavier items such as bottles, toiletries and electronics on the bottom and sides of the luggage. Tuck undergarments and socks inside shoes to save space and then arrange each pair of shoes so that the heel of one aligns with the toe of the other. Wrap pairs of shoes in separate plastic bags, and place them along the border of your suitcase.
Pack clothing using the time-honored “roll” technique. Lay two or three items on top of one another, smooth to flatten, and roll them up like you would a sleeping bag to save space and prevent wrinkles. A great tip for preventing massive wrinkles is to place a sheet of heavy tissue or packing paper between items of clothing before rolling.
Pack sweaters and underwear in reusable compression bags, which can create up to 75% more space in your luggage.
Another option would be Ultralight Packers from LL Bean. I bought these years ago and have been on of the best travelling investment I have ever made. Designed in three convenient sizes for efficient packing with see-through mesh top for easy viewing and identification these packing accessories can be used for your suitcase, carry-on or duffle. This zip-top packer set keeps your travel clothes neatly folded and organized.
In addition to making copies of your passport, you can also scan copies of important documents, and then store them in a hotmail or yahoo account on the internet, and retrieve them when you need to, from anywhere in the world where there’s an internet connection. Probably a good idea, even if you are not traveling.
Pack essential toiletries in a carry-on bag; medication (keep in original containers) and a light change of clothes. You may be surprised to read this but occasionally luggage does not make it to you final destination with you.
Further Tid Bits
Put your cell phone in your pocket and bring a purse with you (if you’re a lady).
Just put your name and phone (cell) number on the luggage tag. Keep your complete contact information in a zippered pocket and in your luggage. No sense letting everyone seeing you are traveling and away from home.
If you are like me I like to see how this may be accomplished and I found this great video on YouTube
If you have any stories, questions or events about packing and would like to share or for that matter any travel related themes you would like discussed; send them off to us. We will read the all and post our favorites.
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Until then, have a wonderful day and safe travels!