When you head abroad, it can be hugely tempting to pack in as much as you can. However, there is a balance to be struck between packing light and having everything you need for every occasion. If you are in the camp that likes to take as many outfits as possible because you never know what you might need, you have probably thought to yourself once or twice that you wished you had gone for the lighter option. Fortunately, you do not have to eliminate all that choice to keep your bags down in size, and we have brought together some excellent tips that stand every chance of being able to make your life easier whether heading out on a road trip or travelling for months.
1. Plastic Zip Bags are Your Friend
Get into the habit of taking Ziplock bags with you whenever you pack a case. Even if you do not put anything in them right away, they are bound to come in handy. If you travel with liquids, you can ensure that if a spillage does occur, everything else in the case will be safe. You can use larger bags for dirty clothes too, which keeps them separate from anything you are yet to wear and means that if you need to use the laundry, you don’t need to take your whole case with you.
2. Always Carry a Rubbish Bag
If you haven’t got your home comforts to hand, you might not have anywhere to put things you don’t need any more right away. This can be solved with a standard rubbish bag, which takes up practically no space when empty but will come into its own when you need to avoid littering. It carries a dual purpose too, as a bag of sufficient size can protect your luggage in the rain and can be used for any task that involves the separation of your luggage. Crucially, if you have used and discarded the trusty rubbish bag, make it a priority to replace it.
3. Rolling Beats Folding
Tradition dictates that clothes are folded when packed away. That goes for everything from your wardrobe to your suitcase. However, it tends to be more effective to roll those clothes up. You’ll avoid folding creases, and the shape means you are more likely to be able to fit more items around them within the case.
4. Keep a List
Make a list of what you want to take with you and ruthlessly cut it down to the essentials and a few treats. With the remaining list, you can keep track of what you have worn and what you have left for the rest of the trip. When it comes time to come home, you can use that list one more time to ensure that you have not left anything behind.
5. Avoid Jewellery as Best You Can
Jewellery is typically pretty heavy for its size, and it does not make for a great accessory for anyone that seeks to travel light. You’ll want a few pieces, but it is worth it to take the time to decide which pieces go well with multiple outfits. It goes without saying that you’ll also aim to leave more expensive pieces at home, as you never know when you might lose your luggage when out and about.
6. Protect Your Clothes when Out and About
On most trips, you’ll wear clothes once and then put them away to wash when you get back. We may have referred to vacation laundry duty once, but this is comparatively rare. If you have activities planned that stand a good chance at making you dirty, try your best to protect the clothes. This could involve using the Ziplock bags as mentioned earlier, or could just as easily see you tucking your jeans into your socks to keep the bottoms safe. Protected clothes can be worn again or will at least not spread dirt around other items when you get back.
7. Use Dryer Sheets to Stay Fresh
Even a case of completely unworn clothes can get a bit stale when kept in the same place for a long time. If you pride yourself on looking and feeling fresh, consider the use of the same sheets you’d put in a tumble dryer. Pack them between layers in your case to add moisture and a slight scent to clothes while you travel. Keep them in there after you’ve worn some items too as they’ll still be fresh enough to be reused if and when required.
8. Pack Heavier Items at the Bottom
Heavier items of clothing, like jeans or shoes, should be packed in a way that they sit at the bottom of your case when in motion. This adds balance to the case and ensures that it does not topple over when you move or let go.
9. Remember Chargers
If you are the kind of person that focuses on style when you pack, it is easy to overlook other essentials. Whether we like it or not, not everything goes to plan when we travel, and the chances are you don’t want a dead phone or laptop when out and about. A charging cable is the bare minimum, but you might also want to consider battery packs for extra juice without the need to be in range of a plug socket.
10. Label Cases and Loose Items
It is a fact of life that things get lost, often at the most inopportune moments. It will be inconvenient no matter what, but you can at least swing things in your own favour by making it easy for anyone that finds your items to return them to you. You may not wish to display your address or phone number publicly, but an email address is the least you should do. Anyone that finds your items will have access to email, and you can make arrangements to retrieve your things from there.