Packing for a trip doesn’t seem like a big deal, in fact, people do it all the time. It’s not like moving house, where you pretty much just have one shot to get it right, when you’re packing for a short-term trip, you can almost always count on the fact that, if you forget something, it will be available to buy at your destination. Nevertheless, proper packing is an essential skill for any traveler and it is always good to consider the type of trip and plan and pack accordingly. This can save you a bit of bother down the road. Here are some steps to make sure that you take everything you need (and nothing else) and bring it all back as well.
1. Consider what type of trip you’re planning. A weekend away? A few days’ vacation? Several months crashing at a friend’s? If the first is true, you may want to bring one change of clothes, some essential toiletries, some food for the road and a charger. Nothing else. For the second one you might need a wider selection of clothes, swimsuits, etc.
2. After you’ve decided what you want to take, make a list of it all. This may seem like really basic beginner advice, but it doesn’t take long and it is a good way to make sure that not only have you brought with you everything needed, but that it’ll be brought back as well. Keep this list in your suitcase or backpack pocket and consult it while packing to go back home.
3. Never bring more than absolutely necessary. A good rule of thumb is: no more than a backpack for a weekend trip, a carry-on luggage bag for five days, a small suitcase for a month’s trip. Naturally, every person is different and needs a different portion of their possessions when traveling. Just keep in mind that if you can change outfits three times a day and never wear the same thing twice during the trip, you’ve probably gone overboard.
4. For the actual packing process, there are two basic rules to follow:
• Space is key.
• Toiletries should always be kept in a plastic bag, so as to limit potential spillage. You don’t want shampoo stains on your bathing suits.
5. The latter is fairly self-explanatory. As for the former, here are some good space-saving ideas. Shoes, books and other solid objects should be placed at the bottom of the bag. Shirts can be wrapped around pairs of socks in neat rolls; these can then be laid out in a single layer like cannelloni. Toiletries and other small objects can be wrapped individually and stuffed in all the remaining nooks and crannies. As for any money, you don’t have to use the ancient technique of stuffing it in grayest pair of socks, however do make sure to make tiny bundles and scatter them in different parts of your luggage and outerwear. That way, you can make sure that, even if you lose one, it wouldn’t be a big problem.
6. Lastly, make sure to pack weather-appropriate clothing, but be prepared for surprising weather – in other words, there’s no shame in bringing a sweater to Hawaii.
Most of this advice is fairly straight forward. The thing to take away is that, wherever you go, the trip will be much easier if you plan ahead, instead of relying on buying stuff on location.