My family all love to travel, be it overseas trips to foreign countries or a weekend away at the beach. But one thing we can usually agree on is the love hate relationship with packing. I’ve always enjoyed packing, as does my younger sister. My older sister on the other hand hates it. After lengthy discussions about why I love packing, and why she hates it we’ve come up with some tips and tricks to help you overcome the obstacles that arise when it comes time to pack.
Packing giving you the grumbles?
Is the idea of sorting through all your clothes too much of a hassle? You don’t really know what you’ll need and what will just take up space? Cringe when you see your departure date and you just don’t know where to start? Let me help break it down for you.
Firstly you want to know a few basics about where you are going. You’re already on the internet so getting this information will only take you a few minutes, jot these down with your answers next to them:
1) Climate for the area you will be traveling to.
2) The type of weather to expect during your trip.
3) How long you will be away.
4) Expected activities while away.
5) Cultural or social expectations for the areas you will be traveling to.
If you know these 5 things, packing gets a whole lot simpler. Knowing the climate will help you know if you should be packing thermal pants, or shorts. Knowing what kind of weather is expected during your trip will tell you if you need shorts and a raincoat due to expected rain during a humid spring. How long you will be away will help you determine how lightly you can pack. Knowing you are going horse riding on your trip will mean you’ll know to pack jeans or appropriate pants. You can’t always plan every outfit given some activities are last minute, but if you are going to the snow you’re going to pack very differently than if you were going to the beach. Some countries have expectations on travelers clothes and behavior, its a great idea to check this info out before you go to be sure you are not offending anyone. The last thing you want is to need to cover your legs to enter a temple only to discover all you have are shorts, its respectful smart traveling.
Make a list. Before you start rummaging through your draws and wardrobe looking for clothes jot down a quick list. Start with a list of the days you will be away, if you are going on a long trip say a month or more, I recommend writing numbers 1 to 10, you can then allow for washing clothes while you’re away. Lets say you’re going away for a long weekend, you would write Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. Next you need to make a quick note of any activities you plan to do on any given day. Bike riding Friday? Swimming and then out to dinner on Saturday? Sleeping in on Sunday followed by a long lunch? Whatever your plans, make a quick note of the possibilities.
All that is left is noting items of clothing that would work best for each day. To be a super smart packer try to pack the least amount of clothes possible. If you’re going to the beach once you only need one set of bathers. You can get away with one pare of jeans for the entire weekend. Mix and match with tops and a dress or skirt. It is way too easy to over pack, save the space for souvenir shopping.
My older sister discovered it isn’t so much the packing that annoys her, it’s the result. When you arrive at your destination and open your bag everything has moved or its packed so tight you can’t find anything. You spend so much of your trip packing and re-packing there is little joy in the idea of starting. Simplify the process and find out what exactly it is you hate about packing. This will lead you to finding some solutions. As I mentioned earlier my sister hates packing because everything moves around and she has trouble finding what she wants while she is away. The solution was packing cubes. These handy bags help you to arrange your outfits ready to pull out as you need them. They have see through sections to help you remember exactly what is in each one. Problem solved.
The joy of packing.
Ever since I was little we would go on family camping trips and interstate holidays. For me, packing has always been a means of envisioning all the things I will get to do and see while I’m on my trip. Packing my swimmers for beach trips, adding in my thongs to keep my feet cool but protected from the hot sand or rocks. Rolling up my new dress to wear out to dinner, matching up outfits with minimal clothes and being creative with accessories to save space.
Find your joy in packing. What you enjoy might drive other people crazy, but if you find something you can enjoy about packing, it will make the process a lot easier. It could be deciding what books to take with you, getting excited thinking about where you’ll be sitting to read them. Perhaps its collecting those tiny toiletries convenient for travel and saving space in your bag. It might be shopping for new bathers to take with you.
5 Quick Packing Tips
1) Roll your clothes where possible. You can fit so much more into your bag when you roll your clothes rather than folding them.
2) Pack versatile clothing. You want to be able to mix and match without lugging a huge heavy suitcase come wardrobe with you everywhere. No matter where you are going always pack an outfit you can fancy up. Be it a simple black dress you can add a belt and necklace to, you never know if you’ll wind up going out to dinner or a party.
3) Check the luggage weight restrictions when flying. It can vary between domestic and international and the last thing you need is paying for an overweight bag. Similarly if you’re going camping be conscious of the weight you are packing into the car or trailer.
4) String, cable ties, sewing kit, and tape. These emergency items can help you stay ahead of any problems that may arise while on your travels. Buttons fallen off? Cap on your toothpaste broken? Zip on your bag fallen off? Nowhere to hang your wet clothes? No problem, you’ve got this.
5) Don’t use this as an opportunity to wear in your new shoes. You want to be comfortable, same goes for the clothes you pack. If you don’t wear those jeans with the annoying zip at home, don’t pack them. Pack the things you will wear and be comfortable in.