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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   3 min read

Many of you are probably starting to leaf through travel magazines, think about where you’d like to go this summer for vacation, maybe even the anxious ones are dusting off their suitcases already and starting to think about what you’ll need for your trip. Everyone dreads being the one whose suitcase opened during the flight, whose pants, blouses, bikinis and socks are scattered all over the luggage belt. Here’s a few tips on how to pack and how not to be that person.

It can sometimes be hard to know how early is too early to pack or how late is too late (but I think we all know that packing an hour before leaving for the airport is too late). It would be easy to write a whole book on how to pack, what not to pack, when to pack, what to bring and what to leave behind, how much is too much. But let’s just keep things simple. Here are a few packing tips to make your pre-departure life much, much easier.

First of all, lets talk about the different methods of how to pack one’s bag. If you fold your clothes like you would after you finish your laundry, your clothes will certainly crease and wrinkle once they’ve been compressed flat into your suitcase for the length of your journey. Here are a few tips on how to prevent this:

  • roll your clothes: this is a great method especially if you are travelling with a backpack and not a suitcase with wheels. Lay your blouses, dress shirts, pants and skirts face down, fold back the sleeves and roll from the bottom up. Stack and pack.
  • fold your clothes together: this is one of the easiest ways to prevent wrinkles. Lay one pair of pants down and overlap with the second only halfway. Fold the bottom pair on top of the the second pair, repeating with the other pair. This gives the pants some cushion and won’t crease as easily once your suitcase has been closed.
  • use tissue paper: if you are travelling with an evening dress, or a blouse that is more fragile, wrap it up in tissue paper. Lay the garment face-down and flat. Lay a sheet of tissue paper on top and fold it as normal, with the paper inside. It will help, but is not recommended if you plan on packing and repacking often during your trip.

The big questions is a matter of need. What do you need for your trip and how much is too much? Probably if you need three arms to get your suitcase into the overhead compartment or you have trouble carrying your bag by yourself, its too much. You want to be comfortable while you travel, not stressing over your luggage size and weight.

Before you pack make sure you know how much you’re allowed to bring. Check your airline ticket and your airline’s restrictions. It can be very expensive to check overweight and over-sized luggage. Also think about the carbon footprint, the heavier the luggage is the more fuel is needed!

Tips for the girls:

  • your whole beauty routine is maybe not necessary: most hotels offer complimentary toiletries, you should use them. If you need multiple hair products, try downsizing by choosing a 2 in 1 instead of both. Travelling with someone else? Pack one tooth paste, one shampoo, one soap, etc. for the both of you.
  • jewellery: don’t pack your most expensive pieces, keep it simple. It’s not a fashion faux-pas to wear the same pair of earrings a few days in a row. If you must bring something valuable, always keep it in a hotel safe.

Tips for the guys:

  • use resealable bags: if you’ve got a number of small loose items, try putting all of them in resealable plastic bags. Your suitcase will be much better organized this way.
  • as prepared as you’d like to be, probably 1 guidebook is enough. Reduce the weight by photocopying essential pages for your trip instead of bringing the whole stack. You can also save some travel websites by email, just look up the location of an internet café before leaving.

In general:

  • don’t pack more clothes than you need. Check the weather in advance so you know what to expect. Pack clothes that are easily mix-and-matched and shoes that are comfortable and can go with a number of different outfits.
  • if you’re travelling for longer than 2 weeks, plan on doing some laundry while you’re away. Many hotels offer laundry services.
  • instead of bringing a stack of reading material, pick up what you need at the airport like magazines or newspapers, one paperback, etc. You can recycle it once you’re done or pass it along to another traveller!

Have any fool-proof packing advice of your own? Leave us a comment below! You can also check out our Airline Directory to find out the baggage allowances for each airline, including what they charge for excess.

Image source: weeweeyun / flickr

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6 responses to “Packing: how to and how much?

  1. I definitely agree, I'd say steer clear of flashy colours and bold prints! Unless you're on a beach in Hawaii of course…

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