Hello everyone, how are you today? I thought I’d try my hand at sharing my best packing tips to reduce stress when preparing to leave and getting through airport security. Hopefully you’ll find something useful and if you do leave me a comment on what tip you might try for your next trip!
Pack light – now for me this has a couple of meanings: first pack light in terms of the weight of your suitcase and two, don’t pack for every scenario ever.
Why packing light is important, most people start their journeys from their house (what? No way!) So that can mean dragging the case down the stairs, heaving it into the boot of the car, taking it out of the car, lifting it over any curbs/stairs inside the airport, lifting it onto the airport scales and phew you don’t have to see it again for at least a few hours. However, I got tired just listing all the times you have to lift that case and that scenario is for the ones lucky enough to have a car, get a lift from someone or be willing to pay for a taxi! Going by train to the airport is way more exhausting!
So if your suitcase weighs more than you can physically lift, it instantly causes stress on you because you’re like shoot this is heavy, why is everyone looking at me, why is no one helping me, oh my gosh I hate people and other thoughts to that affect. So if you can lift your case with relative ease or at least without the assistance of someone (if they do decide to help) then you feel confident that your case isn’t over the weight limit, you can rely on yourself to get you to your destination and you won’t have to lug something heavy on the other side once you’ve landed in possibly a foreign country that you have no idea about!
Don’t pack for every scenario…but what if I run out of clothes, what if I lose my case, what if I go swimming with all of my clothes on and have nothing to wear for dinner? First thing is you have to decide what kind of trip you’re going on – is it a 2 week holiday, staying four months somewhere for an internship or are you relocating to Asia for 2 years? Now having done all of these my answer is different for relocating for weeks/months vs years so if you want to know more about relocating for a year or more, leave me a comment below!
My usual rule of thumb for weeks/month trips is to take like 2-3 trousers and a variety of like 6 t-shirts and one formal outfit (smart casual really) and about underwear/socks for 10 days, less if the trip is shorter. Why so little? Again, if you see your trip similar to how you are at home where you wear the same things a few times before deciding it’s smelly enough for a wash, you can save a lot of time and weight in your case! Also it’s very likely that your accommodation will have laundry services you can use (but I don’t want to pay!) well do you want to pay for an overweight case and go through all of that stress? Be smart with your packing and really think, would I be stuck if I took less? If yes, then ask what you’d rather have: more clothes or space to buy souvenirs?
A towel is a must – “A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value.” – Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Now if galactic approval doesn’t make you want to pack a towel then I’m not sure what to tell you other than it can be used in your suitcase to save you from some sticky situations! How I’ve started using my towel effectively is by laying half of it in the suitcase first, packing the rest of my clothing and then folding the towel over the top, before clipping everything to secure it. Why? It creates a buffer so that when you pack toiletries on top of the towel or in another compartment of the suitcase and they burst, your clothes will be safe! Also by wrapping up your clothes this way will reduce the amount of space that a folded towel would normally take up, huzzah!
Roll up your clothes – saving space is essential when packing, we all play Tetris when it comes to packing so instead of folding clothes into thick square shapes, roll everything up. You’ll find it not only saves you a lot of space but you can tuck clothes into the very corners of your case to maximise every nook and cranny.
Minimise the faff – If you’ve ever taken a flight then you’ll know what an utter faff airport security can be, what can/can’t you take in your hand luggage, what size of liquids can you take etc. So because I usually travel with my laptop I make sure that I have nothing else that I have to pull out of my backpack, that means if it’s possible do not take toiletries in your hand luggage. It’s just more hassle popping them all into one plastic, clear bag and if you get it wrong, airport security won’t hesitate to bin it. So if it’s not essential medication or something like contact solution – even that if it isn’t a long flight can be left in your case.
My old laptop was a monster of a machine with at 17.5inch screen and weighing a whopping 3kg so not only was it heavy and big to carry around, it also took up a lot of space in my bag. So whenever an airline weighed my hand luggage I really wouldn’t have room for anything else. Since then I’ve swapped for a transformer notebook that weighs less than a kg and travelling has become easier! Not that I’m saying you need to go out and buy new laptops but definitely have your laptop in an accessible area of your bag! During my travels the only airline that has actually weighed my hand luggage was Emirates. Airlines that didn’t were British Airways, West Jet and Qatar – I was offended that Qatar didn’t weigh my backpack because I had meticulously weighed everything out perfectly! So I feel if your hand luggage doesn’t look full you should be good but I always weigh everything anyway just to be sure! Another comfort/space saving tip is to take a jumper (sweater) or warm top that might be bulky in your suitcase in your hand luggage. Why? It can keep you warm on the flight, double up as a pillow and save some room in your case too! Other ways to cut the faff is to not wear metal – no belts, no jewellery and shoes that slip on and off.
My top tip in life is always go for comfort over style!
These are the things I do before leaving for any trip; what tips did you find useful or do you have any great tips of your own? Leave a comment below and thank you for reading!