Love it or hate it, you ain’t going nowhere without packing your bags first. I used to love packing my bags for a new adventure. However after travelling the world solo for a year, living out of your suitcase soon becomes less a novelty and more of a burden – unless you pick up some travel packing hacks along the way. Now into my second year of full time travels, I thought it best to share what I’ve learned in the ultimate blog post for How to Pack your Bags Better. Get ready, its a long one!
How to Pack your Bags Better?
Lets start at the beginning. The importance to having a good suitcase is beyond words, especially if you plan to do more travels in the future. In my years travelling I’ve had many a suitcase, but the day my “lightest suitcase in the world” decided to break on me in the middle of the street in Hamburg, Germany, I knew it was time to invest. I got my hands on a samsonite hard case – the best decision I had ever made. While they are a small investment, you’ll be glad you took the leap of faith. If you’re budget conscious, shop around for an alternative brand but definitely stick to a hard case – they’re worth their weight in gold.
Planning to Perfection
Its easy to get carried away when planning your travels and leaving packing to the last minute (I’m a prime candidate too, don’t worry). But plan in advance and you’ll thank yourself later. Ask yourself: What will the weather be like (only a quick google search away)? How long will my items last me (1, 2, 3 weeks) until I need to do my laundry? What do I need and what am I taking ‘just incase’? Its better to leave behind anything you don’t think you will use and in the worst case scenario, buy that item at your destination. Its better to have space in your luggage than to overpack – no one wants to pay excess baggage fees!
Carry On vs. Checked Luggage
If you’re going on a short (2-5 days) holiday, you might want to consider taking carry-on luggage only. Most airlines will allow for 10kg of carry-on luggage, and taking this option will mean you can avoid waiting for your bags on the other side. This is great if you’re travelling to a hot beach destination where the items you will need are light, but if you’re off to the snow I’d think otherwise. If you plan to check your luggage, its important to still consider what you pack in your carry-on luggage. With so many travellers zipping in every direction these days, lost luggage is not uncommon. Pack what you’ll want on the flight AND a spare outfit, just in case. Items to consider (WOW LOVES): Frends headphones, Olympus PEN E-PL7, Gigi New York Stationary, Fuji Film Instax Camera.
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Travel Packing Hacks
Now for the good stuff!!! Here’s a list of the top travel hacks I’ve learned for packing your travel bags.
Use Clingwrap to Stop your Jewellery from Tangling
Tired of spending precious travel moments untangling your jewellery? Fear not! Use x2 strips of cling wrap to hold your jewellery into place. Simply place a your necklace on one strip of clingwrap, layer another strip overtop, and voila! Tangle no more.
Put a Shower Cap over Shoes for protection
Whether you’re aiming to keep your clothes clean or your favourite shoes protected, separation is simple with something you’ll find a second use for: a shower cap!
Use the Inside of your Shoe as Storage Space
It may seem an obvious one, but it will soon save you oodles of space. Whether its delicate items you wish to protect or simply placing socks and underwear inside a shoe, this little trick is bound to save space by the end of your packing (especially if you pack as many shoes as I do)!
Rolling vs. Folding
Ahhh, the age old debate! Its true that rolling your clothes will save space and prevent your clothes from wrinkling, but is it worth the extra time? The choice to roll or fold is totally up to you and depends on your preferences, but a great trick is to do both. Roll the clothes you wish to keep wrinkle-free and fold the thicker items like sweaters.
Place cords/chargers in a Sunglasses Case
Probably the most important items to travel with in the 21st Century are your laptop and phone chargers. Tired of losing them? Place your cords and chargers inside a sunglasses case to prevent them from tangling as well as knowing exactly where to find them when you open your case.
Use a pill compartment for small jewellery items (rings, earrings)
Place your small jewellery (rings, earrings) inside a pill compartment to prevent losing them in your bag.
Put fragrances inside a sock first
Ever arrived at a destination to find your expensive perfume/cologne now creating a misty aura through your entire suitcase!? Prevent spillages and breakage by placing your fragrances inside a sock first to protect them.
Pack the Larger, Heavier Clothes at the Bottom
It may seem simple – but this is one of the best tricks to know exactly where everything is. With your large and heavy items at the base of your suitcase, you’ll be able to see more of your items without shifting anything around inside your case.
Put your Underwear in last in spare spaces
Last but not least – the one item you’ll never forget – should go into your suitcase last! Place your undies in small spaces and gaps at the last minute to a) save space and b) have easy access to a fresh pair of knickers when you arrive.
Over to you! Do you have a travel packing secret you can share with readers? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!