Learning How to Pack
The first time my sister and I joined a study tour, we shared a huge luggage where we store all of our travel essentials. As inexperienced as we were, we didn't realize that our packing was very disorganized. No matter how fast we moved, we were always the last ones to finish in the morning as we had to dig through our huge luggage for stuff. We didn't have a separate bag for our toiletries so they would dampen our clothes and other things inside the luggage. It was really messy. I was embarrassed to let my roommates see our luggage.
After I graduated from university, my family started taking vacation trips to different places. I became determined to be more organized. As I traveled more, I learned more about packing. I learned how to be efficient and organized so we would finish earlier in the morning. Finishing earlier means we would have more time for traveling!
If you have trouble organizing your luggage, here are a few packing tips for travel. Being more organized will reduce stress and will give you a clearer mind. Don't let anything ruin your vacation!
Make a Checklist
Before I start packing, I make a checklist of "things to bring". I hate to pack while thinking on the spot, so this method works well for me. It also helps me see which things I don't have at home so I can buy them before my trip. I make my checklist early and edit it along the way. Since I travel every year, I keep my list so I don't have to make a new one for my next trip.
Fold Your Clothes Vertically
Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant, recommends folding your clothes vertically. Doing so not only saves a lot of space, but also lets you see everything in one glance. She calls it the KonMari Method. When packing, I apply the same principle. I arrange my clothes vertically instead of stacking them in piles. The KonMari Method is way neater and it creates fewer creases on my clothes.
Here is a video teaching how to fold the KonMari style.
No one wants to drag a heavy suitcase from one place to another. It is always smart to travel light. Try to bring only the things that you need to avoid over-packing your luggage. Usually, ladies have a harder time packing light than men. In the following video, beauty guru Mimi Ikon shows how to pack light for travel without sacrificing fashion. One of the tips she shares is pre-selecting your outfits for the entire trip and taking a picture of each look.
Bring a Laundry Bag
This is what I failed to do the first time I have traveled as an adult. Without a laundry bag, I had to keep my stinky clothes and my fresh clothes in one place. You can also use plastic bags for storing your laundry. Some hotels have free laundry bags in their closets. For the underwear, you can use a smaller bag if you prefer. Fold everything neatly so the bag won't get bulky. Bring an extra bag for storing your wet swimsuits.
Get a Compact Bag with Compartments
Personally, I want a travel bag that is compact, lightweight, and sturdy. It has to be big enough for all of my stuff but small enough to be carried around all day. Over the years, I have used different bags and I find those with several compartments to be the best type to have. Without any compartment, I would have to dig through my bag whenever I have to get something. It's a total waste of time. Apart from my important travel documents, I have other stuff like phone, tablet, camera, medicine, bottled water, and umbrella.
Pacsafe Luggage Metrosafe 200 Gii Shoulder Bag, Midnight Blue, One Size
Amazon Price: $85.00 $69.95
(price as of Oct 11, 2016)
I like this travel bag because it is the right size for travelers. It's roomy without being too bulky. It contains lots of compartments that can fit gadgets such as eBook readers and tablets. It also has storage for small items that could easily get lost inside a huge bag. With an organized bag, you can find your things quickly.
This item is masculine enough to be used by men, though it can also be used by women. I like that it's slash-proof. You'll still feel safe using it in pickpocket cities.
Bring Ziploc Bags Just in Case
Bring a few Ziploc bags for storing valuables like travel documents and gadgets. In case your bag gets wet, the Ziploc bags will prevent your important items from getting damaged. Of course, a waterproof bag would be best so get one if you can.
Use a Belt Bag for Keeping Your Extra Cash
I'm not comfortable storing my entire pocket money in my wallet, so I use a belt bag to keep my extra cash. I only use this though when I travel to an unfamiliar city or when I carry a large amount of money.
If you're the type of traveler who doesn't want to leave valuables in the hotel, a belt bag will give you peace of mind. I feel safer bringing my valuables with me all the time. Hiding it under my shirt also keeps me from worrying too much about pickpockets.
Use a Separate Bag for Toiletries
Most hotels provide toiletries, so I don't bring shampoo and soap on my travels. I only bring my toothbrush, toothpaste, facial wash, and skin care products. I've learned my lesson on my first trip so I store my toiletries inside a small pouch to keep my clothes dry inside the luggage.
This bag is useful if you bring a wide range of toiletries and cosmetics on your trips, or if you're staying in a hostel that doesn't provide them.
To save space, I transfer my toiletries into small bottles. This is to comply with the TSA guidelines for carry-on bags. To prevent leaking, I put only the amount I need for my entire trip. I also use a travel toothbrush and toothpaste.
Store Your Jewelry in a Safe Place
As inconvenient as it is, a lot of ladies still bring jewelry when they travel. A bag with padded interior will protect your jewelry from getting squashed. Once, I made a terrible mistake by storing my earrings in my bag's pocket. One earring post got slightly bent and I had to throw them away.
Use a Backpack If You Have Weak Shoulders
Some travelers with weak shoulders prefer backpacks over single strap shoulder bags. Backpacks make your load feel lighter, thus, making your trip more pleasant. Backpacks also work better with travelers suffering from scoliosis.
Note: For travelers with back problems, it is important to choose a backpack that is lightweight and has many compartments to make the load feel lighter. Do not carry a backpack that exceeds 10 to 15% of your body weight.
SwissGear SA9769 Red Computer Backpack - Fits Most 15 Inch Laptops and Tablets
Amazon Price: $99.99 $40.51
(price as of Oct 11, 2016)
This SwissGear backpack is quite popular on Amazon and it's not hard to see why. The material is sturdy and can fit a 15.4-inch laptop. With the laptop inside, the SwissGear backpack is still roomy enough for other things such as books, smartphone, wallet, and tablet, among others. The bag's airflow system allows your sweaty back to cool so it doesn't leave a wet patch on your shirt.
Check the Airline's Baggage Policy
The baggage allowances and weight restrictions of each airline differ. Be sure to check your airline's baggage policy days before your flight. Most airlines charge ridiculously high fees for overweight luggage.
If you're worried about paying excess baggage fees when you go back to your city, you might consider bringing a portable luggage scale. Some hotels, particularly the budget hotels, don't have weighing scales, so bringing your own luggage scale is quite handy. There are many portable scales that are accurate and cost only a little over $10.
© Rainy Kua 2016