Whether you like to travel light or prefer to take all your creature comforts along with you when you travel there are certain travel packing tips you can use to help you pack.
1. Size Does Matter
These days many airlines are charging extra for luggage and you can save on average $100 or more by taking only hand luggage when you fly. This doesn’t mean you have to do without luggage in fact you can take a suitcase as carry-on luggage so long as it meets certain dimension criteria. Each airline has its own standards but the average carry-on luggage should be a maximum of 56cm by 45cm. You can also take on a handbag (purse) so this can be used to carry even more luggage. Not only will traveling with a cabin size suitcase save you money when flying with certain airlines but it will also save you time as you won’t have to wait at the luggage carrousel to pick up your bags.
If you will be staying in a 3 -5 star hotel (and usually even in bed and breakfasts and inns) you will be given complimentary toiletries so don’t use up valuable packing space by taking huge bottles of shampoo, soap or conditioner. You can contact your hotel ahead of time to find out if toiletries are provided. Remember when packing toiletries that there are restrictions on quantities of liquids allowed in the cabin. This is especially important if you are taking only carry-on luggage. Rather decant cosmetics and toiletries into smaller bottles. It is a good idea to take a few cosmetic items and toothbrush in your carry-on luggage if taking a long distance flight so that you can freshen up before landing. Check your airline for liquid quantity restrictions.
3. Packing for the Weather
Try not to be one of those travelers who takes clothing to suit every possible climate. Firstly you can check online to see what the weather forecast for your destination then plan according to that. Secondly if you are worried that it might rain (even though the weather forecast says it’s not going to) don’t pack an umbrella as you can always buy one at your destination if necessary. As for bulky coats, there are so many types of coats on the market you should be able to find one which is both water proof, light weight and warm. Don’t take more than one coat.
4. Talking of Keeping Warm…
Any traveler who has been to several cold climates will tell you that thermal underwear and a fleece jacket are more useful than a bulky coat. If you will be in a city with electricity then whenever you go indoors you’ll be stripping off your outer layer of warm clothing anyway. This becomes an uncomfortable and awkward exercise when moving in and out of heated buildings. Rather take a light weight coat and invest in some thermal underwear (long johns and thermal vests) and a fleece sweatshirt or jacket. You’ll save on luggage space and you’ll be warm both in and out doors.
5. Roll it
It has been claimed many times that rolling your individual clothing items separately and then placing them in your bag takes up less room. I personally haven’t really found this useful but you should try this out at home for yourself. I prefer to lay clothes out at flat as I can, this saves on ironing once you reach your travel destination, makes each item easily accessible and in my opinion gives you more space in your suitcase.
6. Mix and Match
Choose individual clothing items which can be mixed and matched so that with fewer items you can create different looks. Take skirts/pants which go with more than one of the tops you are taking.
Men should take one pair of evening shoes, one pair of sports shoes and one pair of casual shoes. Loafers are a good choice for men as they can be matched with both smart day wear and casual evening wear. Women should take one pair of evening shoes (heels), sports shoes, walking shoes and strappy sandals. The sandals can be worn with some evening outfits as well as during the day. For both men and women it is best to wear your heaviest shoes when flying to cut down on luggage weight. All travelers should take a pair of flip-flops to wear to the beach, pool, sauna or around the hotel room. Of course these shoe choices would be different if you were going to be doing mountain climbing or some specific sporting or activity. Almost all travel involves a lot of walking so walking shoes are the most important type of footwear to pack. Shoes take up a lot of luggage space and luggage weight so choose carefully.
8. List those Little Extras
Some of the most commonly forgotten items need to be packed at the last minute or in your handbag they include: mobile phones, passports, tickets, guide books, camera, rechargers for all the electronic gadgets, maps, pen, glasses, medicines, toiletries, hats, gloves, credit cards, money, spare batteries or memory cards. So although it may not be necessary to make a list of the clothing items you’re taking these non-clothing items could be put on a list and kept where you can check it. If you’re traveling to a place where there may not be electricity consider buying a portable solar recharger.
OK, so you could wash your underwear in the sink every night but do you want to? No. So seeing as underwear takes up very little room this is the one clothing item that you should take plenty of. Socks are vital especially if you will be sightseeing on foot, hiking or in a wet and cold climate so pack your socks generously.
10. Dirty Laundry
Either take with you, or acquire at your travel destination a large bag. As your trip progresses put your dirty laundry into the plastic (or material) bag. This will save you doing laundry on your trip and it will keep the dirty clothes separate from the clean. Once you return home simply take the whole bag of dirty laundry straight to the washing machine!
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