Most of us love to travel, whether for a relaxing vacation or just going to someplace new. But ask people what they like least about the experience, and invariably most will say the packing. The process of packing can cause so much stress that it’s enough to put you off the idea of vacationing. Yet, we all know those people who appear so organized when they travel. Somehow, they are able to pack their suitcase at a moment’s notice and still know exactly what to bring. How do they do it? The secret is technique and some advanced planning. I’m going to share some tips and tricks so that you too can pack like a pro.
Activities and weather
The first thing to consider is the activities at your destination so you can pack appropriately. Are you
planning on doing sports or just relaxing at a resort? Perhaps you’re travelling for a family
wedding? Next, check the weather forecast of your destination; find out the climate and temperature in advance. All this will determine what you’ll need to bring.
Before you pack anything, lay out on the bed everything you want to take. Try to eliminate everything that isn’t essential. It’s a good idea to create a capsule wardrobe by sticking to a base palette of two or three colors. That way you can mix and match all your items, and create more outfit combinations with fewer clothes. You can add extra color and interest to your outfits with accessories. At this stage, choose what clothes you’ll be wearing on the day you travel. If possible, wear the heaviest shoes to keep your case lighter. It’s also advisable to carry a sweater (even if you’re travelling somewhere hot) in case of chilly airconditioning. Plus, it saves some room in your
Instead of taking full-size containers that take up space and add weight, decant toiletries into smaller travel-sized bottles. A clever trick to prevent leakages is to place a square of plastic kitchen wrap over the bottle before you screw on the lid. As an extra precaution, store bottles in a leak- proof bag; you can also wrap a towel around it.
How to pack your case
• Place heavy items at the bottom of your suitcase. Lighter items, and those that are likely to crease, go on the top.
• Start with your shoes. Fill them with small items like socks,in small resealable bags. This helps the shoes keep their shape and uses every bit of available space. Place shoes in bags to prevent damage or staining of other clothing items. You can use special shoe
pouches if you like – but regular plastic bags will also work fine. Pack each pair heel to toe, which will
help to create a flat base.
• Place your toiletry bag in the center of your case. This will give those containers maximum protection and prevent any excessive pressure against them during transit.
• Stuff the gaps with small items, like socks and underwear, to create an even base. Preferably, pack them in small bags first, according to item. This will make it easier to locate everything when you unpack.
• T-shirts and other items that don’t crease much can be folded and rolled up. This will maximise the space. Place them in one layer, working from one side of the case to the other.
• Longer items like skirts or dresses can be layered on top of one another in the suitcase with the long end hanging out of the side, and with each layer on an alternate side. Fold them one over the other in an overlap formation.
• A jacket should be placed sideways in the centre of the suitcase. Fold one arm over the other and
stuff the shoulder area with small items of clothing to hold the shape. Next, place some smaller garments (such as tops and shirts) on top of the jacket. Finally, fold the end of the jacket over
to prevent heavy crease marks.
• If you have delicate necklaces, thread them through drinking straws to prevent them from getting tangled up. Alternatively, place them between two layers of press-and-seal plastic wrap. Then roll up and store somewhere safe.
• If you’re packing for a family and travelling by plane, it’s advisable to divide your family’s clothes between the cases. That way if one case gets lost, you’ll all still have some clothing.
• For security, keep a photocopy of your passport and travel documents in a separate place from your passport. Alternatively, scan them and email a copy to yourself.
• Another little travel hack is to hide some emergency cash in an empty lip balm tube.