Getting ready for a trip can be a tricky task. You’re about to set off for a long trip or a week in an exotic location or, even just a weekend trip to a nearby city.
Yet somehow many of us lend up packing more than we actually lend up using. If you’re like most people, we tend to pack for “just in case I need this” situations. Obviously, that’s not the case for everyone. Some people go completely minimalist and pack practically next to nothing!
However, if you tend to fall into the category of agonizing on what to pack or looking for hacks to make the whole process easier, here are four tips that will help.
Take the right clothing for the right climate
Take the time to check out the current weather conditions of your destination. This is so much easier now with the internet where everything is practically available with a simple search online.
Obviously, it’s impossible to completely predict the weather so it’s a good idea to have alternatives which are light and comfortable.
For example, if there’s chance of rain, take a simple lightweight waterproof jacket. It might not be exactly the style or ‘look’ you would like to have when you’re travelling but you’re going on a holiday, not a fashion show.
Perhaps the most important piece of clothing to think about are your shoes. Here again, stick to comfortable footwear because there’s a good chance you’ll be doing a fair bit of walking around (unless you happen to be staying at a beach for the whole time).
When it comes to footwear, try to wear the heaviest shoes on your flight and pack the lighter ones in your luggage (take some spare plastic bags as well to put your shoes in if they get wet).
The same principle applies if you’re heading for a colder climate: try to wear the heaviest and bulkiest items on your flight and pack the lighter clothing in your bag.
Organising your bag
Although it seems pretty obvious, simply pack things in sections. Start by figuring out many of each main category of clothing you’re going to need. For example, the categories would include undergarments, T-shirts, shirts or blouses, trousers / shorts / jeans and finally one or maybe two pieces of footwear (for example, lightweight slippers might make your stay in the hotel room or AirBnB accommodation more comfortable). Of course, don’t forget to leave space for your toiletries as well.
You’ll probably find that you’ll be overpacking, so a good process is to start by packing and weighing your bag first. And then take a second look and think it through because you could probably easily get rid of 30% of the things you packed in the first place.
Plus, don’t forget to leave some space because most people buy souvenirs or clothing when they go on their travels.
A simple way to save space is to do things like putting objects into your shoes: for example, stuffing socks or other items.
And to reduce weight and need to take creams / gels, consider putting them in smaller containers if you possibly can.
Pack other essential travelling accessories
Most of us take multiple electronic devices with us when we travel (and of course, ladies may have some beauty accessories too).
So make sure you pack one or even two (if there are several of you travelling) cable extensions and at least two travel adapters. These are not heavy items but essential so that you have enough sockets to charge or power your electric / electronic devices.
In addition, make sure you pack any medicine you need including headache and stomach aches tablets. Also take a few plasters with you as well (in case you cut yourself or get blisters with so much walking around).
Also, a small sewing kit, a small pair of scissors and a few spare batteries can come in handy as well.
Finally, it’s not a bad idea to pack a small backpack as well (unless you’re going to use one as your hand luggage).
Don’t forget there are local laundry services
If you’re going on a somewhat longer trip, the tendency is to take everything including the ‘kitchen sink’.
Once again, however, you need to balance to the need for clothing with weight considerations and also, the last thing you need on a holiday is to move heavy luggage around with you (especially if you’re going to be moving around quite a bit).
But most hotels or AirBnB locations will have laundry facilities and failing that, they’ll be a good chance that you can find a local laundry service / Laundromat.
Final Considerations: Travel Documentation
Always keep a photocopy of your passport and any other travel documents with you in another bag. Also, take a note of any emergency numbers you’ll need such as your country’s consulate services or insurance company. Even better scan and keep a copy of all these details on your smartphone.
Also, it’s imperative to make sure you have any visas in place well before you travel: the last thing you need is to be denied entry into any country.
Either check with the airline itself or do the research online before travelling but whatever you do, make sure you sort these out well before you travel.
Between the US and Europe this is fairly straightforward. If you’re travelling to the US and your country qualifies, all you need to do is get an ESTA visa exemption (to see if your country qualifies, see this ESTA guide). For US citizens, travelling to the Europe is pretty homogeneous since the European Union has a standard arrangement with the United States authorities (although the process will change in 2021 when the EU will introduce the new ETIAS visa waiver system).