So you’ve done your research, and booked your vacation of your dreams, now for one of the dreadful parts of traveling-the packing.
In the ideal world, we would be able to travel with that cute 5 piece matching luggage set. Not pay for our overweight baggage and have a handsome bellboy waiting for us at the destination airport to help us push them all around. I’ve travelled a lot, and sadly the odds of this happening is slim to none. what I’ve learned though in my novice traveling years is that, not only can over packing be expensive, as more and more airlines are starting to charge for luggage. Some, like our so lovely Spirit airlines, who even charges for carry-ons. If paying is not a problem for you, think about the strain of pulling, pushing and lifting that you will have to endure with all that extra weight. By the time I returned home, I would be so sore that I was ready for the next vacation.
After much trial and error, I am now a pro (well almost), at packing light and keeping that extra $25-$50 baggage fee my pocket for souvenirs or towards the next getaway.
- Try and plan your outfits. Think about places that may want to dine, what will be necessary for your excursions and build your suitcase/bag around those items. Also, it is always wise to check out the local weather. Both morning and night, as I learned in my recent trip to Dubai (check out my previous post “Things I wish I knew..”)
- What to bring Shirts or dresses
should only bring enough for each day of your trip minus three. Pants: a pair of jeans for every other day minus 2.
- Shoes: two pairs of casual shoes (ie a pair of sandals and a pair of sneakers) and a pair of formal kicks. Ladies, you do not need a pair of shoes for each outfit. Try to only bring clothes that can be worn with the same shoe. I once traveled to Dominican Republic with a suitcase full of shoes, and returned home having worn none.
- Undergarments: I am sure mom has already conditions us for this one. Remember to pack a clean pair of socks, undershirts, and underwear for everyday of your trip. When packing, Pack as many socks and undergarments into your shoes as will fit, then set the shoes in the bottom of the bag. This will not only save space, but will serve as the first layer of your bag and provide protection from all the bumps and bruises the bag will surely endure during transport.
- Toiletries: If you’re planning on putting your toiletries in your carry on, remember that it must be able to pass through security, be sure to get everything in travel-size bottles and pack them per TSA regulations. If the plan is to check them in, your best bet would be to put them in a zip lock bag, this will help you conserve space, and protect the rest of your luggage in the event that one of the bottles, break open during travel.
Now that you’ve laid out all that you want to bring, here comes the hard part. Getting it all to fit in the least amount of luggage and still having room left for the return souvenirs. When it comes to cramming all those clothes, there are only two good choices, folding vs. rolling. Folded clothes are less likely to wrinkle but will end up taking up more space in the luggage. On the other hand, when rolled up, clothes are more likely to arrive to your destination wrinkled, but will only take up a fraction of the space compared to when they are folded.
So, when choosing clothes try and stick to Soft, wrinkle-resistant materials like knits, wool, and cotton as they can all be rolled without much concern. Keep in mind that each item should be rolled tightly as loose rolling will result in wrinkles, regardless of the material. Starched garments like collared shirts and dressier items should always be folded. Combining both rolling and folding should be enough to let you cram everything in your bag, with left over space and still avoid looking a hot mess while vacationing.
When placing all of your items in the bag, your best bet is to think of it like baking a cake.
The first layer or crust, should be the shoes stuffed with undergarments.
The second layer in your bag, on top of your shoes, should be all of your heavier rolled items such as jeans, sweaters, and towels. This should be followed by any fragile items that aren’t being brought as carry-on. Expensive items such as laptops, cameras and jewelry go here. By placing them on top of the heavy rolls like towels and jeans, they will be more likely to arrive to your destination in one piece. Think of this as the fruit filling.
The next layer (soft crust) should consist of lighter rolled items like t-shirts swimwear.
On top of them, place your folded items. If possible, keep them in a dry cleaning bag. This will help minimize wrinkle and provide easy access to them once you arrive to your destination, allowing you to unfold and hang them right away.
Last, on the very top, you place the toiletries.
Now you’re ready to roll!
Really, roll those bags to your nearest airport and get going!
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