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Packing, that thing we all have to do before we leave home for the adventure that awaits. Over the years, I’ve fine-tuned my packing process to make it an overall better experience. While I wouldn’t completely call myself an expert packer, I have learned several tips to make packing easier and I want to share them with you. But first…
I’ll admit it. My least favorite thing about travel is packing. I downright hate it. Dread it. Procrastinate when it comes to it. But, I will also admit that there is usually something pretty great on the other side of that packing ordeal.
When this thought enters my mind, a tiny smile starts. C’mon big smile, I know you’re in there somewhere…Wait, why am I fighting this again? Oh, right. Because I don’t want to do this packing thing. Finally, after realizing this is going to have to be done regardless (and how many packing sessions will it take for this realization to occur anyway?), that excited smile appears and I get on with it. Ridiculous.
So, after your packing tantrum is over, use these unusual tips and important reminders to make your packing process easier!
1. Decorate and photograph.
Unless you have a glow-in-the-dark green suitcase with giant neon orange circles (and if you’ve seen this, by all means, do share), your bag probably looks like 100 of its closest fellow travel bags in cargo. So, decorate it. Make it stand out by adding something to set it apart.
For me, that looks like several different color ribbons, a colorful luggage tag and a neon pink handle cover with my monogram in black. Your idea of “decorating” may look entirely different and that’s awesome! Get creative and do you! For guys, I realize this is tricky. Some ideas for you are this luggage tag with your favorite sports team or this handle cover.
When you’re done packing, photograph it. Yep, photography should start before you leave home. Take photos of what is inside your checked bag and the outside of the bag itself. Should it get lost, this may help it be found quicker. Also, helps to prove what was in it for insurance purposes should that be an issue.
2. Use packing cubes.
I realize this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but think past the sheer organization of it. Packing cubes lessen the chance of needing an iron on your trip. How? Because all of your clothes don’t end up in a wrinkled heap on one side of your suitcase!
Nine years of travel and I just started using these about a year and a half ago. It was a game changer for me! I do NOT iron. Not on a trip, not at home. It comes straight out of the dryer and gets hung up or folded at home and it gets packed into a packing cube for a trip. Just say no to ironing! 😀
3. Pack a 9×12 manilla envelope.
This might seem strange, but throwing this envelope in your carry-on will not only keep papers (such as itineraries or tickets that must be printed) safe while on your trip, but it can hold brochures, receipts, postcards or anything else important to bring home. It’s a simple, inexpensive, lightweight, space-saving organizer!
4. Go with one color scheme.
Clothing wise. It makes decisions much easier. I was THAT girl who packed 8 pairs of shoes because the outfits I chose required different styles and colors. Yeah, nope. Not anymore. I pack to match one color scheme and typically, that is black. Secondary colors usually include hot pink and turquoise (shocking, I know), but I digress.
The point here is, everything either matches or coordinates with black. This sounds like stating the obvious because there isn’t much that doesn’t match black, but I’m coming from the standpoint of everything working with that one scarf or those 2-3 pairs of shoes or that necklace.
5. Don’t expand.
I love that my suitcase expands, but I never allow myself to expand it when I pack.
Not allowing for the expansion of your bag does a couple different things. One, it cuts down on the amount you take with you, therefore decreasing the overall weight of your bag. Second, you will likely have room (and hopefully weight) to bring back all those souvenirs you buy on your trip. OR if you aren’t a souvenir fan, you can then expand your suitcase if you don’t want to organize it to come home! 😉
6. Invoke the “one day in advance” rule.
Packing at least one day in advance allows you the chance to “get ready out of your suitcase” and will hopefully identify frequently used items you might have left out. Before I got packing down to a science (for the most part), this one tip saved me on several occasions!
These reminders are important for carry-on luggage. Please, please, always pack these following items in your carry-on:
This includes money, jewelry, electronics, etc. Even if you lock your luggage. TSA can still open the lock and luggage can still get lost. More commonly, TSA cuts off the lock which they aren’t supposed to do. This has happened to me three different times!!
Remember, although it isn’t likely to happen, if your checked luggage gets lost and your can’t-miss medications are inside…yeah, that’s not good. Let’s just not do that! For a handy way to pack meds, click here.
3. Passport/Important documents
How bad would it be if you got to your destination, but the document allowing you into said destination (or back home for that matter) didn’t make it? Trust me, “a trip” to your country’s embassy to start that whole process isn’t “a trip” you want to make.
4. Extra underwear
If you can, pack an entire extra outfit, but at least pack an extra pair of underwear. If your luggage or flight is delayed, you will be glad you did!
Note: I realize I have mentioned the potential for lost luggage a few times. This isn’t to scare you, but to prepare you in the unlikely event it happens. For the record, I’ve flown hundreds of times (42 flights in 2017 alone) and my luggage has only been lost once (got it back 3 days later) and delayed twice. As I mentioned above, TSA cutting off your locks and having to buy new ones happens much more often!
Do you already do any of these? Do you have any to add? Look for my packing tips for frequent travelers coming soon!
‘Til next time…