Many people rush through holiday packing only to find when they arrive that they have forgotten some essentials, and they never wear that certain outfit they packed “just in case.” This can be avoided by packing smart. The best strategy to pack smarter is planning ahead. Here are a few practical packing guidelines to travel light and efficient.
Outfit of the Day
Take a look at your itinerary and select clothing based on your planned activities and on the weather forecast of the destination. Stylishlyme recommends: “Plan what you’re going to wear morning, day and night. Plan the outfit you’ll wear to that special dinner or Sunday brunch. Plan what you’ll wear to visit museums and art galleries. If you do plan your outfits beforehand save the details on your phone.” That way, you remember everything that you packed, and exactly when and where you wanted to wear it. Always check the weather a week before arrival. If you visit a beach town during a cold snap, you will want a cardigan to wear on an evening. Pick pieces that can mix and match—for example, you could wear the same pair of shorts with several different tops, or the same cover-up over multiple swimming costumes/bikinis. Repetition and flexibility are your friends.
Wear in the Air
If your destination requires a full day of travel, make the best of all that time spent sitting. Wear items that are impractical to pack, such as pleated skirts, or that take up a lot of space, such as heeled boots. This is especially useful when moving between climates. Carrying your outerwear with you frees up room in your luggage and makes it easier to quickly bundle up.
Rock and Roll
Clothing takes up less space when it is rolled rather than folded. This is not practical for every type of fabric but can be done with basics like underwear, socks, and T-shirts. You can pack even more efficiently by tucking rolled up socks into the toes of shoes. Similarly, if you are bringing a spare handbag, use it to store your swimsuits and scarves en route. Headed to a black-tie event? Invest in a garment bag insert to keep formal clothes looking fresh on arrival and conserve suitcase space.
Master the Mini
Free up space by packing miniature versions of your toothpaste, deodorant, and hair products. You can do this cheaply by buying empty travel size containers and refilling them before each trip. Don’t limit yourself to downsizing toiletries—there are many products that come in convenient travel sizes, including lint rollers and collapsible hairbrushes. If you stay in hotels, take advantage of the pocket-size complimentary products provided and save some for your next trip.
Stashing Cash and Documents
Being able to efficiently pack your clothes and accessories is important, but it’s not the only thing you have to be concerned about when travelling. You should also have a safe and efficient way of carrying your documents and your money. Make copies of important documents such as your passport and driver’s license and travel insurance, then store those original documents in separate places from the copies (preferably protected in RFID-blocking travel bags and wallets). Don’t leave original documents unattended in a hotel room. Carry them discreetly on your person. When it comes to carrying money in a travel wallet, Nomatic recommends, “distributing your cash and credit cards between various locations…Instead of going out with all of your cash, credit cards, and ATM card, consider just taking the amount of cash you’ll need and either your credit card or your ATM card – that way you have a backup source of cash if something goes wrong.”
Remember to Prepare Your Home Too
Depending on how long you’ll be home, you might need to pack some parts of your home as well. Not to take with you, of course, but to protect them from the disuse. For example, linens and curtains can be damaged easily, and will need to be stored carefully if you do not want them damage during a long absence. Or as another example, some non-leather sofas would need to be covered to prevent any damage to the material. You can make sure the clothing you aren’t taking is packed tightly in dressers. Make sure your kitchen is clear and clean, and that everything in your home is turned off as well.
No matter your destination, you can pack smarter and prevent travelling problems by planning ahead.