Monday, August 15, 2022

Packing Tips


The thing about traveling is that one has to learn to pack smarter so you take what you need without resorting to the sit on your suitcase to get it closed.  When I was a teenager, I resorted to that but now, I've learned to pack better so I have room.  I always take a medium sized roller bag, a backpack, and small bag for things like my iPad, cords, etc.

The first thing I do is to check out the luggage rules of the airline I am using to see what the weight limits are so I can plan ahead. If it is an airline that require you to pay for a bag, it is good to know ahead of time.  Most of the airlines I travel on, give me one bag but I still check so I don't get a shock at checkin.  If I decide I don't want to pay the fee, I figure out how to get it all into a backpack and a small personal item.

The second thing I do before I even start packing is to sit down and create a list of things I want to pack.  I check temperatures at my destination so I know what to pack. For instance, although it is winter here in Auckland, the temperatures are quite nice and no cooler than Alaska during the late summer so I knew I didn't need a heavy coat but if I was going to Iceland at Christmas, I would take a heavy coat.  Will it be warm enough to take shorts or a swim suit.

I think about how many days I'll be gone and what clothing am I taking that can easily be washed in the bathroom sink.  I usually do shirts and underwear but I have done long pants there too.  So I figure out what the minimum I really need is but be aware that if you wash things in your room, they may take a couple days to dry depending on the humidity so prepare for that.  

Let's start with the suitcase.  I use a combination of packing cubes with rolling clothing.  When you roll the clothing, you can fit more into the available area and when you put it in packing cubes, the cubes can squeeze the clothing together so it takes less space.  I like using a packing cube for my underwear, bras, and socks. I use another cube for shirts and shorts, and another for my flannel lounging pants, sleep gear, swim suits, and other odds and ends. I put my jeans in a final cube.  One note that I've begun purchasing long pants that you can unzip and you have a pair of shorts which means I have one less thing to pack since one pair can be worn in two different ways.

Not long ago, I invested a lovely three layer hanging suitcase organizer that takes my underwear, bras, swimsuit, shirts, sleepwear and some shorts.  I use the same rolling technique but once I have it all filled, I use the straps to fasten it and it uses one eighth of my suitcase.  When I get where I"m going, I can easily unfasten it and hang it up in a closet so I don't have to unpack.  I really like it because it means I use fewer packing cubes.

I throw all my skin care products along with my toothpaste and floss, into a toiletries bag and I use ziplock bags for my hair products since I can't get by without them but I've gotten it down to solid shampoo and conditioner, a bottle of leave in conditioner, and spray oil to keep my hair under control with a wide toothed comb.  I have another ziplock back for basic makeup and odds and ends.  I wear one pair of shoes and the other goes into my backpack because I have a pocket for shoes.  One thing I always carry is laundry detergent.  You can take some liquid detergent in a travel container, purchase some liquid detergent in small packets designed for travelers, or get the sheets that can be torn up, dissolved in the water and then used to wash your clothing. They all work well when traveling.

In my suitcase, I put my hoodie and windbreaker while I wear my sweater and any other clothing I stuff around things in the zippered part of my suitcase.  In my backpack, I have any extra cords, my computer, masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, diary, pens, notebooks etc.  I keep my passport, wallet, etc in my small bag that rides on top of my suitcase.  I also place my meds in the carry one so if my luggage gets delayed, I don't have to panic.

One thing I pack extras of are sunglasses and reading glasses because I have a tendency to loose them.  I usually have three to four extra pair.  I also make sure I have some feminine products just incase something arrives a bit early.  I like being prepared and I don't want to have to figure out where I need to go to get them in a foreign country when I don't know the language well.  I never learned the words for that in any of the languages I've learned.

I usually have extra room available to I can buy things overseas and I'm able to bring them home without going over my weight allowance.  Every time I travel, I end up telling myself, I've packed way to much but I justify it by telling myself that if I end up stuck somewhere at least I have enough to survive with.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.

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