Baby Got Pack

Per the Travel Blog Code item number 7r5372 every travel blog is required to offer you packing tips. Here are mine:

packing-tips

Pro tip: Only pack the essentials!

People say to roll clothes to save space. I’m pretty indifferent to this approach, as I find that rolling some clothing still leaves them wrinkled (if not more so) but this is coming from somone who can never get both ends of my yoga mat to lay flat so maybe it’s just me. Plus when you roll your clothes to maximize space in your suitcase you also have to roll your clothes to put them back. If you’re staying in more then one place as I often do on long trips this makes it more work to repack each time, and to separate dirty clothes from clean ones, as I like to do. I like to carry a homemade laundry spray. I take out whatever I’m going to use that portion of the stay, spray it, then hang it in the bathroom while I shower. I also keep a dryer sheet or two in my suitcas to keep clothes smelling fresh when I’m on long trips. When it comes to what to pack, clothing-wise. I found a great blog called livelovesara.com that posts packing lists for various trips. I pare her packs down a bit but it’s an incredible jumping off point if you’re looking to get the most out of your pack without taking your whole closet OR sacrificing style.

Compartmentalize. I love tiny bags. Everything stays separate so that if I need something I don’t have to unpack everything (unless it’s shoes, that’s always a process-write post on how to pack intimates, jewelry, electronics etc into shoes and how to pack items like wine, olive oil, etc into shoes for returns) to get to it. Especially good if checking bags-keep one of everything you’ll need (clothing, shoes, accessories, toiletries, etc) in your carry-on incase of lost luggage. Put smaller items inside your shoes or toiletry bags or the pockets of a jacket. Jewelry, underwear, socks, non-liquid toiletries. You get the idea.

To roll or to carry? Rolling suitcases are ideal for lots of transfers and or long walks with your luggage. Duffels are great for lighter packs that will allow you to carry on everything. When I travel internationally I usually carry on a hard roller bag with a soft duffel packed inside to my destination, then check the roller bag with wine/olive oil/other goodies I can’t carry on for my return trip to the States.  And I always pack an empty bag. Whether for day tripping or for bringing home goodies, you’ll want more space once you’ve arrived at your destination. That said, always check baggage policies for your return flights/airports and any travel during your stay like trains, ferries, etc (usually not a problem).

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Totally what this is actually for.

It’s electric, boogie woogie oogie! If you don’t Instagram your trip did it even happen? Who wants to deal with a dead battery on the road? Know what electronics and accessories you’ll need before you hit the road and pack accordingly. I almost always travel with my Macbook Air so I generally bring the following: Laptop with wall charger, iphone with USB charger (plug into laptop), car USB adapter if driving, wall adapter for overseas travel, for longer trips I have a ____ battery that holds seven full charges. It’s amazing and I’ve totally never used it at home because I’m too lazy to plug my phone in. Not even once.

If you travel with your computer a bag with a laptop compartment is clutch. For shorter or more business-focused trips I use the Knomo Beauchamp backpack. I love it because it’s insanely practical (very small and lightweight but holds everything I need and then some) AND I get compliments everywhere I go. For overseas or longer trips I use the Kaukko 15L Unisex Backpack. It’s huge and has a laptop compartment. I see them almost everywhere I go, too. I always keep a pair of flip flops in my laptop compartment with my computer. Perfect fit!

It’s always a good idea to have copies of important documents. I use Google Docs to store copies of passports, IDs and confirmations. I also print these things out and bring hard copies because deep down I am an old lady. There are also plenty of travel apps that will help you keep your trip organized in one place.

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Bags on bags on bags.

If you travel a lot and for different puposes (like work vs personal vs volunteering, etc) have a “Go bag”. Because I travel so much I basically have a least two of everything. That may seem wasteful or unnecessary but if you travel even once a month you’ll be surprised how affordable this actually is (see note about travel toiletries below). My Go Bag consists of several small bags that I can throw in a suitcase with whatever clothing and shoes I need to travel with, depending on the purpose.

  • Dopp kit: Travel toiletries, comb, razor
  • Plane kit: Meds (things like pain killers, acetaminophen, antacids), wipes, condoms, ear plugs, sleep mask, nail file, sewing kit.
  • Makeup bag: (I have one of these for work that’s the full tv treatment and one for personal trips that’s basically tinted moisturizer, mascara and lip colors)

Refilling the bags seems tedious but I’ve just gotten into the habit of taking stock before returning or on my way home, then restocking while I watch Netflix do my trip laundry. Don’t have a zillion tiny travel bags (Why not? Who even are you?)? I use a $10/month makeup sample service called Ipsy. While I frequently find products that I love, I’d spend the $10/month just for the bags!

Travel toiletries are expensive and wasteful. Buy them once (if at all, you can find plenty of travel toiletry containers) and refill them between trips. Toothpaste is the only thing I actually buy anymore, everything else I can refill at home or restock from my hotel stays.

On that note, raid your hotel room mini bar toiletries! You’re paying for them so anything you don’t use up during your stay may come in handy. Besides the obvious forgotten toothbrush or razor, you can keep shampoo/conditioner/lotion/etc bottles and refill them for future trips. Some hotels offer facial wipes so you can restock on the road. Laundry bags can also get a lot of mileage for things like, well, laundry (shut up) and shoe covers to keep the clean clothes in your bag clean until you spill the mini bar wine on wear them.

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Just like home.

Sometimes if I don’t know if I’ll need something relatively inexpensive (like a light jacket or a specific accessory) and I’m going somewhere I know I can shop I don’t bother packing it. If I do need that item I’ll just buy it on my trip and them I’ve got the thing I need AND a souvenir I’ll actually use back home. And ladies-buy a poncho. It’s a blanket for the plane, a bathing suit cover up/towel for the pool/beach/spa, and an additional layer. My poncho is the one thing I pack no matter the destination or season. Mine is from H&M and is relatively heavy which makes it a better towel than beach cover up but it has served me very well for MANY trips.

Trip Advisor’s Top Tips To Pack Smart offers a great tip to those traveling as a company of two or more: Split your clothes between two suitcases on the off chance one of them gets lost during the flight. I also love user mms30’s tip to wear worn out clothing on the trip and then throw it away, though I might suggest finding a charity at your destination you can donate to rather than just pitching it. If you’re going to be doing something like hiking (or have zero problem wearing your raggedy-ass shit through Heathrow) this tip will not only lighten your load as you go but will free up extra space to bring back that Scottish bartender you met in Copenhagen.

Snacks. There can never be too many snacks, right? (No. The answer is no. Stop thinking about your stupid diet and go with me on this.) Food in most any transportation center is stupid expensive, so bring your own. Nuts, popcorn, jerky, apples or make your own concoction. Obviously some method of transportation limit some things (like liquids on planes) but as long as you know the rules you can bring plenty of fuel to keep you going for your trip. I brought pork rinds from Seoul Food Meat Co that lasted me for a good week in Scandinavia. Those things are like Twinkies. Once you get to your destination swing by a grocery stor for things like bottled water and fruit (or more if you have a fridge or kitchenette-I love to visit local dining spots but minimizing meals out can really save you money on the road).

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So Cosmo says you’re fat?

What are your favorite packing tips/tricks? I’d love to hear from you!

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