Packing a bag for any type of trip can be a daunting task.
There are so many possibilities, so many things that could go wrong. It’s hard to know where to start.
My first and most important piece of advice is this:
“The key to effective packing is finding clothes to fit your luggage, not luggage to fit your clothes.”
Here are some other packing tips to help keep you on track when preparing for your next trip. Follow the Dos, avoid the Don’ts.
☑ Do choose your luggage before choosing what to pack inside – otherwise you might gather too many items and need to buy a huge suitcase or rucksack just to fit them all in.
☑ Do consider your travel style and trip duration when choosing your luggage and compiling your packing list – it might influence your choices more than you think.
☑ Do try to pack as small as possible – 9 times out of 10 you’ll thank yourself for the reduced hassle and cost.
☑ Do pack a hard drive if you intend to take lots of pictures – the backup will be a lifesaver if your camera is stolen (you can even buy special SD card readers that plug directly into hard drives so no need for WiFi or intermediary laptops).
☑ Do research about the availability of certain products at your destination – items like DEET insect repellent and high factor sunscreen can be difficult to purchase in certain areas of the world.
☑ Do choose items based on their practicality – if you’re keen to save space then you might have to sacrifice on the looks!
☑ Do pack your liquid toiletries in multiple plastic bags – the last thing you want is a leaky shampoo bottle spilling inside your luggage.
☑ Do secure your luggage with a padlock when unattended – a TSA-approved lock is best (these allow security services to open, inspect and re-lock your luggage without damaging it).
☑ Do pack a first aid kit – one day you (or someone else around you) will need it.
Taking a smartphone with you on your next trip? Here are my top 10 favourite apps to use whilst travelling.
❌ Don’t leave large amounts of air space in your checked luggage – this will result in your contents shifting during transit and potentially getting damaged.
❌ Don’t take all your favourite clothes – it’s probably overkill and just not necessary.
❌ Don’t leave yourself short in the footwear department – shoes are one of the hardest things to buy and get right first time. If you think you’ll need your walking boots, take them.
❌ Don’t pack all your valuables into the same bag (if possible) – if it gets stolen then that’s everything gone at once.
❌ Don’t believe the packing cube myth – they’re actually for organisational purposes, not space-saving.
❌ Don’t pack all your heavy and dense items on one side of your bag – you’ll end up with a top-heavy or lopsided piece of luggage.
❌ Don’t be afraid to chuck out broken/unused/obsolete items whilst travelling – if it’s dead weight then get rid of it!
❌ Don’t forget the packing mantra – “The key to effective packing is finding clothes to fit your luggage, not luggage to fit your clothes.”