This article was published on April 20th, 2014
Many travellers underestimate the importance of packing when going on a trip. Whether the trip is for business, pleasure, or both, the same basic rules apply. Here is a quick rundown of things you need to think about and do when packing a suitcase for any trip, regardless of it being an overnight visit, a weekend road trip, or flight to an exotic destination.
- Don’t leave your packing to the last minute. Last minute packing can spell disaster. This is usually when things are forgotten and extra, unnecessary items are packed. Packing should start a few days before the trip, with thoughtful consideration on what is required for the trip.
- Check the weather. Weather will play a key role in the types of clothing you pack. Check the conditions of your destination to see if you need to bring short, tank tops, flip flops and sunscreen, or a rain jacket, jeans and long-sleeved shirts.
- Pack for your activities. Go over your itinerary in detail and determine what specific types of clothing you need for each event. For instance, make sure you bring suitable footwear if you are going hiking, or a sports coat for business meetings, a cute pair of swimwear for a pool party, or your leather harness if you’re off to a pride event.
- Checklists are your best friend. If you know you will have last minute stuff to pack, like your iPhone charger, headphones, or medication, make yourself a list. Make sure every item is crossed off the list before you walk out the door.
- Think travel-size. Most frequent travellers have specific travel gear. From hard-shell luggage to travel-sized toiletries, it is purchased for the sole intent of travel. These items are not part of the day-to-day rotation, but rather are used for the exclusive purpose of travel. This alleviates the last minute packaging and reduces the need to for checked baggage. After all, frequent travellers hate to check luggage and will, at almost any cost, ensure they can go for at least 10 days with only two carry-on bags!
- Lay out your clothes. Plan your clothing by the day, or even half day. Use your itinerary to plan our which clothes you will wear. Lay them all out on your bed. Effective travelers will plan to stick within colour ranges, making items re-usable. For instance, either plan in themes of grey and black, or brown and blue, because these combinations will work in multiple ways and also reduce the amount of footwear you need to bring. Neutrals are always the safest option, choose versatile styles, and try to stick with wrinkle-free materials. Also keep in mind that most hotels have laundry service in-house or there will be a nearby Laundromat; take this into strong consideration, especially on longer trips!
- Accessories take up very little space and can add a lot of colour and flare to an outfit. These can easily be stuffed inside shoes, or outside pockets of backpacks and bags.
- Pack the largest items first. Once they are organized, then pack in breakables, liquids, creams and gels. It’s perfectly acceptable to use articles of clothing as padding. If ever in doubt of something spilling, put it in a Ziplock bag.
- There’s an on-going debate over rolling vs folding. It really takes a combination approach. Roll items that wrinkle easy, and fold items that take little space. Rolled items can take up less space, and folded items can be used as great dividers. The best advice is to wear your bulkiest items, like coats and sweaters; sure, you might be uncomfortable for a portion of your trip, but at least you have it with you! Always put shoes in plastic bags.
- Your carry on needs to have all your essentials, including a spare change of clothing in case your check bags do not arrive, medication, all your valuables and electronics, cash, and identification.