Packing for Vacation:
Packing for a vacation is every-one’s nightmare, although many of us love to travel, very few of us love to pack! Packing usually comes at a bad day too – people often finish work one day and fly the next, or even later that night! Packing is squeezed into the time between, when you tend to be at your most stressed. As with most things – if you have a plan things will be easier and less-stressed – I’m sorry I can’t promise stress free! Efficient packing should ideally mean that you return from holiday having used everything you took more than once! So lets start with what to take.
Tips to Pack: What to Take
- Choose clothes appropriate for the climate. If you are going somewhere warm and leaving a cold climate consider leaving a set of warm clothes in the car if you are leaving it at the airport, or with friends if you are being collected.
- Stick with one basic colour scheme preferably a dark one which won’t show marks and wrinkles so much. Make clothing items do double duty, mens shorts can be double as swimming trunks. A shirt can layer over a dress in place of a jacket.
- Take multiple thinner items which can be layered instead of one bulky heavier piece. Thermal underwear is fantastic for cooler climates.
- Shoes are always difficult: heavy and bulky. Try to wear your most cumbersome pair on the plane. I try to limit myself to just one pair, comfortable for walking distances. If you want flip flops, you can always buy a cheap pair abroad.
- Toiletries: take a minimum. If you are only going on a short trip take sample sizes. If, however, you are traveling for a long time then don’t take 6 months supply – you can buy almost anything anywhere these days.
- Liquid soap and shampoo can be used interchangeably – you don’t need both. You can buy solid shave soap which is lot more compact than carrying a shaving foam or gel.
- If you’re flying don’t take brand new bottles of liquid – the liquid will expand slightly as the lower pressures on the plane and leak – use each bottle once to avoid this problem. Stay within the airline’s restrictions of allowable measurements concerning liquids.
- Make sure your toiletries bag is actually waterproof – a surprising number aren’t and bottles do break.
- Credit cards – preferably two in case one is lost or broken or eaten by the ATM. Debit card – make sure your bank has authorized it’s use outside of the country.
- Details of your insurance policy. Important phone numbers or email addresses of medical specialists, family, work, anyone you may need to contact if something occurs to delay your return.
What Not to Pack!
- Anything you are taking “just in case”. If something happens last minute, take the opportunity to go shopping!
- A cellphone unless you know it work at your destination and you know what the roaming charges are. Just be prepared for the bill!
- Anything electronic unless you are sure you can plug them in / charge them at your destination.
- Anything you are sentimentally attached to, particularly jewellery – you may have it stolen but far more likely you may just misplace it or leave it behind.
How to Pack your Bags
- Before you start lay everything out on a spare bed or other space so that you can see it all. Now might be a good time to reassess what you actually need to take!
- Start collecting items a few days early – particularly if you are taking out of season clothing this is easy to do. If you are taking items you are regularly wearing it will remind you to add them to the pile as you launder them and to stop you accidentally wearing them before departure! Remember that what you are wearing on departure day is included in the pile too!
Tips for Packing a Backpack
- To get the correct weight distribution heavier items should be near your back and higher in the pack.
- Use plastic bags or packing cubes to keep similar items together.
- Pack electronic and breakables near the centre padding them with clothing. Putting small items inside socks can work.
Packing a suitcase
- Place heaviest items at the bottom, especially for pull along bags this adds stability.
- Pack fragile items towards the centre.
- Fold similar clothes together e.g. all trousers, all shirts folded together to minimise creasing and pack efficiently. Rolling works as well.
Other Tips before Leaving Home
- Arrange for mail to be held or collected by neighbours. Let your neighbours know if you are going to be away.
- Inform your insurance company you are going to be away.
- Think about any bills that may come due while you are away and make arrangements – you don’t want to come home to discover the power has been cut off!
- Check the fridge / kitchen for perishables and dispose of them. Take the garbage out!
- Clean – there is nothing worse that coming back to a dirty house – especially if you are already depressed about coming home! Even better arrange for a cleaning service while you are away!