Travelling is supposed to be fun. Packing for travelling can be a challenge though. So I present to you my introduction to packing like a pro. I have updated it in order to provide you with more information and a few videos will help you see what I mean. These tips could help spend less time packing and more time travelling because travelling shouldn’t become a chore because of packing.
Research the local style of the place you are going to. If you don’t mind standing out that’s fine as well. But, most people don’t want to like a tourist whilst travelling. Europeans tend to wear jeans and sneakers (takkies). It’s the standard dress code. I love wearing dresses so I rocked my dresses all over Europe and got stared all the time. I just can’t cram my own style literally unless it’s a legal requirement.
Knowing what the locals wear can be important though. If you are going to a Cathedral know that you can be refused entry if you don’t dress appropriately. Covered shoulders and dresses below the knee are acceptable. In certain countries, you need to wear a scarf if you are female. You need to know this or else you will be charged with breaking the dress code.
You don’t want to be stuck with lots of luggage. Also, low-cost airlines like Ryanair will charge you if your luggage exceeds limits.
Pack with activities in mind
Going to the beach? Pack a swimsuit then. Sunscreen, sandals, sunglasses you get the idea. If you are going to formal events like the opera pack evening wear. If your travel budget is limited you don’t want to be buying these things.
These boots were made for travelling
I’m making this a separate point because it’s very important you need comfy shoes. If you don’t have good shoes invest in them. Chances are you will be walking around a lot, you don’t have time for blistered feet.
Check that your shoes are waterproof too if you intend to travel in winter. You might need waterproof shoes if you decide to hike to and have to cross streams etc. Don’t be like me I had soaking wet feet during my day trip to Paris. I didn’t know that my boots weren’t waterproof. Pack walking shoes that have been broken into brand new shoes might end up hurting your feet. Comfort is important since for most people travelling includes a lot of walking.
Shoes do take up a lot of space when packing though. So don’t pack too many pairs. About 3 pairs should be enough. Sneakers (takkies), sandals and formal shoes. Sandals can be worn as bedroom slippers if need be. For women flat ballet pumps are great. They can be used when dressing more formally or when you want a casual look. Use the space inside of your shoes to store soaks or any other smaller items.
Roll up your clothes it saves space. If you do this there will be fewer creases too. Click here for a how-to video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17smmlESBls
Find out policy
Know the baggage policy of the airline you are travelling with. The same applies to trains and buses.
Pack clothes that are versatile. There are items for women which are designed to be a skirt, a dress, a scarf etc. I had a handbag which could be made smaller or bigger depending on my outfit. You don’t have to buy versatile items though if you don’t want to. Pack scarfs, wraps and muted colours which can be mixed and matched with accessories. So black or blue jeans, t-shirts, a white shirt. For women include a little black dress. These basic items can be dressed up with accessories. There’s also YouTube tutorials showing how to make one wrap into different kinds of clothing items. Plus if you are going on a beach trip why not take a sarong with instead of a beach towel. Towels tend to take up lots of space and aren’t versatile. Click here to see an example of a Youtube video which shows how one piece of fabric can be turned into multiple items:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kn1yLZUPN7g
You might be able to wash your clothes. Do pack in laundry detergent (washing powder) and a sink stopper. If it’s too much of a hassle you could buy these items upon arrival though. You might have to wash your clothes in a sink if the laundry service is too expensive.
Avoid the crease
Pack fabrics which aren’t prone to creasing like wool and nylon. Alternatively, you can pack on a travel steamer. Personally that too much effort for me.
Start packing early rushing leaves room for you to forget things.
Pack your softer fabrics at the bottom of your case. Jeans and other harder fabric items should be packed on top. This will help prevent creasing.
You can have a standard size backpack as your hand luggage. This bag can later be used whilst travelling in your destination. I don’t really love backpacks though. They make me feel too touristy. I opted for a medium sling bag instead. And smaller backpacks, I’m short so wearing bug backpacks make me feel smaller. In your hand luggage pack an extra outfit if possible. In case your luggage goes missing. Packing all your key valuables in your hand luggage is also a good idea. Documents, jewellery and electronic devices should be packed in your hand luggage.
Use hard bar soap and shampoo if possible. If you don’t want to make sure your liquid items have no air bubbles. You don’t want your luggage full of leaked shampoo.
Carry wet wipes, dry shampoo, dental gum and deodorant in your hand luggage. If you are travelling far distances freshening up in a tiny bathroom might be all you have time for. I had to travel dirty at times since my tour bus only stopped and gas (petrol) stations. I only had ten minutes at some stops to brush my teeth and freshen up. Wet wipes and dry shampoo saved me from being a smelly traveller.
I used travel-sized toiletries. Like I said I went on day trips and weekend away trips often. Lugging a huge bottle of shampoo around would have just been annoying.
Pack clothes that you can layer. T-shirts that can be worn under your shirt. Shawls for ladies a cardigan things that aren’t bulky but which can still provide warmth. I had a go-to long grey woollen cardigan.
I wore it at night could tie it around my waist or on to my bag. I used it as a blanket during train and bus travel or as a pillow seat when sitting on a hard chair. To get more in-depth tips on layering click the link: https://blog.tortugabackpacks.com/best-travel-clothes-for-layering/
Make a list of things you intend to pack. Tick items off as you go along. This will prevent you from forgetting anything.
A lot of people suggest that you use travel cubes. I feel like they are overrated. Use ziplock bags to separate items which could spill.
Take a canvas or duffel bag with. If you intend on buying souvenirs. You can check in the bag afterwards if you need to, on your way back home. Ideally, you should leave room in your luggage for souvenirs but, this isn’t always possible.
After packing your clothes, you can pack a folded black bag on top of your things. This will stop your clothes from getting wet if you end up arriving in the rain.
Don’t forget to grab plastic bags or a shower cap. You can put your wet swimwear in it. Plastic bags are also good to store dirty clothes in
I studied in Germany for a year and I travelled around frequently this meant lots of shopping trips. I donated clothes I didn’t want to take back home with me. I also gave some things to friends or friends of friends. I read that some travelers throw away their clothes, this is just wasteful. Rather donate it, a simple online search can help you find places where you can donate clothes.
May your packing be a breeze. Please let me know what your packing tips are. I’d love to know and I add to this list, whilst crediting you of course.
Happy travels 😊
xxx Nikki xxx