Planning to pack for a trip is almost as important as taking the trip itself! With good planning you can count on getting off to a great start. These easy and simple packing planning tips will start your trip off on the right foot. They work for any destination and any length of trip.
In General . . .
Start planning no later than one week before you leave. Take time to prepare and have fun with it. Focus on packing light.?
Take one bag.
Take one bag.
Make it a light bag. The idea is to carry your bag with you at all times. Take it onto any mode of transport: plane, boat, train or bus. Mobility and freedom are the benefits. Also, if your bag is with you it is not with thieves who target tourists. Take charge of your trip success and set a goal to take one light bag.
Planning . . .
Make a plan
Stick to it. Use a checklist that lists everything you will take. If you have no idea what to take use our checklist.
Lay each item out. Practice packing everything into your bag. Then, go out and carry it around for an hour or so. Once you get home focus on what you can eliminate. It always happens that you wind up carrying your bag more than you think when traveling.
Pack for 5 Days
Regardless of how long you travel pack for 5 days.
Clothing . . .
Leave the blue jeans home
They take forever to dry and never seem to come back clean and soft from laundries.
Quick drying material
Clothes choices should be made up of items of light weight, quick drying material. One, they can be quickly hand washed and dried in a hotel sink overnight in an emergency. Two, these fabrics tend to be more wrinkle resistant.
Lay out your clothes choices
You need to see them. Look for combinations of outfits. Weed out and leave home single use items. Forget clothes for every occasion. The world generally has a relaxed dress code, showing almost universal leniency to tourists.
Darker colors are best
Look to blues, grays, beiges and blacks to pack. Dark colors look better longer and will also get you through more formal dinners and plays. Avoid packing anything white. It will come home gray.
Make it wind and rain proof. Preferably, it has a hood as well.
Leave the new shoes home. Make sure the ones you take are comfortable, broken in and made for walking. Take a pair of sandals, preferably the water walking kind. They can double as shower shoes.
Toiletries . . .
Keep toiletries limited
Take only essentials, otherwise leave them on your home. You can shop for lotions, film, toiletries and other items at your destination – it can be an exciting and fun activity! Bottom line: keep your list of requirements small since most items can be replaced or purchased on the road.
Take small quantities
Pack the small sample containers – get them at drug stores or pharmacies – of your favorites. You can fill your own small plastic bottles but if you do keep space at the top of the bottle for those pressurized airplanes – POP!
Pack them into a waterproof case
Whether its zippered or a zip lock bag, isolate toiletries from clothing in luggage in case of a leak. Group similar types of toiletries into each plastic bag. For example, sunscreen with hand lotion, toothpaste with toothbrush. In case of a leak only an isolated part of your toiletries will be a mess. Also, if your toothpaste leaks all over your toothbrush it’s a simple mess clean up instead of having to discard anything.
Medications . . .
Take medications in original prescription bottles
This will save you time and long explanations in foreign country customs and more importantly – returning home.
Leave vitamins and supplements home
If you take them, pack small original containers or plastic ones with snap tight lids or take small bottles of them in original containers. Place all of them into one zippered case or zip lock bag. With plain plastic containers, write “vitamins’ on the case and toss the label off the original bottle into the bag as well. Be prepared for questions at Customs.
Valuables . . .
Take only one credit card. Add an ATM card, a debit card and about $500.00 in cash. Some people still take travelers checks and we recommend it, too.
Take one and use it. This single travel packing tip can make or break your trip. Keep the credit, ATM and debit cards there unless you are shopping. Carry about $500.00 in cash at any time and keep the rest f it in your money belt. Depending upon what you are doing, keep you passport in it too.
Passports are as valuable as cash to thieves. Unless crossing borders keep it tucked away in your money belt. Keep it with you at all times. If you carry it keep it in your waist pack. Before leaving home make 3 copies of it: 2 to pack in your bag and 1 to leave home.
Purses beg to be stolen by thieves. Waist or fanny packs are better than taking a purse while traveling. Wear them in the front and keep your cash for the day in it. If you insist on taking one keep it small and get you to threading it over your shoulder and tucking it tight under your arm.
If you take your wallet keep it in your waist pack. Wear the pack in the front. Wallets in back pockets are easy targets for thieves and even ones in front pants pockets can be stolen easily with the right distractions.
Accessories . . .
A small day pack to carry a hat, sunglasses, snacks, etc. is useful. Tuck under your arm when out and about. Use tiny locks on the compartment zippers. There are now some packs made with metal inside the straps to stop the slash-n-dash thieves.
Waist or fanny packs are great to hold little loose items: sunglasses, chapstick, camera memory cards, film, tampons or batteries and wear it in front at all times.
A small folding kind will pack easily.
Inflatable neck pillow
Any napping or sleeping in a sitting position is greatly enhanced using one of these pillows. When its not used it folds neatly into your waist pack.
Carry individually wrapped towelettes for a quick, refreshing clean up during long travel legs. They also come in handy for a sanitary hand wash before a meal or whenever required. Wash frequently when traveling. Carry some in your waist or day pack.
Now that you understand what to prepare and take on your trip make sure you avoid travel mistakes that could ruin your trip!