8 smart packing tips for frequent travelers
Let’s get one thing straight from the head start: you don’t have to pack the entire household. It’s neither necessary, nor practical. I know it’s tempting and there’s always that big “what if I need this” question mark, but it’s the number 1 mistake rookie travelers make.
Remember: wherever you’re going, there will be shops there. Essentially, the only things you really need to bring with you are your travel documents (including your passport). Of course, it would be insane of me to tell you ditch everything and go as you are, with no clothes, no cellphone, etc.
My point is that you shouldn’t sweat it and overthink the necessity of most of your stuff. Try to visualize your trip and focus on what you’ll be doing, wearing and using. That will eliminate a lot of things, that don’t have to follow you wherever you go.
In addition, it’s not very practical to drag a million pieces of luggage around the airport and get frequent panic attacks. The more you bring, the higher your chances are to lose a piece in transit.
Keep it simple. In order to do that, you can just follow these super-easy and very smart packing tips.
Invest in an IATA carry-on
Checked in luggage gets lost sometimes, so it’s always a good idea to have a back-up plan for a couple of days. Your carry-on needs to include the stuff you need for your first 2 days at your destination. That means, you’d need a change of clothes, chargers, travel toiletries, some underwear, etc.
Remember that you cannot carry liquids over 100ml each in your bag and that lithium batteries cannot be checked in, so these should go into your carry-on, too.
You should choose a carry-on with specific measurements, depending on the airline you booked. Check the baggage allowance of most airlines here.
Pick outfits, not random pieces
Planning outfits is going to save you a lot of time, stress and space. Making the effort to arrange what you’ll be wearing in advance is the wisest advice I can give you as an experienced traveler. If you start packing random separates, without thinking how they match together, you’ll probably end up bringing stuff you won’t wear and then you’ll be kicking yourself for carrying the extra weight.
So, take the time and plan this out. Wear your outfit, see it in the mirror. If you like it, into the bag it goes! If you don’t, just move on to the next one.
You don’t have to wear a different outfit every single day. Imagine you’ll be spending two months at that location (which is reasonable, you’re a digital nomad, babe!), do you need that many outfits? Hell, no! In that case, you’d need 2 large suitcases just for clothes. It’s not a crime to recycle your outfits or just mix and match them.
Choose travel sizes
Travel sizes do not just apply to carry-ons, because of security restrictions. It’s their size and weight that make the travel versions of products excellent options for a trip, no matter how long it will be. I’m not talking only about toiletries. Besides, toiletries won’t last more than a few weeks, and in longer trips you’ll kinda have to buy new ones anyway.
I’m talking about products in general. For example, a travel hairdryer can save a lot of space (and weight) and be only slightly less powerful than your standard one. So what, it’ll take you a little longer to dry your hair, big deal!
Roll, don’t fold
Rolling your clothes, instead of folding them, has 2 amazing benefits:
- It saves a LOT of space (surprisingly)
- It makes your clothes a LOT less wrinkly (take my word for it)
It’s a trick I learned before my first long trip and it really saved me a ton of space. I remember bringing my travel steamer and never using it!
Bonus point: roll delicate jewellery around velcro hair rollers. This way, they’ll remain untangled and organized. Good thing that velcros can be squeezed without losing their shape. You basically hit 2 birds with 1 stone: using velcros on hair and for jewellery.
Squeeze underwear into shoes
That’s what Phoebe Buffay used to do in Friends and it really saves a lot of space. Bras are a little hard to squeeze in, but for all the rest this trick works like a charm.
Invest in packing compartments and compression bags
If you’ve got some money to spare, definitely buy a travel organizing set, to keep your stuff tidy and save space. Compression bags are also a good choice, if you wanna pack like a pro.
Backup your documents on your phone and cloud
I’ve mentioned it a bit earlier, but it’s crucial that you have multiple digital copies of your travel documents. Scan them and add them to your phone (or just take a photo with it) and add them to your cloud. You know, your entire bag could be stolen and you would need to access them. It’s easier to find an internet hot desk at the airport to retrieve them from your cloud, than drag your local embassy into this mess.
Ditch shampoos, toothpaste and lotions that you can buy at your destination
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: whatever you can easily find at your destination at a reasonable price, just don’t bother bringing it. Travel sizes are okay, but not having to carry shampoos and lotions is okayer.
- Electricity plugs are in different shapes and voltages in different countries, so bring a universal adaptor or buy one at the airport (although it would be a little pricier than usual)
- Bring a first aid kit or buy one once you arrive at your destination
- A travel sleep mask & earplugs are a must, especially for long-haul flights (some airlines provide them for free)