Monday, July 20, 2015

More thoughts on the stuff we lug in suitcases

After my recent spot in the Daily Mail on packing, which has somewhat adorably led to random requests for interviews and television segments (don't worry guys, I'm not that interesting), as well as a few hundred comments on the DM along the lines of "Packing expert? That's not a real job!" I've decided to add a few more thoughts of my own on how I actually do pack when I'm heading on my merry way...

-Leave your bag out two days ahead of time to start piling things into it. That way you have a chance to see what sort of volume your stuff actually takes up, and it makes you find your passport/plug adapters/etc. before you're running to the airport.

-Also start a list a few days early, particularly of the day to day stuff that you need to keep using up until you depart (toothbrush, hairbrush, etc.).

-Better yet, leave all your "travel stuff" in your suitcase while it’s in storage - passport, piles of zip bags and plastic carrier bags, a bag of your travel bathroom products (you never use that stuff at home anyway), and random items often given to you on planes like eye masks and ear buds.

-Craft your own hobo roll by rolling clothes in carrier bags and belting them around.

-Don't waste money on vacuum bags, kids - for a holiday, just use large zipper bags or plastic carrier bags to roll the air out.

-I know it's popular to tell people to use shower caps to cover their shoes and keep things clean - sure if you've got them, but carrier bags are way more useful and abundant. Ahem...

-Plastic carrier bags can cushion breakable things in your bag, and weigh nothing so you can carry a pile of them. They can be used if, say, you wind up without the right sized handbag and need an emergency carryall the fits your enormous copy of Game of Thrones.

-Oh, the virtues of carrier bags! They protect things from wetness, so you can carry a swimsuit home if you went for a dip before flying back - meanwhile, a shower cap can't be closed. If you want to be extra secure, I am sad to say I thought I invented this trick but evidently totally didn't: Twist the top of the bag, and then fold it back down over itself. If you have enough plastic left, you can repeat on the other end - you'll end up with a very well-sealed bag!

-You need less than you think, and can buy emergency things (umbrellas, etc.) if needed. Most travelers over prepare, and for no reason - you'll have more security in a bank card that works abroad than in three pairs of shoes for any weather.

-If you're travelling with a friend, great! Don't duplicate products with your travel buddy - one toothpaste, phone charger, etc., and share clothes if you can. 

-A lot of popular tips are about decanting makeup into smaller containers, etc. - but first ask, do you REALLY want that on vacation? Do you really want to bring tiny obligations with you? Or would you rather just take a proper vacation from your daily chores?

-Makeup remover wipes cover a multitude of sins - they can even stand in for deodorant when you're in a crunch!

-I love wearing jersey fabric - not particularly lightweight, but it doesn't wrinkle, and is easy to wash and dry.

-Wear your bulky clothes in transit. It's a classic piece of advice for a reason, people.

-A bit of cling film (or a carrier bag! Oh, the magic!) under bottle caps protects against leaks and seals the threads on the bottle.

So those are my packing habits - what are yours?

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