Every packer has their own struggles, and travelling can be made so much easier by making your packing more efficient. For years, I’ve struggled to fit all the clothes I NEED in my suitcase, and then you have to make some pretty difficult decisions – which shoes? Which top looks best? Which denim skirt would I wear more? This quick list of ten useful tips that almost anyone can use to their advantage should help you consolidate your packing and feel a little more organised. Enjoy!
#1: Roll up your clothes; although they might look a little messy, they don’t crease and it allows you to save space in your suitcase (if you’re like me, that space will be used by more clothes).
#2: If you have a rucksack or suitcase that is very similar looking to others or it is a generic design, personalise it! It’ll save any confusion – or possibly the wrong bag entirely – and will mean you get to keep all your belongings safely in your reach. You can personalise a large bag with a ticket, bright nametag, strip of colour or keyring.
#3: Taking anything that would be messy if it leaked? Use a bag. Wrap one or two carrier bags around the item, and put it in a separate compartment of your bag if possible. Some examples of things you should definitely keep separate are nail varnish, nail varnish remover, ‘wet’ makeup, food that could melt, drinks and suntan lotion.
#4: Take empty water bottles wherever you go. Water is often expensive, especially in large airports or train stations, and you don’t want to be throwing away £5 for refreshment. You can often find a refill station, or go into a cafe such as Costa and ask them to refill your bottle (though it’s probably best to buy a snack too). Ideally, take 2 or 3 and keep this as refreshment for when you arrive, as it can be risky to drink some tap water abroad. Plus, staying hydrated will allow you to relax and regulate your body temperature more.
#5: Following on from the last point, buy a few perfume bottles at somewhere like Superdrug and fill them with water if you’re going somewhere hot. You can then stay refreshed with a little spritz of water on your face, which will keep you from almost dying of heat stroke (yes, that’s what it feels like).
#6: Keep everything you will need on the journey in a separate compartment or pocket, specifically for those necessities. That should include tickets, money, medicine (depends), and confirmation of payment if required. Keeping these things in a ziplock bag also prevents anything spilling and ruining the trip, and keeps everything safe and dry. I recommend using the front pocket of a rucksack if you’re travelling light.
#7: For the journey there, wear things that would cause unnecessary bulk in your packing. For example, carry a coat or jacket and wear jeans or joggers (but make sure they’re comfy) and perhaps a shirt and sweater. Also, wear shoes that would be difficult to pack – trainers as opposed to flip-flops, as the latter is much easier to fit in your suitcase.
#8: Before completing your packing, check it against a packing list. Although you can find generic ones online it’s best to create a more personal one, suited to you and your companions. Include every single little thing you’ll need and check everything against it – boom, foolproof!
#9: Fill gaps! When I pack even a rucksack or smaller bag, there are always gaps that can be filled. Put things like rolled up underwear, empty bottles or deodorant and body sprays in the gaps; it definitely allows you to make the most of all the space and pack more efficiently.
#10: Make sure your first aid back is stocked up before you leave. Although it would probably be fine, some countries might not have the same range of medicines and treatments that we do, and things such as inhalers should always be a priority to pack as forgetting it would be risky. Plasters, simple painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, travel sickness pills and things such as Feminax if your period is due (I really recommend it!) will make the trip just that bit better.