Travelling is always exciting but there’s one thing that isn’t: packing! It can be very daunting to have to fit your life into a bag and may have even found yourself paying for excess baggage because you overpacked. But there are ways to ensure you get the most from your suitcase and bring everything along.
Here’s 11 smart tips to use next time you need to pack your bags!
But first, check the weight limit for your airline online – usually it is between 20 and 25kg, though some are generous with their allowances.
1. Consider size when buying a suitcase… and go smaller
Size is crucial when buying a suitcase. If it’s too large, your case won’t fit into the boot of a taxi or a car; too small, and won’t be able to fit enough in. Also, consider a soft shell as a hard shell can add up to 5kg of dead weight. The ideal size suitcase is about medium so you aren’t tempted to fill it all up.
2. Gather the clothes you want to take
Then halve them! Select clothes of similar colours and pack more tops than bottoms so you can interchange them. For a five-day trip, you’ll likely need five shirts, two pairs of pants and one plain dress.
3. Roll it
Roll softer garments and fold stiffer ones is key! Underwear, T-shirts, jeans, light cotton pants, and knits won’t wrinkle when rolled tightly. Once you’ve rolled everything, place in the base of your suitcase – these will make up the first layer of your suitcase, along with shoes. Put in folded garments next.
4. Vacuum bags
Vacuum bags are a godsend. You can find them at cheapie shops and they may come as the type you need to use with a vacuum, or the type you can use just by rolling. The roll up ones are great because on your way home at your hotel you mightn’t have access to a vacuum cleaner. These will really condense the space in your bag, though will not change the weight.
4. Only pack three shoes
Follow the rules of three. Consider one casual pair of shoes, walking shoes, and an evening shoe. If you must bring another, heavier pair – wear them on the plane and take them off as soon as you board!
5. Put small items in your shoes
Those holes in your shoes are valuable space you could be using to stash underwear or electronics!
6. Use a pillbox for jewellery
Pillboxes aren’t just for medication – they are handy for storing various sets of earrings and rings too.
7. Get a handheld digital scale
Never guess how much your luggage weighs again with a handy scale. This will ensure you don’t overpack and don’t end up being charged an arm or a leg at the airport check-in.
8. Put all of your liquids into a bag before you get to the airport
Many people make the mistake of having to dig through their bag to get out their liquids when they travel. Save yourself and the line of people behind you some time and have a plastic bag of your liquids ready to go.
9. Take spare ziplock bags and use them to separate items
Phone charger, camera charger, adaptors, headphones – we all have so many wires and gadgets that are easily lost in a suitcase. To prevent this problem, use ziplock bags. Take some extras as well because they can come in handy for dirty clothing and so on.
10. Put disposable shower caps over your shoes
Ever packed your clothes only to find that your dirty shoes have covered them in crud? The simple way of avoiding this is to store your shoes with a shower cap over them. This way they won’t spread gunk and will be easy to take out.
11. Use cling wrap to prevent liquid leaks
No one wants a liquid leak in their luggage when they arrive. To prevent this, take the lids off liquid bottles and add a layer of cling wrap! Easy.
Don’t buy a black suitcase! Around 70 per cent of suitcases on any given carousel are black, meaning coloured luggage will make your bag easier to identify and less likely that it will be stolen.
If you prefer black, then use ribbons or tape to distinguish your bag.
Do you fly regularly? What’s one of your top packing tips?