Very relevant to what I should currently be doing is how to pack well. There is a lot of advice on how to pack less, and while that is definitely valuable my advice will be more centered around ease of use. My trip almost requires I pack a checked luggage and I think most people don’t go as far as travelling with just carry-ons for a longer term trip. My experience over the years has been mostly short term trips, and over the many trips I’ve learned a few helpful tips.
Pack with priority of use in mind.
There are three kinds of bags I pack for which I label as having a different priority. My hand bag, my carry-on, and my checked luggage. They are organized essentially to how quickly I will need what is in them.
My hand bag will contain things I might need immediately – my ticket, my passport, my wallet, cell phone, and chapstick. Sunglasses, and in my case, my retainer case. These are things you don’t want to take time to find or unpack a bag to get to. It makes travelling a lot easier and quicker when these things are on hand. I also like having a pen and small notebook just in case I need to take down any information rather quickly too. [There may be a bit of difference of opinion for where to store your passport for safety. You can have one of those under the shirt passport holders if it makes you feel better. Please do remain vigilant about your bag. It would suck to lose everything in your hand bag]
My carry-on for me is my backpack. This is something that you will have with you, but you may not want to dig through if you don’t need to. This is the bag I put one set of clothes, my cell phone charger and laptop, and basic toiletries like a toothbrush and toothpaste – transportation papers that may be too big for your hand bag. You can keep your liquid size restricted quart-sized toiletry bag in here to go through security too. If you have room and are prone to getting cold on airplanes, a light sweater is good to have. A copy of your identification is good as well. It becomes really essential if your checked luggage is lost for a day or two. You don’t want to be without what you need for a night. This is also a good place for a book that might be too big for your hand bag so you can read while on a plane or train.
And of course my checked luggage will have all my essentials for longer term living – clothes, and whatever else I need. Very importantly, your checked luggage should be light weight enough to carry up and down stairs comfortably. Wheels on your luggage don’t mean anything if you have no escalator or elevator, and if you are moving from place to place a lot being comfortable with your luggage is very important. It also is okay to re-wear clothes (even more than once!) so you can pack less. If you can do without a checked bag, even better!
I also abhor the overhead bin. My carry-on is almost always a backpack, and my purse very small so I can shove my bag under the seat in front of me. That way I am not jockeying for space in the overhead bin ever and I can access my bag any time I want without leaving my seat. If I need to put my purse away I can either shove it in my backpack (if there’s room) or put it in the magazine pocket on the back of the seat. It makes leaving the plane only a matter of waiting for people to move.
Those are my main packing tips! If you have any others I would love to hear about them. I’m always looking to make travelling a little less stressful and a little more fun.
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