There is never just one way to pack but there are some things to consider when trying to pack for an adventure
Packing for a trip can be a bit overwhelming for some. Did I pack enough? Am I bringing too much? I have fallen prey to both of these but in some cases I made a choice to over pack. To ensure you are packing exactly what you need for a variety of trip types here are some key things to consider.
#1: What type of trip am I going on?
This is the most important question to consider before thinking about what to pack. Answering this question will determine what type of suitcase or travel bag to pack your things in. Remember that most airlines charge for checking bags so your decision may also be driven by cost.
Trip Type: I am going on a 3 week trip across 4 countries and will be staying in one place for no more than 3 nights.
Bag Type: A large backpacking bag would be perfect because it is easily transportable between destinations and no checking of luggage is needed. Doing laundry a couple times may be needed but beats having to roll around a large bag from point A to point B and C and so on.
Trip Type: I am going on a long weekend trip for 3-4 days
Bag Type: A carry on duffel bag or roller carry on would be perfect. Wear your largest shoes and thickest jacket during travel to optimize space in the bag for other clothes and shoes.
Trip Type: I am going on a week-long vacation with my partner.
Bag Type: One large bag could be enough for two people but if you need a little more room an additional carry on is perfect. Note that the carry-on should have everything you need if the large bag is lost/delayed (couple outfits, toiletries, electronics, etc.).
Trip Type: Family trip with kids for a week
Bag Type: Options can vary depending on age of kids. When kids are smaller their clothes and toiletries can usually fit with parents bags but once they get bigger more bags are required. Having kid friendly roller bags as a carry on is great and provide an opportunity to teach kids how to pack and be responsible for their belongings.
#2: What type of activities will I be doing?
This helps narrow down what to put in your bag and ensure comfort in all activities.
Swimsuit on a winter trip?
Makes sense if using a hot tub
Is there custom gear I need/want?
Hiking shoes, snorkel, skis, tennis racquet, ect.
Could I hurt myself or get sick?
Basic first aid kits and some medicines just in case
Can extra bags help?
Tote for shopping and carrying things around, bag for dirty clothes/shoes, bag for wet items
Will I be in the sun?
Sunscreen, aloe vera, sunglasses, hats, UV protective clothing
Water Bottle to save the environment and keep hydrated
Some cities don’t have good tap water so do your research before filling up that bottle
#3: What type of outfits will I need?
This helps narrow down what to put in your bag and ensure comfort in all activities. Don’t forget to consider the culturally accepted dress for the location. Some places require parts of your body to be covered to enter.
What is the weather like?
Raincoat/umbrella, heavy/light jackets, layering due to huge temperature swings, flip flops/snow shoes
Will there be any fancy events?
Dinner requiring a dress code, 1 pair of heels/dress shoes that can go with any outfit, accessories to outfits
How much walking will I be doing?
Ensure comfy shoes for all weather types on the trip
What type of activities will I be doing?
Some activities require pants instead of shorts/skirts, long sleeves to protect from the sun
Do I need accessories?
Sunglasses, hats, bags, jewelry, watches, head scarf, shawl, ect.
#4: Will everything fit?
This forces you to question needs versus wants when packing. You have already chosen the desired bag so make sure everything fits, don’t get a bigger bag or more bags!
Lay everything out to ensure you have everything you need/want, then EDIT
Utilize packing cubes/bags to maximize used space, play TETRIS
Roll up some of your clothes that don’t need to lay flat, put socks in shoes
Wear bigger shoes on plane, layer up and carry big coats
Keep liquids in easy reach (have a toiletries bag always ready)
There are other tips and tricks for packing for a trip like special ways of folding or rolling your clothes, writing down a list of items to ensure nothing is missed, washing clothes on the road and never checking essential or important items you don't want to lose.
Now it’s time to pack that bag and get ready for your next trip!
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