It is important to keep the specifics of your trip in mind when preparing luggage for your departure. From picking the right bag to packing the right toiletries, you will enjoy your trip more if you have what you need but are not burdened with a lot of extras. Consider the following factors as you begin to pack:
Type of Luggage:
- Is this an active adventure? Will you be on the move, changing accommodations frequently? If so, consider the type of luggage you plan to bring. Perhaps a backpack is the right bag, or a duffel with backpack straps and two wheels.
- Some destinations do not have curbside luggage carts. Think Greek Isles - you may need to drag your luggage down narrow cobble paths or up many flights of stairs to reach your accommodation. A hard-shell suitcase may just not suit. On the other hand, if you are packing for a week at a luxury Caribbean resort, an extra large suitcase with four wheels may be just the thing to carry all you need from the morning beach to evening elegant dining.
- Do you require formal clothes? Casual clothes? A mix? Have you considered the cultural expectations of attire at meals, and in general at your destination? Avoid over-packing for all occasions by choosing staples that you can mix and match for several outfits. Transitional pieces that go from day to night with a change of jewelry and shoes are particularly useful when traveling. The popular 5-4-3-2-1 rule is a great way to start identifying what to bring. Five sets of socks and underwear, four tops, three bottoms, two pairs of shoes and one hat.
- Footwear is a particular space and weight hog in your luggage. Wear your hiking or athletic shoes on the plane, and limit the shoes you pack to one formal and one casual, as needed. Consider what you really need, and find shoes that can also transition from day to night with your outfits.
- PAKT was founded to help with this part of packing! Toiletries can be especially cumbersome to travel with, and at a minimum, we recommend not checking full size bottles from home. Order your favorite brands in travel size, find travel size substitutes, or transfer product into reusable containers.
- The most space and weight efficient way to travel with toiletries is to bring singles or several use products. A common misconception is that single wrapped products from the beauty and personal care industry are wasteful of packaging. In reality, the story is a bit different (see a future post on this topic soon!). Single or several use products can save space and weight in your bag by having only as much as you need. And, as you use the product up, your bag will feel lighter. Pack these products as if you are planning to come home with empty bottles, and only bring extra of product that will be hard to find or replace in a pinch. For instance, you probably don't need extra toothpaste, and unless you are very sensitive, can fairly easily be found in replacement. Bug repellent however, could be more difficult depending on your destination.
- Cut back on the number of bottles you bring and consider products in wipe form. You'll be pleasantly surprised how much space you can save with flat pouches over round tubes.
- Check bottles for sizing. TSA carry on rules allow only 3.4 ozs of liquid or creams per container, and suggests use of a clear plastic bag to help avoid being stopped for additional screening.
- Keep toiletries separate in waterproof bags. None wants shampoo all over the inside of their suitcase, #AmIRight?
- Consider a PAKT containing mostly singles. PAKTS packed this way slip neatly into the side pocket of most bags, and the TSA approved clear bag helps you pass through TSA smoothly.
Accessories and other tricks:
- Utilize packing cubes, they are even great in backpacks.
- Roll your clothes.
- If traveling for one week or less, do your best to stick to a single carry-on suitcase, and personal item like a backpack or laptop bag.
- Organize your bag, and use extra pockets for storage of small items like brick chargers and cords. Bring only one cord per device and just one emergency charger to save on space.
- Download books to an electronic device and bring an e-reader or tablet, but not both. Reducing the weight of paper books in your carry-on can be significant.
- Reduce the number of electronics you travel with. Bring a tablet or laptop, but not both.
Watch the PAKT Travels blog for additional travel tips, and happy trails!