Every person who has gone on an overseas holiday will have a golden travel packing hack for you. Listen to them, because the best tips and tricks come from experience, especially if someone has lost money or time or faced awkwardness or frustration on their trip.
Here are some of our choicest travel packing hacks that will help you enjoy your trip all the more.
No. 1 Be a list keeper
In the weeks leading up to your trip, make lists of things you use on a daily basis that you will need to take with you. Also add to it items you’ll need for your specific destination like swimming goggles, a ski mask or antihistamines.
Set aside an area in your home where you can lay out on a bed or another flat surface everything you need to take and check things off the list when they’re accounted for.
No. 2 Get smart with Tetris-style packing
Anything hollow deserves to be filled! Shoes can be stuffed with socks, underwear, gloves and beanies. Think cleverly and fold things differently to fill gaps. Your suitcase is not your chest of drawers; roll, fold or lay flat different items to fit spaces.
Use your clothes to buffer more fragile items such as fragrance bottles, gifts and souvenirs by wrapping them.
No. 3 Snap lock bags are your best friend
There is no end to the versatility of snap lock plastic bags! They’re liquid-tight so they can prevent any spills from wreaking havoc all over the rest of your belongings, and they’re air-tight so your snacks will stay fresher for longer. Pack a variety of sizes in your suitcase and carry-on bag and you’ll be so glad you did on so many unforeseen occasions.
- Keep shampoo, conditioner and other toiletries from leaking.
- Mini snap lock bags are perfect for daily doses of medication and supplements that you organise once a week and transfer to your handbag or backpack each day.
- Pack damp swimwear or not-yet-dry underwear that you’ve washed in your hotel room when you have to check out.
- Put the hotel’s TV remote in a snap lock bag so you don’t have to touch this notoriously germ-riddled device any more than you have to.
- Lock in unpleasant odours of unwashed clothes in a snap lock bag until you can get your laundry done.
- Keep important documents such as passports, printed reservations and tickets in a sealed snap lock bag to protect them from spills.
No. 4 Store documents digitally instead of carrying print-outs
With cloud storage systems such as Dropbox, iCloud and Google Drive, there’s really no need to carry hard copy paperwork anymore. Scan or photograph your important documents and travel papers and store them in the cloud, or in the photo gallery on your phone for when the Internet is not available.
No. 5 Pack your carry-on as if it’s your only bag
There’s always the potential for luggage to go missing and if that does happen, you don’t want to be caught out. Pack everything you need for two days in your carry-on bag in case your suitcase doesn’t turn up.
That means toiletries, sleepwear, a change of clothes, a jacket or cardigan, first aid items and device chargers. Always keep your travel documents with you on board the plane too.
No. 6 Make inspection as easy as possible
It’s almost a given that your bags will be searched at some point on your journey. The easier you make it for security personnel to do that, the less damage will be caused. If travelling to the US, purchase padlocks that also feature TSA-accessible locks.
Unless absolutely necessary, don’t tape items tightly because they will have to be cut to be opened, which could damage your goods. Use snap lock bags for your medications so they may not have to be looked at more closely.
No. 7 Wear your heavier, bulkier clothes
If you’re travelling to a cold destination, wear layers of clothing for the trip and remove them once on the plane. Board the plane in your woolen jacket, with your scarf, beanie and gloves in the pockets. That’s a whole lot of bulk you won’t have to stuff into your suitcase.
No. 8 Plan your outfits before you leave
Set out your separates – shorts, skirts, tops, pants, jeans, etc. – on your bed and see what pairs with what. The more match-ups you can make, the more versatile your holiday wardrobe will be. If anything gets stained or is out of action until laundry day, you’ll have other options to choose from.
No. 9 Pack your oldest underwear
Why wash your undies if you were going to throw them out anyway? Most people’s luggage grows in weight while on holidays so you start out fairly lightweight. Pull out your rattiest underwear that you’ve been meaning to throw away for ages. Pack a pair for each day you’ll be away – within reason – and bin them as you wear them.
No. 10 Choose your electrical gadgets wisely
You’ll need a travel adaptor for the country/ies you’ll be visiting and you can buy special ones these days that have multiple USB ports to simplify charging all your gadgets at once.
Or, consider taking a powerboard with multiple outlets. You may even want to consolidate your gadgets and make sure they’re all Apple or all Android with the same charger ports so they can share, but you won’t be able to charge them all at the same time.
Organisation pays off
The more organised you are before you set off on your trip, the better your experience will be when you’re away. Some of these travel packing hacks will help you save money, others will save you time or frustration.
Try to treat packing as part of the fun of the holiday and feel triumphant that you’ve done a great job and not had to fork out for excess baggage or lost or broken items.