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Things to Remember When Packing for a Trip

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When you pack for a trip, it’s important to be organized and plan ahead so that you end up bringing everything you need while still being able to easily tote all your baggage around. Seasoned travelers agree that there is an art to packing that can help make your travels go much more smoothly. Here are some important things to remember when packing for a trip.

  1. Pack lightly. This is one of the most important keys to successfully packing for a trip. After all, you’re going to be lugging your suitcase all over the airport, on and off trains and buses, and in and out of hotel rooms. The best way to slim down what you’re taking is to start by making a list and then going through and eliminating any nonessentials from that list. Make note of any itinerary-specific clothing you might need (such as shoes for hiking or a good outfit for a night at the theater), but otherwise choose clothes in neutral colors that can weather more than one wearing. If you’ll be traveling for a longer period of time, pack minimal clothes and then include some soap you can hand-wash with.
  2. Be prepared for inclement weather. While checking your destination’s weather forecast is always important, it’s also recommended that you prepare for a worst-case scenario. For instance, if you hear that it hardly ever rains on that island you’re heading to, don’t let that stop you from bringing a rain jacket. After all, the week you’re there might just end up being one of the more rainier weeks of the season.
  3. Split up your valuables. As careful as you are, bags do get lost or stolen. Thus, it is advisable that when packing for a trip, you split up items such as bank cards, cash, traveler’s checks, credit cards, passports, and other forms of identification as much as possible. This will ensure that if something does happen, you won’t be left with nothing while you’re sorting it all out. It’s also recommended that photocopies of passports, IDs, and tickets be made ahead of time. Make two copies, leaving one with a trusted friend at home and bringing the other with you. If you have access to a scanner, you might even want to store document copies in your web-based email account, so you can access them from wherever you are.
  4. Protect your belongings from leaks. Shampoo bottles, lotions, and other containers holding liquids can sometimes leak, leaving a big mess all over your suitcase that can be difficult to clean up when you’re on the road. You can save yourself the hassle of the mess—and some room in your suitcase as well—by transferring all your liquids into smaller, travel-sized containers, and then storing those containers in a plastic bag before packing them in your suitcase. This way, any spills are contained and can be easily cleaned up in a hotel sink.
  5. Pack essentials in your carry-on. If you’re traveling by air, make sure any medications, essential toiletries, and valuables are packed in your carry-on rather than in any checked baggage. Particularly if you’re embarking on a long international flight with lots of changes and layovers, there’s always a chance that your baggage will get lost. Thus, it’s best to be prepared to be able to get along for a day or two while the airline tracks down your luggage. Many seasoned travelers recommend stashing a change of clothes into that carry-on as well.

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