Top Notch Packing Tips for Travelers
Millions of people travel across the globe every year. Whether it is a business trip, a visit to friends and family or for pure adventure, packing your clothes and other travelling items will be part of the preparation process. Sadly to note though, many people never get the best of their travels simply because they are not very apt when it come to packing their items.
Either they pack the wrong way or they end up forgetting most of the essentials things they needed for the travel. Either way, such inconveniences have a tendency to compromise the quality of the travel since you are not likely to enjoy as much when you realize that you have a very heavy luggage that will be a bother to move around with or you have to spend more money to purchase items you could have simply carried from home.
It thus pays to know and understand how to not only pack correctly, but also how to pack the right items for your travel. This is the meat of this article and you will learn about different ways to wrap your tees and other clothes, pack efficiently and never forget about the most important travel essentials.
It is true that there are widely divided opinions on how to do the packing in the right manner, but the tips we reveal here have been tried and tested by many travelers and they all agree that they are useful. Nonetheless, feel free to do what is convenient and what you feel will make your travel as smooth as possible.
Best ways to pack a suitcase – 5 Different methods
Depending on the nature of your travel or your reasons for travelling, you will use either a backpack or a suitcase for carrying along your items most of the times. With regards to a suitcase, it is imperative to understand how to stuff your clothes in it in the right manner so that you save on space, carry all the important essentials and travel as light as possible. And for you to achieve all these, you must strive to be very organized. Below we take a look at five different methods you could use to pack your suitcases in the proper way. With every method, we will tell why we think it is the best and also highlight some of its pros and cons.
Folding clothes inside the suitcase
Most people like packing for traveling by simply folding their clothes and dumping them inside the suitcase. After all, this is the same method people use to store clothes in the drawers after they are washed and so the majority of the people are used to it.
By folding, it will imply that you will have clothing squares or rectangles of all kinds and this may not be very efficient when it comes to space utilization; there will be gaps and spaces which you may not use to pack any other thing. Folding clothes could be efficient if you are packing clothes of the same size such as tees and matching trousers. In most cases however, maximizing space when you fold your clothes will mean that you will have to fit the clothes where they fit best and this may not follow the order you had desired.
The best way to maximize space with folding
If you want to maximize space and get more organized with folding when packing your suitcase, you could layer your folded clothes according to outfits. For example, you can pack pants and t-shirts for the last day at the bottom of the suitcase and the pants and the tees for the second to the last day on top and so on and so forth. By following this tip, you will save greatly on space though not so much and it will be easy to access the clothes in a more systematic manner. You will however have to deal with the creases where the folding occurred.
Though not necessarily a brilliant space-saving strategy when packing your suitcase, it will make a lot of sense is you will have to unpack immediately you reach your destination – simply remove the clothes from the suitcase and transfer them to the drawer in a short time.
An alternative to folding, which will be more space efficient, is to use a method known as filing method. With this method, you pack the clothes in the suitcase as you would keep files in the cabinet. It means that you will fold the clothes and stack them so that they look like files in a cabinet. With this packing method, you won’t have to dig through horizontal layer of clothes searching for a clothing item since you will be able to see all the clothes with just one glance. Other than the space economy of the filing method, you won’t have to worry about a lot of creases on the clothes when it is time to use them.
Bundling for wrinkle-prone clothes
Unknown to many, bundling can be the most clever way to pack your clothes in a suitcase when travelling. With this method, you layer the clothes strategically in a bunch and then fold them in one large wrinkle free origami-like wrapper. The main reason for packing your wrinkle-prone clothes in this manner is to reduce the amount of creases that will be formed and also make good use of the limited space available.
Bundling can be a very convenient packing option if you are carrying along lots of tees that are prone to wrinkling. It can also be a nice option for packing long sleeved shirts and pants prone to creasing. With the method, you won’t have to bother about ironing your clothes before you use them when you reach your next destination. This is not to say that they will not get creased, but the creasing will be minimal and you could just ignore it unless you want to bother yourself with ironing.
Rolling – the best way to minimize space, but not wrinkles
Many people hail rolling clothes before keeping them in the suitcase as the best method to pack when travelling. Whereas it is true that rolling is very ideal when you need to maximize on the space, it comes with the extra burden of ironing when you need to use the clothes since they will have a lot of creases. Nevertheless, rolling is awesome for most types of clothing items and it works wonders when your main concern is proper space utilization in your traveling suitcase.
However, you need to learn how to roll your clothes the right way so that you can realize all its advantages. The best way to do it is to use the military style of t-shirt rolling to make the clothes more compact and allow you to travel with as many clothes as possible. But on other hand, when you roll your clothes, it will be harder to pick out the outfits you need and it also comes with an additional disadvantage that the rolling will create new wrinkles on the clothes.
Compression for packing heavy and bulky items
If you need to travel with heavy or bulky items, then compression will be the most suited method to pack them in the suitcase. With compression, you will use space bags said to suck the air from your suitcase and increase its storage capacity to three times the normal size. With this method, you put your clothes in the space saver bags and then roll the bag to expel all the air. Once all the air is out, the bag will become much smaller in size, thus allowing you to pack along more clothes.
But using the space save bags to compress your clothes when packing will not be easy for everyone. Rolling the bags to expel the air so that they are flattened out is not very easy and not everyone will be comfortable with it. Secondly, the space saver bags are not very big and this implies that you will have to buy many of them if you have a lot of stuff to pack for the travel. However, if you are travelling with bulky items like coats and blankets, this method is an absolute favorite if you are concerned with utilizing the space in your suitcase. And you can also use the bags to dump the dirty clothes during the trip.
Packing Cubes – A nice option when used with other methods
Packing cubes are travel accessories which every other person seems to love, even though they are not the best when you need to save space in your suitcase. Some people think that packing cubes prevent wrinkling because the clothes will not shift around since they are contained in the mesh containers, but wrinkling will still occur due to the fact that the clothes will either be rolled or folded before being placed in the cubes.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of using the packing cubes is that they allow you nice organization when packing. With rolling, you will be very space efficient, but you won’t keep your clothes organized with the method. Folding clothes on the other hand sounds more natural and logical, but it will consume a lot of space. Bundling on the other hand works well, but it is a challenge to remove the clothes out of the bags after bundling.
Bundling solves all these problems. Whether you want to pack as much stuff as you want or you desire the least amount of wrinkles, the cubes will give you a chance to use your preferred method while allowing great organization with the packing.
Tips for Packing a Backpack
Now that we have looked how you can get going with packing your suitcase with different methods, let us now consider how you can get the most of your backpack when packing. This is the other travel companion you will use if you are not using a suitcase and it is also important to understand how you can pack it the right manner for proper organization and efficiency during your backpacking.
To begin with, backpacks are available in different sizes and each has different features. But efficient backpacking is achieved when a few common principles are observed. Packing a backpack can be divided into three different categories or zones; the top, the core and the bottom of the backpack. When packing the backpack, it will be of interest for you to consider the weight, and shape of your items and how often you will need to access them.
Ideally, a well packed backpack will be well balanced when placed to rest on your hips and there should be anything swaying or shifting from the inside. When walking, the pack will feel very stable and predictable, thus making it easy for you to walk freely and for long without feeling any discomfort.
One tip for packing your backpack in the right manner is to pack it at home. Simply spread out your gear on the floor and confirm if you have all the items you need for the trip. You can use a checklist to do this before you embark on the actual packing process which should be as outlined below.
Consider Access to the Back Pack
Most of the backpacks have a top-loading opening which leads to the main compartment. Some have a zippered front panel which folds to expose the full interior of the backpack while other have a side zipper that makes it easier to access items packed deep inside the backpack.
The backpack may also have a sleeping bag compartment for stuffing a sack for your sleeping bag near the bottom of the bag. If you don’t want to use the space for the sleeping bag, it can be used to store other items which you may need a quick access to.
Packing the bottom of the your backpack
The bottom of the backpack should be occupied by the items you won’t need until you reach the camp at night or your destination. Most backpackers like to keep the sleeping bag at the bottom, but it is also the right place to keep underwear used as sleepwear, sleeping pads, and a pillow case. Every other item which will be needed at night should go at the bottom, except a flashlight or a headlamp which you must always have readily accessible.
Packing the core of the backpack
You should place all the heavier items at the core of the bag. The goal for this is to create a comfortable and predictable center of gravity. When you place heavy items too low on the back pack, the pack may feel too saggy and when you place them at the top, they may make the pack feel a little tippy.
The heaviest items should go at the top of your sleeping bag. These items may include water supply, food stash, and stove and cook kit. If you are also carrying liquid fuel, close the fuel container tightly and pack the container in an upright manner and always place it below your food, just in case of a spill.
Most of the newer backpacks will come fitted with a hydration reservoir sleeve. This is place specially designed to hold a water reservoir parallel to your spine and close to your back. It makes is easier to access the reservoir when the pack is still and you don’t always have to remove the pack in order to access your water.
The backpacks may also come with a bear canister compartment and it is advisable to fill the compartment completely and any space remaining should be occupied with other scented items.
Packing the top and the periphery of the back pack
Many backpacks come with a zippered top lid. This is the best place to stash the frequently used items so that they can be reached quite easily. Such items may include headlamps, sunscreens, sunglasses, compass, bug spray, rain gear, first-aid-kit, snacks, pack cover, sanitation towels, toilet papers and others. Some of these items can also go the external pockets if your backpack happens to have them.
The other items should be packed as follows-:
- Sleeping Pad – use an extra set of straps for attaching the sleeping pad to a lash point near the wait line or at the top of the pack. Alternatively, put it beneath the top pocket or lid before tightening the lid to the pack. Since the pack may be vulnerable to sliding towards either of the sides, always ensure that it is secured to the pack properly.
- Ice axe – use external tool loops to carry an inverted axe on your back, but only if you need to have it on your trip.
- Crampons – Carry these inside the backpack, but in an appropriate protective case. You can also lash them towards the outside of the backpack so long as protective point covers are used.
- Other tools – With some backpacks, you will have external stitched loops known as daisy chain. These can be used to clip or to tie small items to the pack.
It is also a good idea to minimize the amount of items you carry on your backpack’s exterior. This is because such items can easily get snagged in areas with dense vegetation and also they will make it difficult for you to move freely if they have to swing from time to time.
Essential Travel Items You Should Never Leave Behind
Now that you understand how to pack your clothes in a suitcase and how to get your backpack ready for the next camp or adventure, you also need to be aware of certain essential items which you should always have whenever you are on a trip. Failure to carry these items may cause a lot of inconvenience and discomfort and you may end up not enjoying your trip as you would have should have carried them.
Consider the following travel essentials for all your trips-:
Clothes that dry quicker – if you know that your trip will involve you doing a lot of laundry, then it is imperative to carry clothes that dry quicker and once which will dry easily when hanged over a bathroom rail.
Quality earplugs – these are necessary if you are the kind of people woken up with any slight movement around. You can also use them to block aircraft as well so that you deep sleep is not affected when you have to make those long flights.
A decent hat – whether its sunshine or rain, you will always need a hat. Depending on the nature of your travel, be sure to have a nice hat. A crushable, wide brimmed and tight hat will always work well irrespective of what the weather decides to throw at you on that day.
The Swiss Army Knife – this is like a standard tool for every traveler and there is no globetrotting enthusiast who will embark on trips without the Swiss army knife. From dealing with wine corks, fingernails to digging stones on the mountains, it is complete tool kits that will give offer you with a great deal of convenience.
Universal adapter plug – Some of these will come with a USB charge port which is a very useful addition. Ensure that the plug has three holes to make it compatible with three-pin plugs found in other countries such as Australia and some in Europe.
Super glue – this is commonly overlooked, but it can be a handy travel accessory. It can save you from a great deal of inconvenience when you have a flapping shoe sole and you are in the middle of nowhere or deep in the jungle. You can also use it to patch a suitcase that decides to misbehave during your trip.
Face wipes – male travelers will not agree but female counterparts will admit that these are a must whenever you are travelling. Use them to clean and cool your face when you are stuck at the airport or when you walking down a hot and sticky location.
These are all you need to get travelling conveniently and efficiently. Just as noted at the beginning, nothing is cast on stone and there are no absolutes when it comes to packing your suitcase or your backpack. As always, simply choose what is working best for you and which you are certain will make it easy to pack your suitcase or backpack for convenience when travelling. Again, evaluate all the essentials you need and never leave any behind lest they become a source of great inconvenience to you.