How to Pack

Some general recommendations for how to pack like a pro are included below:

  • Having trouble fitting all your clothes? Think black, navy, brown or gray – choose a color palate and select your clothes around that. It will likely help minimize the amount of items you think you need to pack.
  • Once you think you have your clothes ready, set them out and then reduce them by at least 25%. Remember, it is easier to launder items on a trip than it is to lug them around. It is generally easy to find a laundry facility and most hotels have someone who can care for your clothes for a very reasonable price.
  • Test your shoes. Be sure they are comfortable and appropriate for the terrain you will be covering. Your clothes will not matter if your feet hurt. Wear these around before you pack them to be sure they are comfortable. If staying in hostals, pack a pair of shower flip-flops.
  • When you are ready to pack, roll your clothes instead of folding them. This will condense your items into a smaller space because it removes some of the air, creates uniformity and also help you fill small spaces to utilize every inch or room.
  • Consider using featherweight packing cubes. This will keep similar items together and can help avoid an embarrassing situation if you are faced with an impromptu baggage inspection. Remember to still roll your clothes before putting them in the cubes. You may be surprised how much you can fit without jeopardizing and zippers.
  • Have limited packing space to work with? Consider using a compression bag. This may very well be the best invention ever when you are simply packing clothes and toiletries. Keep in mind that a compression bag will condense your items to save space but the weight is still the same. Test the weight of your bag before you overload it. The other point to note is that if you are carrying any odd sized items in a backpack (e.g., dive gear), a compression bag could actually make your packing your clothes more difficult. You need to be able to easily access your items – don’t get yourself into a situation where everything is packed tight. It will make security checks painful and unpacking and repacking in intermediate destinations frustrating. I use a combination of compression bags and dry bags when I pack because like the benefit each offers. I tailor my packing to my destination as well as the gear I need to carry.
  • When in doubt, weigh your luggage. This is a good way to avoid a surprise when arriving at an airline ticket counter. No one likes to be faced with the choice of removing items or paying an overweight bag fee. There are many varieties of inexpensive travel luggage scales available now for personal use. I carried one with me to Fiji where they are very particular with the weight of carry-on luggage, particularly, and it was so nice to have. Everyone around me wanted to borrow it.
  • Measure your luggage if you are traveling internationally. Your first flight may involve a domestic airline with few restrictions but if you need to take any charter flights between locations (islands, for example), your regional flight may limit distance around the bag (height + width + depth often needs to be 60″ or less) and the longest side of the bag (often needs to be 30″ or less). There may also be a baggage limit for carry-ons as well as checked baggage so research your airlines before you pack.
  • If you are subject to restrictions on liquids in carry-on luggage, be prepared. Many airlines require you fit all of your “liquids” (liquids, aerosols, pastes, gels) into one clear quart size zipper bag per person. Inside that bag, each item should be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or less. This bag will generally need to be screened separately through security. When in doubt, put liquids (except medications and baby formula) in your checked luggage.
  • Be careful with luggage locks. Aside from the fact that a lock is generally worthless against anyone with a ballpoint pen and YouTube access these days, it can also cause you problems with TSA. Most locks now have an easy access method for TSA screeners, but if not, your suitcase may be damaged if it needs to be opened. Either way, your lock may not arrive at your final destination so set your expectations accordingly.
  • Save some room for souvenirs or unexpected items you may need to purchase on your trip. There is nothing worse than being out of space and not able to add a special item you would like to take home with you.
Share This: Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr