Traveling can be stressful, but only if you let it. Being fully prepared for your trip can help to alleviate stress, and will give you time to enjoy your last few days in town before leaving. One of the biggest parts of travel preparation is packing your bags. It may seem like a straightforward concept, but in reality, the way you pack your bags can significantly change the way your trip goes. If you just throw everything into a suitcase, you won’t be able to fit much, unless you want to pack another bag and pay the fee for checking it. This guide will help you to pack properly by giving you several helpful tips.
The first step is to find everything that you will be taking on your trip, and lay it all out on your bed or on the floor. This will help you to find the right sized bag, and help you cross things off your mental checklist, ensuring that you won’t forget anything.
Consider Space Restraints
The next step is to consider the space restraints of your method of travel. If you are driving, think about how much room you have in your car, and how many people you are taking. If you are flying, check with your airline to identify their policy concerning checked bags. Most airlines charge $20+ per checked bag, while others charge by size/weight. Also, check with your airline about what size your carry-on can be. Most airlines will allow you to bring a small suitcase, as well as a small bag/purse/satchel/etc. on the flight for free.
If you discover that all your items won’t fit in the bag(s) you want to bring, start eliminating nonessentials. Think about the items that you’ll be able to purchase at your destination, and leave those at home. Weigh the pros and cons of checking another bag. It may cost you $20 extra to check a bag, but then again, it may cost you more than $20 to repurchase items at your destination.
Pack to Save Space
In almost any travel situation, the less baggage you have to carry, the better. So, you should do your best to save space while packing. One helpful tip is to fold clothes inside of each other. For example, you can place a folded t-shirt on a pair of jeans, and fold the shirt up in the jeans as you fold them. This is called interlocking folding, and it can save you a good amount of space with minimal effort.
Leave Room for Souvenirs
Keep in mind that you will likely acquire some items while on your travels. If you can, prepare for this by leaving some extra space in one of your suitcases. If you plan on purchasing larger items, or know that you will buying lots souvenirs on your travels, you may just want to plan on purchasing another bag at your destination, and paying to check the bag on your return flight.