Packing for a short term trip can be as tricky as packing for one year on the road. The secret is to take the REAL important things for you and improvise with the rest. Here is a list of 10 questions you should use as a guide to pack for your next travel.
1. Why panic while packing? Don`t take out everything from your closet and freak out. Think from the start of the process. This can save you from tons of pain later in the process.
First, invest in a good suitcase and/or carry-on. A cheap suitcase can break after your first flight (been there), while a good one can hold up to 10 years, so buy the best suitcase you can afford. Also, search for one with hidden pockets to put your money and other important things.
Second, be sure to customise your baggage, so in the case of a lost luggage in airport, you can report exactly how it looks like and can be differentiated from hundreds that look the same (you also buy some time when you have to pick it up from a dozen). Be sure to have a small lock to secure your checked luggage. If you are paranoid you can buy a microchip bag tag or pay for a tracking service.
Think about your first night/day: what you will need and wear and pack it last so you can reach it easily. Baby wipes should be always on hand. Research what is the weight limit as it varies from a transport company to another. Scale your gear at home or immediately when you arrive at airport to avoid being charged for overweight.
2. Have you forgotten your head yet? Do not forget your passport (check the validity before buying plane tickets – at least six months before expiring) and be sure to back up a copy of it (as well as the others travel documents) in your email, just in case.
3. Home food in planes? Do not take three bottles of water and five kilos of food in your carry-on, since airport security will force you to throw it away. Unless you are going at the edge of the world, you will surely find water and food. Coca Cola and McDonald are everywhere, as well as LOCAL FOOD (escape the tourist routine).
4. Are you a technology addicted yet? I will always stress the importance of backing up your travel documents and id in your email and/or phone. Moreover, you can ‘de-materialize’ things like books, maps, flashlight, etc.
5. Your suitcase cannot be closed? You don`t need all those fancy dresses or seven pairs of jeans, for real. Take two pairs of jeans (the one you`re wearing on the road included), a casual dress and some versatile tops – try to stick to a colour palette and chose those which don`t show wrinkles. If you are thinking you need something because of “what if”, you will most likely won`t be using it. Try to roll your clothes rather than folding and put your socks and underwear in your shoes.
Are you up for a challenge? Why don`t you travel with your carry-on bag this time? You cannot over pack when you simply don`t have space and it`s easy to do in short term trips, although you will find many long term travellers who travel with a carry-on only.
6. What about basic hygienic toiletries and makeup products? Take your toothbrush with you, but most hygienic related products are cheap to buy at your destination (since everyone needs them). As for makeup, a girl travelling doesn`t need 10 brushes or the entire makeup box – how about an eyeliner, a lipstick and a moisturising cream?
7. Have you called your bank yet? Call to the bank and ask about credit limit and inform them you are leaving the country. Some banks block the card if it has suspicious expenses. For example, you are living in London and the next day you buy exotic fruits in Australia. Also, some banks are selling health/travelling insurance that might be cheap.
8. Are you absolutely sure you need that laptop? I am aware we are in the 21st century, but unless you are a professional blogger/editor/IT/etc., it`s just another heavy object to carry. Most accommodations provide free wi-fi and you can back up your photos online, so your phone should be enough, especially for a short term trip. You can also save your plane tickets as .pdf on your phone instead of printing them (avoid to lose/forget them and it`s environmental friendlier).
P.S.: Just because you`re not smart enough to realise you cannot handle four bags in a walk through countryside, this does not mean others must help you.
9. What happens when you`ll get back? Chances are you will be tired or irritated because your holiday was too short. Beside the incapability of unpacking, you don`t want to add anything else. My advice would be to leave your place clean before travel. Clean your house and make the bed, so you can crush on it first thing you come home.
10. Slow down and drink a glass of red wine.
Until next time:
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