21 Essential Packing Tips Every Traveller Should Know

Looking for essential packing tips to pack like a pro? Read on...

Packing for a trip can be a daunting task, especially if you are travelling for an extended period of time or visiting multiple destinations. However, with a bit of planning and preparation, you can ensure that you have all the essentials for a comfortable journey. As a frequent traveller, I often get asked for packing tips.

Here are 21 essential packing tips every traveller should know

1. Make a packing list

A packing list can help you keep track of what you need to take with you and ensure that you don't forget anything important. Make sure to include essential items, such as passports and chargers. I’ve had a standard packing list for years, which I edit depending on the trip/destination.

2. Check the weather forecast

Before packing, check the weather forecast for your destination. This will help you determine what type of clothing and accessories you'll need to bring.

3. Pack light

Packing light can be challenging, especially if you're travelling for an extended period of time, but it can save you time and money. It’s also more convenient to travel with less luggage. Pack only the items that you will actually need and preferably take versatile clothing that can be mixed and matched.

If you will have easy access to a laundromat or washing machine on your travels or are able to handwash your clothes while travelling, then that will also make it easier to travel as light as possible.

4. Carry a small bag for your daily outings

Day owl backpack

Take a small backpack (preferably anti-theft) to carry your essentials when exploring a new city. It should be large enough to hold items such as a laptop (if you plan to work), camera, and water bottle, but small enough to be comfortable to carry.

5. Roll your clothes

Rolling your clothes instead of folding them can help save space in your suitcase. This also minimises wrinkles and makes it easier to see what you've packed.

6. Pack your shoes last

This will keep your clothes clean and prevent the shoes from getting scuffed up. Place them in a separate shoe bag to keep them contained.

7. Use packing cubes

Essential Packing Tips

Packing cubes are a great way to organise your luggage and keep your clothes neat and tidy. They come in various sizes, so you can choose those that best suit your needs. I use the smaller ones for items like socks and underwear, which make them so easy to find.

8. Pack a small first aid kit

A small first aid kit can come in handy in case of any unexpected emergencies. Include items such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhoea medication, motion sickness medication, band-aids, and any prescription medications you may need.

9. Use a money belt

A money belt can be a great way to keep your valuables safe while travelling. It can be worn under your clothes and keeps your passport, money, and credit cards safe and secure.

10. Choose the right luggage

American Tourister

At Gwahumbe Game and Spa

The right luggage can make a big difference to your travel experience. Choose a good brand that is lightweight, durable, and easy to manoeuvre. A carry-on bag is a good option if you're going away for a short period of time, while a larger bag may be necessary if you're travelling for an extended period of time or visiting multiple destinations.

11. Don't overpack toiletries

Toiletry items can take up a lot of space in your luggage. Use travel-sized items or pack essentials only.

12. Leave some room in your luggage 

Leave some room in your luggage for any souvenirs or gifts you may want to bring back home. You don't want to be forced to leave behind a special item because you didn't have enough room in your luggage. I also always carry a collapsible/foldable bag with me to bring back any extra items.

13. Take a sleep kit

As someone who has trouble sleeping in strange / new places, I never travel anywhere without a sleep kit. It consists of a set of ear plugs, an eye mask, and a relaxing aromatherapy oil.

Air travel tips

The following tips are specific to air travel.

Air Seychelles - Essential Packing Tips

14. Packing for air travel

If you’re flying to your destination, you’ll need to pack lighter and more efficiently. Check the amount of luggage your air ticket allows and pack accordingly, as going over the weight allowance may result in penalties. Buy a portable luggage scale to make sure that your luggage is not overweight before you go to the airport. I often get complimented by airport staff for packing so lightly for a family of 4.

Remember to also check the weight limitations for any local flights you are planning to take during your trip. These usually have a lesser allowance compared to your initial international flight.

15. Hand luggage

Check with your airline what you are allowed to carry in your hand luggage. As a general rule, don’t carry sharp objects in your hand luggage. If you are carrying liquids, they should be under 100 ml and stored in a plastic bag. We have also had things like power banks and peanut butter confiscated on certain airlines.

16. Dressing for the airport

Try to avoid wearing belts with metal and other metal items to the airport.

17. Tags

Put a tag on your luggage items with your email address and/or Whatsapp number on it, not your address, as you don’t want to alert criminals to the fact that you won’t be home. If your luggage is a common colour, like black, tie a colourful ribbon on it to identify it easily on luggage carousels.

18. Wear your bulkiest items

If you're travelling to a cold climate, wear your bulkiest items, such as a jacket or jersey, on the plane. This will save space and mass in your luggage and keep you warm on the flight.

19. Pack a spare outfit

Pack a spare outfit in your carry-on bag, just in case your luggage is delayed or lost. This will give you peace of mind and ensure that you have something to wear in case of an emergency.

20. Mix your clothing

Airlines often lose luggage. If you are travelling with a close family member, put some of your clothes in your companion's bag and vice versa, to ensure that both of you have something to wear in case one of your bags gets lost.

21. Consider a neck pillow

If you're travelling by plane, consider taking a neck pillow to help you get some rest on the flight. This will make the journey more comfortable and help you arrive at your destination feeling more refreshed.

Packing for a trip can be a stress-free experience if you follow these tips. By being organised and planning ahead, you can ensure that you have everything you need for a comfortable and memorable journey.

21 Essential Packing Tips Every Traveller Should Know

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