Planning for a trip is work in itself, don’t let the rules of packing go by the wayside. The goal is to bring just the right amount of stuff – think Goldilocks – so not too little and not too much but just the right amount of stuff. And to help you achieve this balance we’ve complied these packing tips from travel pros. These come from years on traveling the globe, so they make a lot of sense.
- Make a list
Smart travelers know to start the packing process at least a week prior to departure; this gives you an opportunity to pick up needed items and recall things over time. Keeping the list in your cell phone keeps it handy for those moments of recollection (or even inspiration!). Packing with a list also ensures nothing is forgotten.
- Roll, don’t fold
Travel experts of every variety agree, rolling is far superior to folding. Tightly rolled clothes take up less space and even fit nicely into odd nooks and crannies, great for back-packers, carry-on luggage and generally preserving space. Rolled clothing is also less prone to wrinkling in comparison to folded items.
- Know your airline’s baggage-fee policy
Before you pack (or even buy your flight ticket for that matter), look into your airline’s baggage policy; this is typically done online on the airline’s website. While most airlines permit travelers to check at least one bag on international flights, many North American carriers charge up to $100 U.S. for bags checked on domestic flights. As for carry-on luggage, the universally accepted carry on size for North American domestic flights is 22″ x 14″ x 9″, internationally however, 20″ x 14″ x 9″ is widely accepted. To be safe, it is recommended you purchase the smaller bag.
- Follow the 3-1-1 rule
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you are aware that there are strict rules for carrying liquids and gels onboard flights. The 3-1-1 rule is simple: 3 ounce or smaller containers, fitting in a 1 quart (or 1 litre) clear plastic bag, 1 bag per person. It is also important to know what is considered a liquid or a gel, for example, mascara, lip gloss, and aerosol items are classified as liquids or gels, however, liquid prescription medication is exempt. Bottled water, jars of peanut butter and similar items are all forbidden as carry-on items.
- Bring the best Personal Item onboard
It’s standard for airlines to permit travelers to each bring one carry-on bag and one personal item onboard planes. While the size allowance may vary by airlines, items such as a purse, laptop bag, or backpack are generally accepted. Make this item a large tote or similar bag, as opposed to a small clutch purse.
- Purchase good luggage
Luggage quality has improved overall, but does still vary. Choosing a reputable, durable, lightweight and functional bag to start with makes all the difference when packing and traveling. You don’t have to pay a fortune but you do have to be discerning. There are crappy cheap bags and over-priced bags out there. Again you want to channel your inner Goldilocks and find the one that’s just right for you and your budget.
If you follow these pro packing tips your travels will be easier, happier and more stress free.