Going on a vacation is one of those activities that many look forward to after long hours of toiling day in and out. But packing a bag for travel isn't exactly an exciting task to do, because you need to think ahead and anticipate your needs during the trip. In fact, some may even describe it as a nerve-wracking ordeal! End your worries here. We've put together the ultimate packing checklist to help you travel smarter and worry-free.
Whether you are packing for a weekend getaway or long haul trip, a Europe city tour or camping trip to New Zealand, we've got you covered.
GENERAL PACKING TIPS & TRICKS
Before you bring out the luggage and start packing, make sure you do the following!
1. CHECK THE WEATHER AT YOUR DESTINATION
This sounds instinctive, but I'm sure you have seen or heard people wishing they had brought along warmer, thicker clothing while on a ski trip to Japan or Korea?
2. NOTE THE LENGTH OF YOUR TRIP AND ANY SPECIAL ACTIVITIES TO ENGAGE IN
This will help you decide the number and type of essential outfits you need. Embarking on your first hiking trip in Indonesia? Get a pair of comfortable lightweight hiking shoes with good grip.
3. CREATE YOUR PACKING LIST IN ADVANCE AND REVIEW IT TWICE OR MORE
If you review your packing list early, it gives you more time to take a second look with a fresh mind. More often than not, you'll remember something to put on the list you didn't yesterday. Take advantage of the proliferation of travel packing list apps readily available nowadays to help you organise your stuff!
4. AVOID PACKING BULKY ITEMS OR THINGS YOU CAN EASILY GRAB AT YOUR DESTINATION
This seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how some may be so insistent on bringing that favourite 100 ml perfume in a heavy glass bottle or can't leave without that amazing 500 ml bottle of shampoo. Most of the time, your hotel will provide essential toiletries such as toothpaste, shower gel and shampoo. Or you can easily buy them at a convenience store upon arrival at your destination. So why waste space packing them?
Maybe you aren't staying in a hotel. Or maybe you are particular about the toiletries you use. Get them in travel sizes or transfer them into travel size containers to save room for other important items. Bear in mind the travel restrictions on liquids for carry-on luggages if you don't intend to check in too!
5. PICK THE RIGHT LUGGAGE
As a rule of thumb, a right travel bag is one that is flexible, sturdy yet light and large enough to hold all the essentials. We know it's tough to decide what's best for you with a multitude of styles available, and the luggage type you bring may make or break a trip. So here are some recommendations of how different luggage styles can be best utilised:
1. Roller bag/ 4-wheeled luggage: Convenient for travelling in modern cities with properly paved roads, relatively flat and smooth terrain and buildings with elevators. Walking around with bags in tow will be much smoother with a 4-wheel luggage.
2. Duffel bag: Simple, durable and lightweight, great for short getaways. Since it is generally foldable without occupying much space, you can also pack it in as a handy extra bag for your "triumphant shopping loot".
3. Travel backpack: probably the travel bag that hardcore travellers can most identify themselves with… We've heard some say they feel the excitement gear up the moment they carry their backpacks on their shoulders. Perfect for "roughing-it-out" trips, but not for everyone as it can take a toll on your body!
Whichever style you choose, remember not to use an oversized suitcase. Besides the fact that a smaller luggage will be lighter and easier to handle, you will also reduce the likelihood of overpacking!
I'M ALL READY TO PACK, HELP ME!
1. ORGANISE YOUR TRAVEL DOCUMENTS AND ESSENTIALS
Never leave home without gathering these essential travel documents:
- Passport/ visa
- Driver's licence - if you intend to rent a vehicle for a self-drive trip
- Cash/ credit card/ multi-currency wallet (find out more about the various options to carry your money abroad here.)
- Reservations, boarding passes and other pre-booked transportation tickets
- Accommodation and/or tour contact information
- Travel insurance information
- Emergency contacts and important addresses
- Student ID card - some companies offer discounts to students so bringing it along can help you get good deals
2. PACK A CAPSULE WARDROBE
Choose timeless, classic tops and bottoms that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits. In this way, you save more space for other important items and travel lighter without sacrificing style. A skeleton capsule wardrobe would include the following:
- 4 tops, such as t-shirts and tank tops
- 3 bottoms, such as pants, shorts and skirt
- 2 outer layers, such as jackets, windbreakers and cardigans
- Undergarments and socks
Did you know that 24 different outfits can be created with just 3 bottoms, 4 tops and 2 outer layers? The key here is to add colours and accessorise your capsule wardrobe. Choose shades in an unified scheme to allow easy mixing and matching. Of course, depending on the reason for your trip, you might need to pack a special item such as a gown or suit into your luggage. Remember to keep these to a minimum so you don't overpack!
3. LAY EVERYTHING OUT
Laying all of your items out allow you to plan outfits for the entire period away. It's clearer to see how much you are bringing and easier to spot anything you may have missed out when everything is laid out. This includes all the items you need, from clothing, shoes, accessories to electronics, toiletries and medical supplies. It helps to divide items into the sections where they will be packed in the luggage too. Don't forget to lay out your travel day outfit so as to consider it together with other outfits.
4. PACK LIQUIDS IN SECURED ZIPLOCK BAGS
Never underestimate how cabin air pressure can cause your liquids in sealed bottles to leak. Pack them in secured ziplock bags to prevent seepage and soiling other items in your luggage.
If you need to put liquids in your carry-on baggage, remember that only 1 ziplock bag is allowed. Maximum 10 containers (up to 100 ml each) of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes is permitted to be put in the clear bag.
5. PACK A SET OF CLOTHING AND UNDERGARMENTS IN YOUR CARRY-ON BAG
There are times when your checked-in luggage gets delayed or lost. Pack a set of clothing and undergarments in your carry-on, or even an extra pair of shoes so you're covered for a day in case such unfortunate events happen.
A COMPLETE PACKING CHECKLIST TO PRINT AND USE FOR ANY TYPE OF TRAVEL
Last but not least, below is the ultimate packing checklist we have created to relieve your pre-trip stress. Just print it out to use for any kind of travel, it's that simple!
This article was first published in Shopback.