Heading off travelling is a life changing experience but packing your bag can be a logistical nightmare. How can you get a year’s worth of stuff into the seemingly tiny bag sat in front of you? That bag is your life for the next few months, so follow these top tips for packing it right and let yourself make the most of your adventures.
Make a list
While you might make a list of what to pack for a regular holiday, you need to go one step further when you go travelling. Having written everything down that you think you’ll need, get it all together and put it in one room. Make sure you have absolutely everything and then split it into three piles of ‘must-haves’, ‘would likes’ and ‘other’.
Go through the latter two piles and be really strict with yourself about what you can and can’t take. You need to ensure you’ve left space for souvenirs and other things that you’ll buy during your trip so give your packing some serious thought; do you really need that neck pillow?
Plan your packing
To make your life easier, have a plan of how you’re going to put things into your bag. The things that you’ll need frequently should go at the top of the bag in the most easy to access section. You don’t want to be rummaging around and pulling everything out of your pack, just to find some sun cream or your travel documents that you accidentally packed right at the bottom.
Allocate sections for specific items as you pack and you’ll be able to group things together in a logical order. You can also distribute the weight more evenly to ensure you don’t end up with one side heavier than the other. Be aware of keeping the back of your bag smooth – this is what your back will be touching. If it’s lumpy and has hard bits sticking out, it’ll be extremely uncomfortable so try to keep it as streamlined as possible.
Know the golden rules
When you’re packing your bag, one of the most important rules to remember is that if you don’t pack it, you have to buy it. Think very carefully about what you can bear to leave behind; you could potentially be without it for a very long time. Similarly, there are things that you may not need at the start of your travels, but will do later on. These items, if possible, could be bought along the way, saving you space and weight when you leave.
You need to make sure you have visas, some cash, your passport and your travel documents with you at all times. Make copies of all of them and store them in different bags. If you lose one bag, you will still have a copy of the essentials that could help you in the meantime. A money belt or secure wallet should be on your person at all times, just in case you lose your bag. Having a bit of cash in a universal currency like US dollars could help you if you ever end up in dire straits.
Use your space wisely
There is not necessarily a right and wrong way to pack, but there are methods you can adopt that could give you more space. If you roll your clothes up, you can prevent creasing as well as save room. Rolled up clothes have the benefit of being easy to stuff into little nooks and crannies. They can fit into corners, rather than having to be folded up and leaving you with awkward gaps.
Rolling clothes means they can often be put into awkward spaces or stuffed inside other things like shoes. It gives you the chance to distribute the weight more evenly as well. Ensure your heavy things are towards the back of your bag and that the straps are properly adjusted; your bag needs to be comfortable to carry, otherwise you could end up with some pretty serious back complaints.
Everyone will have a slightly different order of packing their bag and you need to find the one that suits you best. It’s worth doing a dry run a couple of times before you leave, just to ensure everything fits, you have some space and you can actually carry your bag when it’s full. Of course, the most important thing to remember is to enjoy yourself while you’re away.