How To Pack: A Packing Guide

After writing about how to secure cheap fares and how to find and book cheap accommodation, we now give you some of our top tips on how to pack. We asked some full-time travellers to help out by sharing their top tips.

Tip: Decide Between Suitcase, Backpack Or Carry-on

Before packing you should really decide what type of luggage you’ll be taking with you.  Each has merits:

  • Suitcases can be big and heavy but you can undoubtedly travel with more in them. If you just MUST take your hairdryer, maybe a suitcase would be better?
  • Backpacks can be fiddly with pockets and straps but they’re a good compromise between a suitcase and carry-on and they’re easy to move about. Backpacks do not draw as much attention to you as a suitcase does, in my opinion.
  • Carry-on luggage is compact and extremely easy to negotiate but is it too limiting? Can you manage with just 6-10kg of belongings?

Tip: Only Use Lightweight Backpacks

I travel solo, usually spending months on the road, and almost always go hiking.  I ensure that I don’t carry more than I can.

Having lightweight backpacks reduces the weight of your luggage to a great extent. Avoid buying those with reliable metal support on the rear side – they might be slightly better for the back, but those without them are easier to carry around.

-Reshma Narasing from The Solo Globetrotter.

Tip: Pack Early & Be Ruthless

Packing early will ensure you have plenty of time to gather all the important items and get rid of non-essential items.

Have a thorough packing list to guarantee nothing is missed before leaving. This list also provides you with an inventory of items you need to return with.

The day before your trip do a final review of all packing list items and be ruthless, whittling down to as little as possible.

Erin from The Gal On The Go. 

Tip: Packing Cubes

“If it doesn’t fit in the cubes, should you really be taking it?” This is the question I ask myself.

Using packing cubes to organise your luggage will allow you to easily keep track of how much you’re packing.

Tip: Watch The Shoes

If you’re worried about either space or weight, do not pack a pair of shoes for every occasion. Instead pack a lightweight pair with an ambigious colour that match most outfits. We usually pack just two pairs of footwear each; a pair of trainers and a paid of sandals.

We adore these vivo barefoot shoes because they’re breathable, made from recycled fabrics, are cruelty freee, are great for multiple terrains but smart enough for you not to look scruffy.  We double these up with a pair of thin sandals.

Tip: Place Heavy Items At The Bottom 

One of the simplest but often overlooked packing tips is to place heavy  items, like shoes at the bottom of your bag.

Once you start rolling your  luggage through the airport, on trains and down the streets, you don’t want the heaviest stuff crushing more fragile items. That said, do not pack all your heavy things first.

Distribute the weight of your contents  evenly between both sides of the suitcase. Use all available space to pack  your belongings and this will prevent the suitcase from toppling over. Place  the heaviest items such as toiletry bags near the wheels of the suitcase,  lighter items on the top. Flight attendants usually pack this way, and it makes a surprising difference during in-airport transit.

– Ivan from Mind The Travel.

Tip: Don’t Pack Books

I loved paperbacks (I still do). When traveling, I always made it a point to carry at least four books with me. While I packed light, rolled the clothes, and put everything in ziplock bags, my backpack was still heavy.
So while it was not an easy decision, I decided to donate the books to a cafe I frequented and switched to a Kindle. Although I wasn’t a fan, in the beginning, it kind of grew on me and I liked reading everything there.

I would say make the switch to Kindle if you are a long-term traveller, as soon as possible and you would see a big difference.

Deb Pati from The Visa Project.

Tip: Wear Convertible Clothes

The best way to pack in order to achieve a “travel light” adventure is to pack convertible pants.

This kind of clothing is a 2-in-1 quick-dry long-pants.  It has a zipper above the knee that when unzipped, the lower portion of the pants will separate from the garment, then producing short pants.  You now have a new attire.  Long one while traveling, unzipped, then you are ready, wearing shorts, for the next activity like hiking.

You can even wear it on island hopping for even it gets wet, it would quickly dry. No worries and less needed packed clothing.

-Ed & Elsa from Travelling Quote 

Tip: No Package Products

Environmentally friendly products shouldn’t use plastic or any product that is bad for you or the earth or that cannot be recycled. The below products are regulars of ours and take up minimal space. We do not travel with toiletry bags because they’re too bulky but these can be wrapped in paper, stored in a Tupperware box or just slipped into a pocket.

We get all of our zero-waste, eco-friendly, travel products from Gentle Natural Earth.

From toothpaste to soap and shampoo bars. 

Read this is you want to know how we wash our clothes on the road. 

Eco friendly toothpasteeco toothbrushes

Tip: Take Microfibre Towels

Microfibre towels are tiny and they dry so quickly. Small enough to fit into a pouch pocket or fold flat and slide into a crack of space. They can be used a multitidue of times before they require washing but will dry within the hour.

We love these towels and travel with them everywhere.

Tip: Lightweight Travel Strollers

These strollers saved our lives when our kids were little. They fold up smaller than a tripod and weigh next to nothing. Fold them up, place them under your armpit and you barely notice they’re there.

We used these for short periods with our kids once they able to sit up. I prefer backward facing strollers but they’re big, bulky and heavy. These lightweight ones are perfect for holidays and travel.

Tip: Lightweight Car Seats

Multi-functional and inflatable car seats are the best thing since sliced bread! At one point we had three kids in three car seats and travelling anywhere, let alone hiring a car was a nightmare. These car seats below are either multi use or inflatable. They save space and are totally safe to use.

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