Welcome to our next entry in our Celebrate Adventure Event! Yesterday, we explored the awesomeness that is the Candy Cane Martini and introduced you to our Where is your next Adventure Quiz! Today...we're going to make your travel lighter and easier.
Everyone has their own unique style of packing, just like everyone has their own unique style of clothes. Finding your best method is really a matter of giving things a try and seeing what works and what doesn’t for yourself and your own needs.
However, there are some packing tricks that are simple or flexible enough to work for nearly everyone in nearly every situation.
Nelson loves to travel (I know you’re shocked) and he has collected many methods and preferences throughout his journeys. These are five of the best and most universal. They’re all just as useful on an overnight jaunt as on a month long expedition. They’ve never done him (or me) wrong!
1. Roll and/or Cube Your Clothes
Keeping track of your stuff is always vital, but doubly so when you’re away from home and anything forgotten is most likely gone for good. It’s also nice when you don’t have to spend time searching for things and digging around your bag to find that clean pair of socks.
Nelson’s favorite method of keeping things organized and wrangled is to use packing cubes. We love our set from Dot Dot and the red cubes pictured above are by Air Canada (you can pick them up at Walmart).
There are a million brands and versions and sizes out there, so you’ll be able to find whatever type or color you want.
Don’t have or want an extra little cube or three inside your suitcase? Rolling your clothes actually works great to keep things where they belong, as long as you’re diligent about re-rolling items and putting them back where you got them.
Personally, I roll my clothes and then organize them in cubes, but I’m just that kind of weirdo.
2. Corral All the Small Stuff in Bags
Same theory, smaller bags.
You don’t want your toiletries, jewelry or electronic gadgets sliding around loose in your suitcase. That’s just a recipe for things getting lost and never having them when you need them. Stash all your items of a similar type in a small bag to keep the odds and ends together. Go for a stylish cloth or leather bag if it makes you smile. Nelson has a sweet little leather case for his shaving stuff, etc., while I prefer canvas with a zipper.
Ziplocks, however, work just as well, and have the added benefit of being clear so you can see the exact contents of the bag you’re grabbing. They’re liquid-proof to quarantine those high-risk items, and similarly add protection to electronics and cables.
3. Use All Your Nooks and Crannies, but Leave Breathing Room
You probably have more room in that tiny carry-on than you think. There are a lot of soft items to pack and many nooks and crannies of potentially unused space. Stuff socks, jewelry bags, soft shirts or underwear into shoes. Then fill in the angular spaces around them. Use T-shirts to pad electronics.
No space is too small to hold your tidbits.
The flip-side to this rule, however, is to never cram your bag so full it’s a challenge to zip closed. Not only is this bad for your stuff and will likely wrinkle every piece of clothing you brought, but it will make it a struggle for you to re-pack any time you move locales or for your trip home. No matter where you go you’re likely to pick up SOMETHING you didn’t leave with, either cookies from Mom or an ukulele in Maui.
Leave yourself some space for the unexpected and you wont have to fight with your bag or risk damaging your stuff.
4. Decorate Your Luggage, Outside and In
With airlines’ restrictions on luggage size, shape and weight getting tighter each year, more and more of the bags on the luggage carousel and even going through security look alike. The quickest, easiest and potentially free solution to never picking up the wrong bag (or having someone else unintentionally grab yours) is to give it a unique identifying factor. This can be as simple as adding a touch of leftover Christmas ribbon to a handle, more subtle, like adding an unusual luggage tag, or even as a means to show your creative side.
Be as crazy or as subdued as you want, as long as it’s something that stands out as unique.
It’s a tiny little change, but it will make a world of difference if it keeps your bag from ending up in someone else’s car.
As for the inside, throw a dryer sheet in the bottom of the bag before your trip.
Your clothes and your bag will always come out fresh.
5. Pack a Smart Carry-On
Not only does your hand luggage carry everything you need to have a good flight (ferry ride, car trip, etc.) but it should also have all your valuables and anything you would need for an overnight stay. Now, I don’t mean for this to include things like your hair-dryer or even your shaving kit, but I DO mean you should have a change of clothes and all medications.
Let’s hope your checked bags never get lost and you’ll never need these items, but won’t you feel a little better knowing they’re there?
I hope these simple techniques can help you feel at ease as you’re setting out on your next adventure. They’ve certainly helped us, and we like to spread the love. Or, the packing tips, whatever.