For some, travelling can be both a wonderful experience and a bit of a hassle. Finding the best day to book your flights, exchanging money, going through airport security – these are just some of the things you need to do before you can enjoy exploring a different country.
For many travellers, however, the hassle begins at home with packing. Whether you travel a lot or just once in a while, learning how to pack better will help you to maximise your available space and minimise that pre-travel anxiety.
We’ve put together some tips for savvy packing that will change the way you travel and help to make your trip even more enjoyable.
1. Make a List
The easiest way to start the packing process is by creating a list. Most people are guilty of overpacking, because they fear they may need a certain item while away from home.
A pair of shoes that you haven’t worn in 5 years? Better add them to the suitcase – you just never know when they may come in handy…
To turn off this way of thinking and switch your suitcase to just a carry-on (or to cut down on the weight of your hold luggage), it’s important that you make a list of the essentials – and then check it twice.
Write down only what you absolutely need and stick to it; if you end up forgetting something, it’s not the end of the world. Your destination of choice will most definitely have shops if you’re in a pinch.
If you’re having a bit of trouble, try to make a checklist of everything you’ve packed and, while on holiday, take note of what you didn’t use. When you next go on holiday, don’t pack those items. You’ll find that you’ll easily cut the size of your luggage in half.
The added bonus of packing light is that you have more room to bring amazing souvenirs home.
2. Where Are You Going?
Even if you’re not a planner and prefer to be spontaneous once you get to your destination, you may want to have at least a vague idea of your itinerary. Knowing what you’re doing every day – be it a hiking trip, a visit to museums or a relaxed afternoon at the café – can help you to decide which clothing items and shoes to take on holiday. In essence, plan your outfits around your activities.
Again, don’t forget to pack only what you absolutely need. Ask yourself if you’ll really wear that jumper if you’re travelling in summer. Or those sandals if it’s the middle of winter. Probably not.
3. Don’t Bring a Full Bag of Toiletries
Toiletries are essential, agreed. However, it’s highly likely they’ll have them where you’re staying, so you don’t need to take up premium space in your suitcase or carry-on by bringing the whole bathroom with you. Our Pousadas of Portugal are always well-stocked, as we make sure you have everything you will need while away from home.
4. Roll Your Clothes and Use ‘Dead Spaces’
Another issue that pops up is knowing how to pack clothes in a way that doesn’t take up too much space or doesn’t leave your items all creased. A great method is to roll your clothes; make sure to lay them out flat and then roll as tightly as possible. Contrary to what you may think, you won’t have to iron your clothes once you get to your destination.
When packing, it’s also natural to end up with little unused spaces. Make the most out of these spaces by stuffing them with small items; you can also pack your socks inside shoes, so that you can use up all the available space, and prevent your shoes from arriving squashed up.
5. Packing Gadgets
It can be a challenge to organise your electronics. Cables and fiddly parts should be kept together so you always know where everything is and don’t have to dig them out in a hurry when you pass airport security. A good way to go about this is to pack your gadgets into smaller bags (like Ziploc), from your mobile charger to your earphones. All of the items you will need when you return home should also be kept in their own separate bag to make it easier for you; this includes house or car keys.
6. Avoid Packing Books
Every holiday has its downtime moments. After all, you can’t engage in water sports all of the time or walk all day non-stop. Packing entertainment, however, needs to be a carefully thought-out decision. While most people would choose books as their faithful travel companion, our tip is to not pack a single one. If you haven’t started reading a book while you were home, it’s unlikely you will pick it up while on holiday. In addition, what if you end up not liking it?
If you have a Kindle, download it before travelling and save both space and weight in your bag. If you don’t have one – or a similar device – there are plenty of mobile apps that will allow you to read your favourite books while relaxing at the beach or sipping a coffee first thing in the morning.
7. Wear the Heavy Items
This may be an obvious one, but you’d be surprised at how many travellers pack the heavy or bulky stuff instead of wearing it. In order to save space and weight, don’t pack hiking boots or big coats – wear them instead. Make it a challenge with your family and friends to see who can wear the most clothes at once.
You may want to take everything with you on holiday (just in case you need it), but cramming it all into your suitcases is not the answer. With weight considerations to keep in mind when you fly, knowing how to pack light but efficiently is crucial to any holidaymaker, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned traveller.
Now that you have everything sorted, don’t forget your accommodation. We can offer you the perfect base to explore the country, so book your next getaway today or talk to us if you have any questions.