As everyone who knows me is aware, I LOVE TO TRAVEL.
I hope some of the lessons I’ve learned during fifty years of travel will be of interest to you.
There appears to be ongoing debate about how to pack our clothes.
Bundling? Rolling? Flat?
I found bundling really annoying unless everything was going to be unpacked immediately. In that case, it might be a good choice for some but I don’t find it saves much space. Looking for items in a bundling-packed bag didn’t work for me.
My preference is to pack flat and tuck shoes around the edges of my case. I also like to use the plastic vacuum bags for t-shirts, sweaters, beachwear and lingerie. They allow me to put more in my bag but be careful not to use too many or your bag may be overweight. The air gets squeezed out for more efficient packing but the weight of the clothes remains the same. I learned that lesson the hard way!
I always pack an extra plastic vacuum bag to bring home laundry and one of those fold-up-into-nothing duffel bags I can use on the return trip in case my retail therapy gets out of control!
Clear plastic baggies are my choice for toiletries and travel jewelry (never take your good baubles!) and other small items, such as electronics. That way everything is easy to locate and it also keeps most of the customs officials in a better frame of mind ~ less ‘stuff’ to unpack and repack.
In the last few years my husband and I have tried, as often as possible, to each travel with a carry-on and a computer backpack, the latter having room for cameras, tablets, etc. I’m amazed how well it works – particularly if we are going to be staying where laundry can easily be done. We find it’s such a freeing feeling to have all we need when we get off the plane and not have to wait around for luggage.
If we are moving on to more travel by train or ferry, we are always glad to be unencumbered by more bags.
Remember you can take only small quantities of gels, creams, toothpaste, etc. I’m not going to talk about those. We buy what we need when we get to our destination.
The following is my basic packing technique.
The first thing I do is make a list and decide on a colour combination. I generally stick to black, white, and one bright colour of bottoms in the summer and black and gray for colder climes.
For a two week basic trip (spring/summer/fall) with no sports involved and laundry access – 5 bottoms (wear one on plane), including one pair of jeans and one pair dress slacks, 2 tops per bottom (most of which will work with all bottoms), two sweaters, one light dress, one shawl (can be dressy), one all-weather jacket with hood (which I may end up carrying on the plane). 7 pairs undies, 2 bras. 2 light pjs. 1 crushable hat. If I think I will need it, I will pack one bathing suit + sarong. Flip-flops for beach. Walking sandals or running shoes. 1 or 2 pair of casual/dressy shoes. On the plane I wear comfy flats. One fold-up umbrella.
Travel to cold places or in winter, calls for different planning and we always end up taking one suitcase between us, as well as our carry-on. Trips that involve tennis, golf, etc., have their own special challenges. I’ll leave that for another time.
With cell phones becoming so versatile these days, there are some items we used to pack (flashlight, gps, dictionary, travel guides, maps, alarm clock) that are now apps on the phone.
Extra essentials: adapters, phone chargers, plug converters, sewing kit, small Swiss army knife, bandaids, antiseptic cream, small hand sanitizer and wipes. Don’t forget your medications.
We also like to take small but high-powered binoculars, but that’s just us!
Be sure to keep copies of your passport, health card and credit cards in a safe place and leave copies with someone at home as well. Take out travel insurance.
In case I haven’t answered all your questions, here are a couple of good travel info links: