Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, you’ll always need to deal with the sometimes-daunting task of packing your suitcase. Travel writer Elizabeth Pratt provides these essential tips for Skyscanner Australia on how to avoid common packing mistakes.
Know your limits
There is nothing more annoying than finishing packing your suitcase, only to get to the airport to find you are over the baggage limit and will get hit with a massive charge.
Research your airlines baggage size and weight restrictions ahead of time, and make sure to give yourself some wriggle room for souvenirs or other purchases. And don’t forget that the limit on your international flights may allow a lot more than on internal flights when you get there.
Carry-on luggage: size and weight restrictions for international flights
Our oversized luggage guide for Australian airlines
Not planning ahead
There is no point packing an endless amount of bikinis or two pairs of your favourite boardies only to find you’ve planned your beach side holiday in the middle of monsoon season.
Here at Title, a friend of hours once went overseas with seven pairs of sunglasses but only one pair of underpants ( the ones he was wearing).
Don’t assume that just because it looks like a warm destination means you shouldn’t pack some light layers; deserts can get cold at night and summer in some places can still be the wet season.
Research the average temperature and weather conditions for your destination for the time you’ll be visiting. Loads of forums online will point you in the right direction of what to wear. Similarly, have a think about what sort of activities you will be doing once you arrive. If you’re planning on visiting cultural or religious sights, you may need to dress modestly and cover your shoulders and knees. If in doubt, pack layers.
It seemed like a great idea at the time to pack everything you own in your bag. But that’s going to get heavy and take up space you could be using for souvenirs and other purchases. Take a moment to consider whether you really need to bring your laptop, ipad, mobile phone and camera with you. Could your phone double up as your camera? Can you download a selected amount of movies from your laptop onto your ipad? The chances of you using or wearing everything you pack is normally quite slim.
There are a few ways to avoid over-packing:
- Make a list of the things you absolutely need before you start adding on any extras.
- Lay all of your clothes out across a bed or on the floor. Then halve the amount you have. Simple and effective and will force you to prioritise.
- Only pack clothes that will go with everything. Stick to neutral colours appropriate for the season and you’ll be able to get a good amount of wear out of every item you pack.
- You really don’t need more than 2 pairs of jeans: you may like to pack one casual pair for the day and a nicer pair for night (or one light colour, one dark).
Too many shoes!
Over-packing shoes deserves its own category as it is an all too common rookie packing error when travelling. Shoes are heavy. Shoes are awkwardly shaped. Shoes will ruin your perfectly packed suitcase dreams.
Try and limit yourself to just 2-3 pairs of shoes (including what you will be wearing on the plane).
Boots and loafers are great all-purpose shoes that can take you from a day of sightseeing to a Broadway show at night.
Make sure you pack shoes that are multipurpose. It’s great if they look good, but they should also provide your feet with good support for all the walking you’ll be doing.
Ladies, think about whether you’re actually going to an occasion that would require heels before you pack them, heels can take up a lot of unnecessary space and be quite awkward to pack. If you’re going to pack them, go for a neutral pair that will go with a large number of outfits.
Creating chaos in your suitcase
If you’ve left packing to the last minute, or you’re unpacking and re-packing multiple times in a trip, things can get messy in your suitcase. You lose track of what’s clean and dirty, where you’ve packed your socks and what you’ve done with your phone charger.
Two words: packing cubes. If you haven’t used them yet they will change your travelling life. There are loads of packing cubes on the market but if you’re strapped for cash you can apply the same principle using large zip lock bags or draw string tote bags.
Packing cubes are a brilliant way to keep your suitcase organised. They come in different sizes and you could use one for socks and underpants, one for tops and one for dresses. It makes unpacking and finding things a breeze.
They’re also great if you’re travelling carry on only. If you’re asked to open your suitcase at security everything will stay neat and organised, and most importantly your underpants won’t fall out for the world to see. What a bonus!