Traveling for a moth-long stay across continents has proven to be quite the packing challenge. While I’ve had my fair share of packing triumphs and pitfalls I though I’d lay out the biggest lessons I’ve learned along the way. Here are six tips that should prove useful for your next trip.
1. Use packing cubes and accessories to pack your bag, it’s totally worth it.
I hadn’t delved into packing aids before this trip, and I have to say it made a difference. Not only was I able to pack more, but it wasn’t so intimidating to open my bag when I arrived. I’ve lived out of my suit case during my stay, so it was nice to have all my shirts folded and unwrinkled in my shirt folder, my walking shoes stored safely away from my clean clothes in their shoe bag, and my cords stowed in their own separate packing pouch.
2. Pack with your arrival destination in mind.
For for the first leg of my trip I stayed in Paris, where I booked a really great, albeit European-sized apartment, that I intended to split with friends for part of the stay. This meant space was at a premium, and we had to be conscious with our baggage. The same will hold true at many European hotels. Even if you are going for a stay at a five star suite, space is going to be more economically used outside the U.S. and your baggage choices should reflect this. For me, this meant saying goodbye to my carry-on luggage and sticking with a medium sized checked luggage piece and my Herschel Backpack. I ended up being happy I chose the backpack. It was useful for day trips and packing for a picnic at the Eiffel Tower one evening.
3. Accessorize for the plane ride.
I vowed on this trip that I would take a nice travel pillow and eye shades since I was clocking some serious time in the air going from the U.S to Europe to Africa, and back again. I knew I wanted an inflatable neck pillow design since every inch of packing space counted on this trip. I was very happy with the quality of my Lewis N. Clark Adjustable Neck Pillow. The exterior fabric was really soft, and I could gage with how firm I wanted the pillow by adjusting the inflation level.
4. Pack with your method of transport in mind.
I’m not sure we made many friends during our train trip from Paris to the city of Nantes for a weekend stay, considering how my boyfriend’s luggage hit every seat and person on its way through the train’s narrow aisles. We’d scrambled to pack in time for the train that day, which lead to a lopsided packing job and a loss of the 4-wheel mobility on his bag. Learn from our mistake and make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to pack smart, and check that your bag is handling properly after packing. You can always shift items in your luggage piece’s front pocket to your personal bag in order to keep your luggage streamlined for narrow plane or train aisles.
5. Leave extra room in your bag so you can buy gifts.
I have already been thankful that I made sure to leave extra room in my bag for gifts and items I find during my journey. There is nothing worse than having to pass up something special because you overpacked beforehand. It’s always better to sacrifice that extra outfit in favor of one you can find while on your trip.
6. Pack the right electronics.
Even though I thought I had planned ahead for electronics, I managed to miss a few important details when packing my adapter plug and converter. If you, like me, enjoy the use of a laptop make sure you are packing a plug that will comply with your laptop’s special grounded 3-prong cord. Also, check the wattage on your transformer if you are trying to use heating tools. For example, I required a 70-watt transformer for some heated accessories on this trip and I packed a 50-watt transformer. I’ll save you some digging and leave you our Electronics Guide so you don’t make the same mistakes.
As you can see from my experience, preparation allows you to have a better and smoother trip. These six instance are just the tip of the iceberg, but should be able to help you start strategizing successfully for your next trip.
Make sure to leave us a comment with your favorite packing tip below!