Good packing is absolutely essential when you’re going on a long trip, so it’s a good thing that we’ve got you covered! Whether you’re leaving home for three months or three years, if you have to fit your life in a suitcase you have to pack smart! We’ve collected the best packing tips for people getting ready for a long trip.
What not to pack
There are always a couple of things in your suitcase that you wish you’d left behind, whether because you rarely end up using it, or because something you could have easily purchased at your destination ended up taking up a lot of precious room in your suitcase. Imagine yourself as the hapless victim of the show What Not To Wear, would Stacey and Clinton let you take up precious room in your suitcase for those shoes you can barely walk in? Don’t pack it!
Sometimes the best way to pack effectively, is to rule out what not to pack.
Only pack clothing that you like to wear
Remember the golden rule of packing: if you don’t wear it, don’t pack it. Only pack the clothes that you are comfortable in and wear often. Banish the idea that that sweater you never wear might suddenly become useful to you, it won’t.
If you have trouble limiting the clothes you are planning to bring, try choosing a color palette and stick to packing only clothes that match.
Consider purchasing your toiletries upon arrival
Toiletries can be heavy and take up unnecessary room in your suitcase. If the item is not expensive or hard to find, consider making a pharmacy run after you arrive and saving precious space.
Leave the electronics at home if possible.
You might be thinking, I’m leaving for a month, I will need my hair dryer/ electric razor! But consider before you pack, electronic items may suffer wear and tear over time, especially if you are going overseas where variant voltage can mess with your equipment. Maybe you could purchase these items there, or do without.
What not to forget?
Now that we’ve covered what not to pack, you should have lots more room for what you will pack. For long trips being organized is important, you have to take the time to think ahead for what you will need over time at your destination. Think about the changing seasons and all the incidentals before you leave with these handy tips.
Don’t forget your Medications
It might sound obvious to caution you to stock up on the prescription medications you need, but still we hear horror stories about travelers scrambling to fulfil their prescription medications in an unfamiliar location and running into problems. Make sure to consider how long you will be staying and what you will need. If you get allergies at certain seasons it might be wise to grab your favorite over the counter relief, especially if you are not sure you can get them where you are going.
When you’re packing for variable seasons, think layers!
If you’re leaving for an extended period of time, you might have to deal with the changing seasons. The best way to pack clothes for multiple seasons is to choose versatile items that can be layered effectively. Then when the seasons change you can layer up or layer down.
Bring a jacket if it’s going to be cold
If it is going to get cold, it is always a good idea to pack a coat. You might be worried about the extra bulkiness, but you’ll likely end up being happy that you used the space for something that you will end up wearing so often!
Our favorite frequent traveler tips
We’ve got a few more tips up our sleeves! We love learning new travel hacks. When you’re packing for a long trip, don’t forget about these favorite tricks and techniques, and if you have some of your own let us know!
Bring out the suitcase early and start tossing things in
You know how when you’re getting ready for a big trip, you keep thinking about things you don’t want to forget? One great way to make sure you actually don’t forget them is to wheel out the suitcase a few days early. That way, when you think about that item that you don’t want to leave behind, you can immediately grab it and simply toss it in your suitcase. When you’re ready to pack, all those items will be in one place.
Try rolling your clothes
Many travelers swear by rolling clothes rather than folding them, a simple space-saving technique. We’ve heard good things about bundling methods as well. Sometimes when you’re trying to pack all those things you need for a longer-term stay, it helps to think outside the box!
Once you’ve chosen all the items you are going to bring, pare it down again
This is one of my personal favorite packing tricks. Sometimes you have to see the whole pile before you realize that you couldn’t possibly need all of the things you are trying to fit in that suitcase. Once you feel like you’ve made your choices, try rummaging through again and taking out some of the things that you are not sure of. Chances are you will never need them.
Photos by: katerha, zeevveez, Caden Crawford, JD Hancock, via flickr