It’s almost time!
You’ve booked, prepared, waited excitedly, and now the time has almost come to take your trip! Now comes the difficult part- PACKING. What should you take? What should you leave? Here are some tips to make packing for your next adventure easier.
In my opinion, your carry-on is the most important piece of luggage you’ll carry. I say this, because is it always going to be with you en route to your destination (at least, it should be!). Even if the airlines lose your luggage, you’ll still have your carry-on. If things go wrong, it’s your lifeline! So it’s important that we pack it appropriately. Here’s how to do it:
1. Choose your bag.
Are you a roller board or book bag type of traveler? Or are you neither and prefer a tote? All of these are good options. A roller board will give you more space and can be the only piece of luggage that you take. It’s wheels make it convenient to navigate through an airport, but it’s on the larger side, so it could be cumbersome to store away on the plane. This is the one I have: It’s super spacious and affordable!
A book bag is another great option. It’s compact and easy to carry with a pockets to store things. The downside is that there is not as much room as a roller board, but I have done a weeklong international trip with only a small (and I mean Spirit-Airlines-small!) book bag, so it’s doable.
Totes are a nice choice. They tend to be spacious and easy to carry, plus they can double as a carry-all if you go to the beach. They tend not to be my first choice, because they tend to be open in the top and without compartments, which makes it easy for things to be stolen or dropped out of them.
2. Pack your electronics.
Electronics and their accessories are always something that I pack in my carry-on, because I wouldn’t want to risk losing them or having them damaged. I always carry:
- Cell phone + cell phone charger
- Laptop/tablet + computer charger
- Camera (*I always change out my batteries for new ones since we can no longer pack batteries in our carry on luggage. If you are checking a bag, put backup batteries in your checked luggage.)
- Portable cell phone charger
- Wall adapter (Check this one out from Walmart.com)
3. Pack your essential documents/cards.
- Driver’s license
- Itinerary (flight info, hotel confirmation, etc.)
- Credit/Bank cards
4. Pack a personal pharmacy
Whenever I take a trip, especially if it’s abroad, I always pack a mini “pharmacy” stocked with the basics that I may possibly need if I were to get sick or hurt. Here’s what I include:
- Mini first aid kit (I like this one from Walmart)
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Hand sanitizer/sanitizing wipes
- Saline drops
If you get the small individually wrapped pills, everything can fit in a quart size ziplock bag. You never know what will happen so it pays to be prepared.
4. Pack for comfort
Let’s face it: unless you’re sitting in first or business class, flying isn’t always too comfortable, so you have to do what you have to do to make it as comfortable as possible. Whenever I travel I am sure to pack the following:
- Travel pillow
- Eye mask
- Ear plugs (I like these because they not only block out noise sufficiently enough for me, but they mainly function to equalize the pressure in your ears during flights)
- Baby wipes (because you never know when you’ll need to freshen up!)
If you pack all of these things, you are sure to have the perfect carry on to meet your needs.
The Checked Luggage
Deciding what goes in your checked luggage is way easier than deciding what goes in your carry-on. Even so, packing a checked bag comes with it’s own challenges. God forbid you go over the weight limit! So what should you pack? It really depends on the location. But the rule of thumb is to put everything that you plan to take out on your bed and then….take only half! Truth is that most of us overpack. I like to count the number of days that I will be there and pick out one outfit for each day, plus two extra outfits for evening changes or for if my clothes get wet or dirty. I consider special events that I may have and pack an outfit for those. I then add a few bathing suits, something to sleep in, and activewear. If you’re short on space, try to pick a couple of pairs of shoes that are versatile. Gym shoes can be worn for walking and going on excursions. Sandals can be used for daily wear and can look good with dressier outfits. A pair of black heels that can go with anything is always a good thing to have.
For an organized backing list, check out my printable packing list here.