Packing a suitcase is often one of the last things we do before we travel but often one of the most important and can really make or break your trip. Where your destination is, how you're travelling and what you're travelling for are important things to think about when travelling with luggage, or you may not even choose to take any with you! These are my tips to think about when packing a suitcase.
Have I picked the right luggage?
Picking the right type of luggage can make the world of difference to your trip. If you're taking a relatively short trip away, consider taking a duffle bag as carry on and leaving your larger luggage at home. If you can fit everything in your carry on, within the size and weight guidelines of your airline, this is not only an easier and quicker way to travel, but can also save you a lot of money. If you're taking a longer trip, it's probably best to take some luggage with you, and make sure its size appropriate. If you're travelling between a lot of different places or taking mostly public transport, consider a backpack, rucksack or combined suitcase/backpack. These are so much easier to carry around, especially through crowds and uneven surfaces such as dirt tracks and cobblestones.
What should I pack and how much?
This can vary enormously, again, depending on your destination and length of travel. Obviously, a months long vacation with need more clothing than a weekend away, but there are also other things to think about. How dirty are you expected to get while away (think about the activities you want to be doing)?. Will you have access to clothes washing and drying facilities. Will you need a new outfit for everyday or can you repeat/mix some? Will you be travelling for business and need appropriate attire or is it a laid back vacation? Are there any dress codes for events or the overall destination? What will the weather be like?
What about toiletries and personal items?
Most of us tend to travel prepared for everything when most of our toiletries will probably not even be used. Unless you're staying in the middle of a jungle, you will probably be able to find a vast majority of toiletries nearby. It's a good idea to take specialised items like makeup, razors and prescription medicines (remember to take your prescription with you), but most other items can be left at home and bought at your destination. Any aerosols, liquids and gels that you take with you that are larger than 100 will most likely need to be packed in your checked baggage, and it might be a good idea to store them in a plastic bag so they don't leak all over you belongings. Also, don't forget that phone charger and a power plug converter if you'll need one!
What if I pack too much?
Take everything out of your luggage and group items by type and think if you really need every item. Can you mix some items to create new outfits? If you can't, it might be a good idea to pre purchase an extra baggage allowance before you depart, which can save you a lot of money at the airport. If you have a number of cases with you, it might be a good idea to have a look at having it shipped instead of carrying it with you.
Any other tips?
If you have a large jacket or coat that won't fit into your luggage, wear it out the plane and take it off once you get on if you find it uncomfortable.
Most airlines will let you go marginally over their baggage allowance, however some are very strict. Full service airlines are usually less restrictive, whereas low cost airlines tend to ensure that all luggage (including carry on) are within their guidelines.
I hope this helps you when trying to pack a case for your trip away. Happy travels!
Nick Wallace is an aspiring public relations and communications professional with a penchant for anything lemon flavoured. When not studying hard or planning his next holiday to some exotic or exciting location, he produces content on cooking, travel, tech, or whatever takes his taste.