Welcome to Travel Mini Series week! As some of you may know by now, I’m actually away at the moment and what better content to share with you while I’m travelling than, well, tips on travelling! For the next 5 days, I’ll be sharing some of my top travelling tips with you that I’ve learned over the years. I travelled a lot when I was in uni and I did it for work as well. Nowadays, my travels are mostly for holidays. I’ve learned some pretty hard lessons when it comes to travelling so for Travel Mini Series week, I thought I’d share them with you.
Today’s tips are on packing for your travel destination. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m almost always guilty of overpacking. When it comes to packing, it’s as though my mind switches to “just-in-case” gear. I’ll need to bring this with me just in case. What if I need that when I’m away? I’ll pack in just in case. You know what I mean?
I may not have mastered the art of packing exactly and only what I need but over the years, I’ve learned to cut down the amount of stuff I bring with me. Thanks to these tips that I picked up (and also lessons I learned the hard way), I’ve managed to not overpack. Well, most of the time. 😛
Alrighty, let’s get started!
1. Check the weather forecast for the destination
I didn’t used to do this before so I’d just pack all the just-in-cases. The just-in-case summer dress, the just-in-case winter coat … all these just-in-cases took up a heap of space in the luggage. Many a time, I didn’t even need those bulky items! If you’re travelling to cities/countries with erratic weather like Melbourne (cold one morning, hot in the afternoon, etc), bring light jackets and/or cardigans instead and layer, layer, LAYER. It’s better than bringing just one bulky coat and you get more outfit choices. For destinations that don’t have crazy changes in weathers, packing according to the weather forecast should be all right.
2. Plan your clothes in outfits and wear each item more than once
When it comes to packing clothes (which is pretty much the meat of the entire luggage), I stumbled upon a great idea of planning in outfits. I did this during my last holiday to Japan. What I did was come up with staple pieces, work and re-work them into different outfits and then I photographed each outfit. Each outfit represents a day and every item has to be worn at least twice. It was the first time ever that the amount of clothes I brought were actually less than Tim’s. And guess what? The system worked! I went back to the photographs I took with my phone to see what to wear and I didn’t even need to worry about how each outfit would look because I’ve already approved of them prior to the holiday. If you’re going to be travelling for more than a week, consider doing laundry instead of bringing lots of clothes.
3. Get a luggage scale
Even if you don’t travel often, a luggage scale is a highly useful item to have especially if you tend to fly via budget airlines. I bought one just before we went travelled to Europe a couple of years ago because I knew we were going to fly on 2 budget airlines, Ryan Air and EasyJet. These airlines are notorious sticklers for keeping luggage weight in check (they’ll penalise you even if you have 500g over the limit). The luggage scale kept our luggage weight just below the limit throughout the trip. It doesn’t matter if you don’t fly budget; a luggage scale is a great tool to have nonetheless. I got mine for less than $20 on eBay.
4. Bring your essentials; buy the rest at your destination
You don’t have to bring everything and the kitchen sink with you. This was a mistake I made when I started travelling a lot more many years ago. I remembered when I left for university in the UK, I actually brought reams of A4 paper because someone told me paper was expensive. I missed out on bringing home comforts; instead, I freakin’ brought paper. REAMS of it! I found out that no, paper wasn’t expensive at all but the imported home comforts were.
As the years went by, I learned to only bring the essentials and buy the rest at my destination. For example, I wouldn’t bother bringing an umbrella with me even if the weather forecast at my destination meant that it was going to rain cats and dogs. I’d just buy the umbrella there and leave it there before I leave. If I need to do laundry, I’ll buy detergent there. On the other hand, I would still bring my “just-in-case” medication/vitamins and my own skincare products in case the unfamiliar ones don’t work for me.
5. Bring multitasking products
Can your makeup bag multi-task as a clutch? Can your scarf be used as a blanket or a rolled-up pillow? Can you use your flat iron to curl your hair as well? Can you use lip and cheek stains instead of bringing separate blushes and lippies? Consider bringing multi-tasking products that can save you luggage space and weight. One thing that you shouldn’t multitask: don’t skimp on sunscreen and only use makeup with SPF. That doesn’t count.
6. If you’re travelling alone, bring a wooden/rubber door stop
Say what? A door stop? Have you tried sticking a door stop against the flow of an opening door? It works almost like a lock and will make the door very hard to open. When I’m travelling alone, I bring one with me and use it if, for any reason, the hotel/apartment door does not have a chain or dead bolt. This does not stop the door from opening when using brute force but it’s useful to have when you’re sleeping and worry if someone’s going to creep in unnoticed.
I have a lot more tips on packing but I’ll leave those for the next few days as we continue with the Travel Mini Series for this whole week. If you travel a lot or enjoy reading about travelling or watching videos on travelling, I highly recommend the YouTube channel called Sonia Travels. Sonia makes a living out of travelling and she has immensely useful tips that I’ve picked up over the years.
For more inspiration on packing for travelling, I highly recommend checking Pinterest out. There’s a whale of information there with free downloadable checklists, vision boards and so on.