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Question

What are your best packing tips? How do you pack for a weekend getaway vs. a week or multiple-week trip?

 

Answers

Take less, not more. We went to South America for 6 weeks with a carryon and tote bag each. Once you ditch the checked bag, you'll never go back. It's incredibly freeing.

 

 

For longer trips, I always pack old underwear and t-shirts that would otherwise be thrown out or used as cleaning rags. I leave the old stuff behind as I travel, and can use the space for souvenirs, instead of bringing back a bunch of dirty laundry.

 

 

I am a 45-year flight attendant who has traveled extensively — both domestic and international destinations. Whether packing for work or simply a short getaway with my husband, we always follow a couple simple packing rules that seem to work in keeping the quantity of what's packed down and taking only that which you'll probably use.  

 

A few days prior to departure, spread out all intended items for travel on a bed and re-evaluate them in the following days.That is, will I really use this? Can I coordinate a couple items to reduce the number of garments taken? (layering is a good way to go) Reconsider the weather at the destination, ensuring appropriate clothing is packed in lieu of that which would be too cool or warm. It's this prior evaluation that helps to pack only that which you'd probably use and/or need, depending on the length of the trip.

 

One last suggestion is in the packing process... and that is to 'roll' up items, allowing more space to be available in the suitcase.  Items that roll-up nicely include underwear, T-shirts, slacks, etc. These items can then be placed around the sides of the suitcase as well as in other small areas not taken up with other essentials. Any space that can be saved allows an additional item or two to be packed — or a last-minute item just thought about. Packing with a purpose is our motto!

     

 

Make lists on your computer. One for electronics, one for toiletries (we keep ours constantly packed) and meds, predeparture (cancel papers, hold mail, alert only a couple of trusted folks, alarm company, police), and other categories. Update those checklists and change the computer file. Make sure someone has access to your vital medical and financial info. (I wear a medical bracelet with a flash drive in it — lots of info in there. Or park info in the Cloud where only your password can get it.) Lay out clothes, shoes, etc., and pack smart. (If your hotel has a coin laundry, pack pods of detergent, dryer sheets — which keep your suitcase smelling nice!) Take collapsible "walking poles" — your body will thank you. Pack sensible shoes!!! Check your smartphone settings to not run up a huge bill (especially if traveling outside the US!). When you know you are organized, it is far easier to relax and enjoy yourself!

 

 

I travel quite a bit on a motorcycle so have learned that "less is more". My #1 tip is to use packing cubes, particularly the ones with a compression zipper option. As some others have mentioned, I also roll my clothes as much as possible. It's amazing how many rolled up articles of clothing will fit in one compression packing cube! I also pack clothing that will mix and match as well as things that I can layer should the weather cool off. I have other tips too but these are the ones that allow me to travel by motorcycle for 8-9 days with only two saddlebags and a small travel bag on the passenger pillion.

 

 

I keep major items packed in a small suitcase (for short trips, for longer trips contents just get dumped into the bigger size one): There is a permanently packed cosmetic-medical kit (just needed on September trip to Germany where travel mate got stung by several wasps - had Benadryl stick in medkit), also containing toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.. Some of the items — like medical, dental, are in a smaller transparent plastic bag which fits into the bigger one; it contains everything in tiny sizes and never gets disassembled, only refurbished (such as the Benadryl stick upon my return) and not put away until everything is back in there. The full cosmetic kit is extremely practical. It consists of outside covers which are non-transparent and there is a handle. It can be carried like a purse when zipped together. Opposite the two covers, inside, are transparent equivalents, each inside zips. It's easy to see the contents of the two inside compartments that form, when all-round outside zipper is unzipped (to make this easier to understand, it's like a little like a book with handles).

The permanent suitcase also contains rolled panties, 3x7 each in a cheap flexible plastic bag inside a bigger cheap flexible plastic bag. For short trips, I can remove 2x7, which get replaced upon my return. It also contains a tiny short terry bathrobe and a pair of black C. — can't think of the famous name, they are sold as street wear — shower shoes (in plastic bag because it may be wet on days of departure, and the shower shoes could even double as an extra pair of  streetwear shoes) — in Europe you don't always get enough towels, if any; there is a pair of very light-weight winter-silk pyjamas, which wash easily and can double as warm underwear in an emergency but are not too hot in summer. There are a few more small essentials that I cannot think of right now. 

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