I suspect most people have a tendency to over pack for a trip. I actually have several friends who pack up a large suitcase, a smaller carry-on luggage, aside from their personal handbag, when going away for a 1-2 day trip. It looked like they brought everything they own, just &lsquoin case&rsquo. I have to sheepishly admit that I&rsquove also been known to take far too much. I justified it by the number of days or weeks I&rsquoll be away, the possible climate changes, and finally the desire to look great in a variety of situations a trip might present. I noticed the following:
A. Most of the clothes I brought were just extraneous clutter, like vanity objects, which filled up the hotel closet, never to be worn.
B. By having too many choices, I got overwhelmed and wore the same pair of boots and 3-4 articles of clothing, with the rest lingering as an uncomfortable reminder.
C. Getting to and from the airports or ships was literally a drag.
Now, most of my trips are longer than those of many flight attendants, but still, they are professional travellers and I decided to learn from the best.
1. Carry on instead of check in
Provided your trip is no longer than a week or so, a carry on can hold all you need. This will allow you to exit the airport without having to wait for ages by the carousel for your luggage to arrive. Plus, you&rsquoll save the fee many airlines now charge for every piece of checked luggage.
2. Check in online 24 hours before your flight
This will secure you the best seat and assign you a boarding pass without waiting on the endless line by the airline counter.
3. Instead of using the space inside luggage – wear the bulkier items such as your boots or coat.
This piece of advice proved to be phenomenal, especially when travelling in winter. Once you&rsquore seated, the coat can be used as a warm blanket (it&rsquos often far from cosy inside the cabin and airline blankets are too short and thin). I use them as a soft lining or as an extra pillow once they&rsquore rolled. The boots come off on long flights, tuck under the seat and you put on the soft walking socks from your bag. Wear comfortable, soft clothes and you&rsquore set to relax.
4. Air compression bags, and assorted size Ziploc bags with the air completely sucked out, will pack a huge amount: your neatly rolled up clothes, underwear, swimsuits, accessories, assorted toiletries, shoes and more will take up easily a quarter of the place they would&rsquove without this trick.
5. Think ahead of everything you&rsquoll need &ndash dressing mentally from head to toe.
The trick here is making outfits that can change from day to night by adding an accessory, changing a top and shoes. My favourite thing is matching outfits in colour, starting with a skirt and a dress, then dressing them up or down by putting on a simple top or an evening one with elegant details. Stockings and leggings, funky hat vs. elegant scarf, boots vs. high heels &ndash all of that can change the look. For men, an elegant jacket and a silk tie can change a sporty day outfit to evening formal.
6. Line the insides of your shoes with socks, leggings and stockings then place them neatly in the spaces at the sides of your case. Place the stuffed shoes in bags to keep everything else clean, and separate pairs so they make little packages that can be used as empty space fillers. Saving space is the name of the game, so every bit of the case is used to full advantage.
7. Charge your devices fully before departure. If there&rsquos a delay at the airport you won&rsquot have to wait for the limited number of chargers available.
8. Bring a 3-prong charger, with USB ports so you can leave the bulky chargers and take only the cords. Consider using a smaller device like a phone rather than your computer if possible.
9. Make a list of everything you might need well ahead of the trip while also considering the policy of the airline of choice. This is so important, it ought to have been at the beginning of the blog. Some airlines charge $75 per checked bag and are rigorous with weight overages – I almost had to leave behind 3 new important books, but luckily managed to squeeze them into my carry on and purse.
10. Anything liquid such as lotions, conditioners, perfumes, etc. must be in 3-4 oz. containers.
TSA (Transportation Security Administration) will confiscate your expensive potions and lotions unless they are packed in small containers. Also remember that if you only have carry-on luggage, nothing sharp like scissors must be in the bags as you pass security. If you need to take a larger amount or a kitchen knife (l take a chef knife if I go visiting friends, since I love cooking).
11. Passports, important documents and medications MUST always be in a bag you keep with you. The same applies to expensive jewellery and wallets with credit cards, driver&rsquos license and money.
PS. When travelling with kids and babies, bring along supplies, diapers and food and don&rsquot rely on airports or airlines to provide it. The same goes for snacks. Almonds fruit or other healthy snacks can be a lifesaver on a long flight, or ever a layover.
Written by Sarity Gervais