The end of the year sees more people wanting to get away from it all. Traveling opens the door to a wealth of new experiences. It is time for a little relaxation and fun. It is also stressful. A holiday sometimes leaves you with more crease lines than a normal routine. Packing your suitcase the wrong way and forgetting important items contributes to much of that stress.
These suggestions on how to pack wisely and finding the right travel gear, especially for winter travel, should help.
Preparing for the trip
Before you start to pack, you must make the necessary preparations for the trip and have contingencies ready. Get an updated list of items allowed in checked-in and hand-carry luggage from transport authorities. You do not want to abandon or lose any items at the airport.
Consult with your tour agent about luggage regulations if you are traveling with a group. Space constraints cause some agencies to limit the number of bags each person can carry.
Note what not to take with you on a plane as well. These include safety hazards such as knives and scissors. Certain foods, such as peanuts, may lead to allergic reactions in other passengers.
Making a checklist for your trip is helpful and necessary. The list will include the usual suspects such as clothing, shoes, toiletries, administrative documents and travel guides. It should also include commonly forgotten items such as toothpaste, hats, deodorant, razors and pajamas. Consider necessary items for winter travel.
Put important documents such as passports, tickets or driver’s licenses in a folder. Do not include these in your luggage as it is a hassle to retrieve them when you need them. Carry them with you. This also lessens the likelihood of you losing them.
A few weeks ahead of your trip, find a large space, usually a guest room, to gather the items you intend to take with you.
Selecting and packing luggage
If you want to combine backpacking convenience and suitcase chic, choose a convertible suitcase or backpack. These allow you to convert your bag depending on the occasion.
When choosing a backpack, check it for firm stitching. It should have enough side pouches to stuff odds and ends. Select one with a low profile color as you do not want to attract unnecessary criminal attention at the airport.
If you are carrying a laptop, consider a TSA-approved bag. This allows airport authorities to x-ray the laptop. They may ask you to remove the laptop otherwise.
Make sure that you pack your bag only two-thirds full. This leaves room for the items you may buy on your trip. Place the heaviest items at the bottom of the bag.
Use gallon or Ziploc bags to pack your items. Roll them up. The conventional “roll” method saves space and helps to prevent creases.
Toiletries are among the items we tend to forget when we travel. Make sure that the toiletries you use daily are on your checklist.
Buy travel-size quantities of these toiletries. If you have specific shampoos you need to use, pour the amount you need into smaller, unused bottles. Pack extra tissue and sanitizing hand gel.
Note that you cannot bring more than a certain amount of liquid on a plane, as some substances are flammable. Do check with airline authorities about how much liquid you can carry with you. You may have to display these liquids for inspection at the airport if you are carrying too much. Pack liquids bottles in resealable bags, separately from other items.
It is always best to travel light. Ladies, especially, tend to forget this as they have more clothing choices.
Plan your outfits ahead of time so that you do not end up over packing. Wear travel pants that you only need to air instead of wash. Choose three or four pairs in neutral colors that you can mix and match with different shirts. Clothing made of synthetic fabric or polar fleece as these are insulating and less bulky.
When traveling during the winter months, pack long-sleeved shirts. These give extra warmth and are comfortable as day wear. Sweaters and knitted scarves, too, keep you warm as you enjoy recreational activities such as skiing.
Winter conditions are harsh and wet, so it is important to pack wet weather gear. Wear a jacket made of firm polyester or nylon, as these materials are breathable. It should have extra pockets for you to keep the extra items you will have to carry with you. Waterproof jackets come in three categories, lightweight, mountain or all-purpose. The area you travel to will decide which kind you buy. If you are not going to a terribly cold area, a lightweight waterproof jacket that you can also use on summer days will do.
Footwear is extremely important during winter months. Even in warmer conditions, make sure that your shoes can withstand wet and slippery surfaces. Heels, of course, are a terrible idea.
Winter hikers should pack steel-toed boots. Choose durable, low-temperature boots if you are traveling to an area where the climate is exceedingly cold. If the temperature is warmer, you may consider boots that are not rated for the lowest temperatures.
If you are participating in many physical activities, do not choose boots rated for low temperatures. High activity levels keep your blood circulating and your body warmer, so such boots may have an adverse effect.
Consider the terrain of the places you will walk on. If it is mostly rough, icy or mountainous choose boots specially designed for that terrain.
On other occasions, sleek leather boots keep you warm and fashionable. Casual footwear may include vintage-style sneakers instead of tennis shoes.
Pack clothing items in a vacuum pack. This saves you a lot of room.
Packing Miscellaneous Items
Do not forget miscellaneous items as well. Pack these in a Ziploc bag. Do not forget your camera as you will want to capture those important memories.
While this seems trite, you may need a first aid or sewing kit in times of emergency. Include stationery for jotting down important notes.
Make your vacation a relaxed one by packing wisely.