As I've been travelling so much in recent months and years, I've begun to pick up new travel and packing habits. It occurred to me that somebody might find these useful, so I decided to record my packing process for a specific trip and share some tips about it.
I first realized that I needed to revise my packing procedure during my first big trip outside of Ireland, to Copenhagen and Amsterdam. I brought a backpack and a very small rolling suitcase. As I packed I was really proud of how little I brought (the trip was a week long, after all) but out of the group I was travelling with I definitely had the most stuff. *sigh* So I decided to follow their example and figure out how to travel with less! Carrying even that much was frustrating for the style of travelling we were doing, walking A LOT and taking public transportation everywhere. I think the main thing you need to remember is: you never need as much as you think you will, and as long as you're travelling to a city you can buy almost anything once you get there!
I wanted this to be a really practical explanation, I've learned a lot the last few years moving back and forth from school and doing other travelling. Practicality is most important to me, as I think you'll see in these pictures. I didn't bring a lot of extra clothing, and I brought hardly anything in the way of makeup and cosmetics. Those things just aren't a priority for me, so packing lightly means leaving them behind.
These pictures are from my last trip while I was abroad (to Edinburgh, Scotland).
First, I gathered all the stuff I needed to pack, including the clothes I was planning on wearing during travelling. I like to set them aside before I pack, to make sure I have enough clean clothes and because it takes less time to get ready in the morning. This is especially helpful when you have a 6:30am flight (during my time abroad I became unfortunately familiar with how to get to the airport at 4:30am...)
|I like to gather everything, then organize and pack it last|
|Yes, I even reminded myself about breakfast. Who knows|
whether 4am Leah would have remembered?
Obviously, remember all your important travel documents. I had this (admittedly dorky) little pouch I wore around my waist while travelling, it was essential for keeping my cash, ID and boarding passes handy and safe at the airport.
I don't regret using the fanny pack (like I said, I care more about practicality), but for the future I might try to find something that looks a little more attractive. That way it doesn't get in the way of nice pictures like the one below, and I would be more willing to wear it the whole trip rather than keeping it stuffed in my backpack like I usually did.
|*sigh* I look like such a tourist with my fanny pack. This is the aforementioned cliff|
that we climbed our very first day in Edinburgh.
And this is after! Vacuum bags work wonders. Everything in the previous picture is in that little bag that's now about the same size as my sandals. I have a few bags like this that don't require a vacuum to seal, you just zip the bag closed and then squeeze all the air out of it. I think this one is actually Ziploc brand. I bought mine at the AAA Travel Store and at The Container Store, although I'm sure you can probably find them other places as well. I've used mine SO much, they're definitely worth the investment if you travel a lot. You can reuse them several times, and they're not very expensive to begin with.
|I gave up trying to rotate this picture. I think you get|
This is after I gathered them together. I love this bag that my brother gave me for holding this kind of stuff. The liquids are in a clear quart bag for airport security, and everything else I threw into the bag so it wasn't floating around in my backpack.
This is the final product of my efforts! Everything I pictured is inside the backpack, and the other pile is what I prepared to wear in the next morning during my travels.
Packing lightly was a necessity for me on these trips. We usually went straight from the airport to sight-seeing, and on the final day we also took our stuff with us when we checked out of the hostel in the morning. Often you can't leave your stuff at hostels before or after check in, and even if you can picking it up later takes extra time that could be spent doing something interesting instead. Obviously this isn't relevant for every trip, but packing lightly always makes things more simple, no matter the situation!