If you’re going on a trip to a new place for the first time, it helps to know some packing tips that will help to make your trip all it can be. Some people make beginners packing mistakes that wind up ruining their whole trip or at the least give them an over bearing backpack. Learn from this list and you’ll be sure to have a trip that’ll really be worth having.
Packing light will help you in the long run. Assuming you have a backpack and not an old suitcase
#1: Make Itemised Lists
Making a list of things you think you’ll need. Actually, make two lists. One for things you’ll be packing at home in preparation for travel, and another list of things to buy when you get to your destination.
An itemised list will make double sure that you have everything you need and nothing you don’t. Itemized lists are great things to have when planning a trip. If you have other people coming on the trip with you, make sure they have made itemised lists as well.
Here are some commonly packed items, and you may find this list useful in your own packing plans.
- Location specific clothing (i.e.: shorts / t-shirts etc for hotter climates)
- Toiletries and washbag items (tooth paste, brush, hair care, deodorant etc)
- Socks/underwear etc
- Vacation Supplies (swimming gear, etc)
- Electronics ( I usually take my MacBook, iPod, headphones, chargers etc..)
- Contact Information in case of emergency
- Passport, tickets, insurance info etc
These are just some of the items you may need when on your trip. It covers all the basics, but you may find that you need a more expansive list than this. If you’re traveling with any children, you have to take their needs into consideration.
If there are any pets going on your trip with you, make sure that you pack for them too. Make sure that you imagine being at your destination in your mind and try and think through everything you may possibly need.
Also, if going on a “specialty” trip, make sure you pack according to your plans. For example, if you’re going scuba diving, make sure that you arrange for scuba equipment and pack your snorkel and goggles if you have them, otherwise call in advance to reserve your gear to avoid disappointment.
Tip #2: Check With Friends And Family For Advice
Friends and family can be your allies when it comes to knowing what to pack. Somewhere in your family tree, someone has probably gone on a trip and not had a specific item. You can learn from their mistakes and pack these items. This way, you won’t have to buy the items when you’re abroad. Things overseas and in tourist shops can be quite expensive.
Just give your friend a quick run down of what you have laid out and ready to go, and they may draw your attention to a few missing items.
Tip #3: Call Your Destination To See What They Have Available
Check to make sure your destination has items like: Hair dryer, ironing board, bathrobes, towels, toys for kids. If they have these available free of charge, you won’t need to bring your own.
Many hotels if you choose to use them will also have wash rooms to do your laundry, so bear that in mind in case you wish to pack lighter and wash clothes on the go.
Tip #4: Wear Your Heaviest Items To The Destination
Many people get in trouble when they realize the weight of their heaviest items. Heavy clothing just doesn’t pack well. If you must bring these bulky items, see if you can wear them to your destination. The weight will feel lighter and you’ll still have your favourite bulky items.
This is particularly useful if you are travelling with a baggage restriction as you can carry much of the gear on your person onto to the flight.
Tip #5: Pack Travel Size Products
Mini toothpastes and toiletries are a great space and weight saver.. Certainly worth the money!
Travel size products are great for traveling with. If you’re not staying at your destination for a long period of time, travel sized items can really be a blessing. It will leave more space in your suitcase or travel bag and leave more room for other items.
Otherwise, if you’re staying for a long period of time, you might want to consider packing your full size items instead of travel size. Also, often times the hotel you’re staying at will have soap, shampoo, and other items free of charge. Check with the hotel to see what they’ll have available to limit your load.
Tip #6: Check The Temperature At Your Destination
Check with the locals of the destination you plan on going to in order to find out what kind of clothes you’ll be needing. Don’t bring “just in case” clothes, find out from the hotel you’ll be staying at just what kind of temperatures you can expect on your trip.
Tip #7: A strong pair of shorts is a must have for travelling.
The essentials are things that you must take, socks, underwear, boots etc – because you just don’t know what situations you may get into without these kinds of clothes. But then there are things like jackets, which you can get cheaper abroad than when at home.
These are the things that you should look at buying, rather than carry around with you to save on backpack ‘bulk’ and also weight.
The idea behind travelling is that you fit in to the area that you are travelling through with minimal effort. If you are going to a tropical climate, go with loose and breezy clothing and swimwear if you are going to the beach.
If you are going to somewhere where the weather is often temperamental, make sure that you pack a small amount of both items to be fully covered. So you will want to take a few jumpers, a good pair of shorts and a normal t-shirts are needed at the bare minimum, along with long sleeve tees for colder evenings or while you are walking.
There are a lot of things that you should not take if you are going on a long trip, you don’t want to be hauling it around with you all the time! With that being said, you also want to avoid taking bulk and heavy luggage, so jeans and other things that can weigh a lot when wet should be out of the question.
So be smart about what you are packing! Watch what you buy and make sure you leave just that little bit of empty space in your suitcase for whatever you buy!
We hope these packing tips can really help you out when planning your next trip. If you’ve never been on a long trip before, these tips should be very useful. Until next time..
The editor of Discovery News Journal, and pursuer of relatively interesting information, Simon has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales, and is a photo-journalist and writer whose written and photographic work has been represented by the AFP news agency and appeared in newspapers across Europe and Asia.