Packing. Everyone has had to do it at some point in their life. Whether it’s for a vacation or moving to a new home, packing has been a part of your preparation. So, why then does this topic need mentioning? Well, if I was to watch most of you pack, it wouldn’t surprise me to see that you are packing the wrong way. This is fine, as it is something that is not really taught. In saying that, I shall now attempt to give you some tips on becoming more proficient in the art of packing!
Step 1- Determine Your Destination: This is a very crucial part of the packing process. Before you even start packing, you need to figure out where it is that you are going! Why does this matter? Well, depending on the location that you choose, the contents of your luggage and even the type of luggage that you bring may vary. You don’t want to pre-pack a giant suitcase full of winter clothing and decide to go to Africa (unless you enjoy being stared at like you are completely mental.).
Example: London, England
Step 2- Determine Your Transportation: So you have picked your destination. Now how in the world are you going to get there? By plane? Train? Camel?? Whatever you choose, be sure you know what size and weight of luggage that you are allowed to have. Airlines are very particular about how big your baggage can be and how much it can weigh. If you end up bringing a suitcase that weighs 100 lbs., you can expect to either pay a hefty fee or start handing off a lot of excess content to a family member while trying to make weight. Trains can also be very picky about the size and weight of your luggage. To figure out the right dimensions and weight you need for your luggage, it is best to consult the website of whatever airline or train you are taking.
Step 3- Determine Your Luggage Type: The type of luggage that you bring with you should really depend on the type of trip you are taking and how long you are going to be gone. If you are planning on taking a short trip, you would be best in taking a backpack. You don’t really need room for 10 outfits and your entire collection of accessories just for one weekend. Room for a few shirts and, at most, two pairs of pants will be enough. If you were going on a business trip for just a few days, and needed enough room for your clothes to be properly folded without getting bunched up and wrinkled, then a small suitcase would suffice. For longer trips, you should consider using a mid to large sized suitcase. Medium would be the best choice, as some large suitcases may not meet the dimensions of your airline/train. For your carry-on, it would be best to stick with a small backpack, purse, duffel bag, or small suitcase.
Example: Medium suitcase with backpack carry-on for 5 month trip
Step 4- The Content: Now it is time to figure out what you are going to bring with you. Everything in the closet and dressers, right? WRONG. Being a minimalist is the best route to take when packing. If you pack lightly, then that will leave room for all of the clothes and souvenirs that you will end up buying (and you WILL buy stuff). So what exactly should you pack? As stated earlier, the content of your luggage depends on your destination. If you are going somewhere that is generally warmer, then you should pack lighter clothing. If you are going somewhere that rains a lot, then you should be sure to pack a rain-jacket or a small umbrella. For your carry-on, you should pack essentials that you might need at a moment’s notice and things that you don’t want to go in your luggage that might get damaged. These can be things such as your laptop, chargers, travel documents, and possibly a spare change of clothes, just in case you have a random layover.
Step 5- The Layout: And now to figure out how to pack it all in. I will show you how to properly fold each article of clothing, then I will show you how to layer it in the suitcase. For this step, I will use the example of a student who is studying abroad for 5 months in London, England. Pay close attention to the amount of stuff that goes into my packing and adjust it according to your trip.
First, take you pants and fold them in half.
Then fold in half lengthwise.
And fold in half again lengthwise.
First, fold the shirt in half.
Then fold the sleeve over at an angle.
Next, grab the collar of the shirt and begin rolling downward.
Keep rolling until the shirt is a tight log.
First, fold the shorts in half.
Next, grab the waistband of the shorts and begin rolling downward.
Keep rolling until the shorts are in a tight log.
First, fold the shirt in half.
Next, fold the sleeve over at an angle.
Finally, fold the shirt in half lengthwise. Keep the collar in the front of the fold.
The first thing to go in the suitcase will be the pants. Lay your first pair in the bottom left corner of your suitcase.
Lay your other pairs of pants in shingle-form.
Next, fill in the space next to your pants with the shirt and short logs.
Then, lay your first long-sleeve shirt towards the bottom of the suitcase.
Lay your other shirts in shingle form.
If you do not have a zipper pocket on the inside of your suitcase, you may place your underwear and socks on top of the other layers.
Take your extra pair of shoes and belt and lay them on top. Shoes should be placed upside down.
Take a look at all of that extra space you have!
Now zip it up and you’re ready to go!
Step 6- Finishing details: After you have everything packed, make sure to weigh your luggage to see if it is well under the weight limit set by your travel transportation. You will want to have enough leeway so that you can add things while you are on your trip. Also, to free up space and weight, try not to bring any toiletries with you from home. Most places that you travel to will have all of those things for sale in stores. If you do bring any toiletries, make sure they are placed in a clear Ziploc bag and put in your suitcase. This is the usual policy when going through a luggage check. Lastly, be sure to place something unique on your luggage to help identify that it is yours, just in case that it gets lost or there are others with the same luggage type (i.e. colored tape, stickers, etc.).
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