Hello everyone, and welcome back. I am currently on a trip to Germany and the Czech Republic, so I though I would share some tips I have learned while preparing for this trip. Many of these work for any trip, but there are also some that apply to international and cold-weather trips.
Something extremely important for any trip, especially a long one, is to pack light. I have always thought that it’s better to be over prepared than under prepared, so I know, this is really hard. But I do have a few tips that help. It is also important to have your suitcase neatly packed, as airports also prefer that in case of inspection.
1. Before the trip, figure out exactly what you will need. This all varies depending on the length of your trip, the weather, and location. So, don’t bring a swimsuit on your trip to Moscow in the winter. Make a list of every single thing you will need for the trip, be it clothes, electronics, or an umbrella, and check it off as you pack. Also pack according to the amount of luggage you are allowed to bring.
2. Pack outfits, not options. Sometimes when people pack they will bring multiple items in the same color scheme to keep their options open, but this is a waste of space. Plan a specific outfit for each day and bring those specific clothes. No more, no less. (Although you may bring a few extra items for layering in cold weather.)
3. Pack efficiently. Don’t just throw things into the suitcase. Fold items in a way that saves as much space as possible. Some people recommend rolling clothes, but I find that the Konmari method works better. To fold the Konmari way you:
- Fold in half down the length of the article of clothing.
- Fold in half the other way.
- Then fold in thirds the same way.
- The item should be narrow and able to stand up on it’s own.
To see a video on this folding method, click here.
Another way to save space when packing is to put smaller items into small, cosmetic-type bags together. Organize by category.
4. Make sure all liquids are of correct size and stored correctly. All liquid stored in a carry on must be 3.4 oz or smaller and stored in a quart-sized plastic bag. Liquids in checked luggage do not have the same regulations, but I would still recommend putting certain things like shampoo and conditioner in a plastic bag in case of spillage. You should also put these near the bottom of your bag so that if they do spill they do not cause as much damage.
*For any questions on what you are allowed to bring onto a plane, visit tsa.gov.
5. Make sure you bring something, even a simple plastic bag, to put dirty clothes in. Putting them in with the rest of your clothes causes them all to stink.
6. Lastly, decide which items you need in your checked bag, carry on, and personal bag. Take only the items you need and organize them neatly.
Now, onto the airport tips. You have your bag packed, but how can you make the travel itself go more smoothly? I have a few ideas for that as well.
1. Wear the right clothes to the airport. Some recommend wearing your biggest clothes on the plane to save space in your suitcase, but this really isn’t practical on certain trips. Instead, wear the clothes you will need immediately when you arrive at your destination. Or, if your flight is really long, wear your comfortable clothes and bring a change of clothes in and easily accessible bag. Some other tips for airplane wear:
- Consider security. Don’t wear shoes that will take forever to take off and put back on. Avoid a belt if you can. The more jackets you wear, the more you have to take off.
- Consider the temperature on the plane and your destination. Planes tend to be cold, but some are hot as well. Minimal layers, or a small blanket in your bag, are best.
2. Make sure you have everything you frequently need in your personal bag. I.D., passport, money, and electronics all fit into this category. If you will need it in the airport or on the plane, keep it with you.
*Have a copy of your passport just in case.
3. Bring a change of clothes and a coupe of toiletries (deodorant, toothbrush) in your personal bag as well, especially on long flights. If you’re on a ten hour flight, you will want to freshen up at some point. There is also the chance of your luggage potentially getting lost, and you should be prepared in case that happens.
4. Beverages. Food and drink are important, but they are expensive in the airport and not all airlines provide them; or if they do, it isn’t always good. So here are a few ideas.
- Bring an empty water bottle. You can’t bring that much water through security, so bring and empty (reusable) water bottle instead and fill it up when you get to the other side. You don’t have to pay for one in the airport, and you’re saving plastic!
- Bring snacks. You are allowed to bring food through security, as long as it is packaged and dry (check tsa.gov). I recommend things like pop-tarts and granola bars. You can also bring an instant oatmeal packet and ask for hot water in the airport or plane.
- If you think you might not have enough time to wait in line for, say, Starbucks, don’t do it. It’s better to be hungry than to miss your flight.
5. Bring plently of entertainment. Download something from Netflix. Read a book. At least bring a pillow so you can sleep. Planes get boring so you will need something to occupy the time.
6. As for the airport, make sure you get there early. One to two hours for a domestic flight, and three for international.
Now, as far as travel in general, I do have just a couple more hacks.
1. Contact your phone and credit card companies before travelling abroad. You want to know what the limits and restrictions are, and you don’t want to get in trouble for spending money in another country without letting them know.
2. Be responsible with money as a tourist because there are always pickpockets around. Don’t put things in your back pocket. Get something like a zipped, over-the-shoulder bag.
3. Get a unique luggage tag to easily identify your suitcase in baggage claim.
I know this was pretty long, but these tips really can help. What do you think? Do you know of any tips that I missed? Let me know!
Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you next time on Thoughtful Thursday!