One of the things I am totally nerdy about is … packing. Yup, weird, I know. So here’s my two cents on how to save two cents, do the deed as quickly as possible, and keep your mind clear on the road! 🙂
Before even starting to pack, I recommend confirming your checked luggage allowance. A development in long-haul airfares this year is that some airfares are exceedingly cheap, but don’t include checked luggage. So, it’s sooo simple, but… I recommend confirming your checked luggage allowance before you pack.
Choose your weapon: are you going to check a bag or not? If at all possible, I recommend bringing a carry-on case (both in terms of security and size), because…
– it’s better for your body (less to haul around)
– it’s likely to be cheaper (you never know when you’ll come across an unexpected luggage charge when travelling, plus if renting a car you’ll be able to rent a smaller car)
– it’s friendlier (if you have a smaller case you’ll have more carspace and can give a lift to someone!)
This saved me €50 lately… I was flying transatlantic, thought I had the option of bringing a large case, decided to bring my carry-on for ease, and it turned out my flight didn’t include a checked luggage. So I merrily used my carry-on and saved myself an extra charge. Wahoo! A cherry on the lightly-packed cake!
When it comes to the actual deed of packing, I find there are just too many things to remember. So, nerd that I am, I have written a packing checklist, and every time I have to go somewhere, I print off this list and check items off it as I pack. Good news: I am making this checklist available for you to download here. Items are listed in order of importance; items in italics are optional depending on the destination, weather, and itinerary.
(One musician pal packs in a more intuitive way… he leaves his suitcase open in the kitchen for the week before departure, and as he thinks of things he needs to pack, he throws them in the case.)
So when it comes to The Deed, here are a few of my considerations.
HOW MUCH TO PACK?
I figure out how many mornings I’ll be away… that equals how many knickers to bring.
I generally pack one daytime outfit for every two days away.
If I’m going for 8 nights or less, I don’t plan on doing laundry.
If I’m going for 14 nights, I either
a) pack 7 outfits or
b) pack 4 outfits and do laundry on the trip.
Whether I do (a) or (b) depends on my luggage allowance, itinerary, and access to laundry.
If I’m away for longer than 2 weeks, I pack for 8 nights and do laundry on the trip.
WHAT TO PACK?
Firstly, I check the weather at the destination, and decide what to wear for the journey itself. I find deciding what to wear for a trip from rainy Ireland to a warm destination to be a science in itself, so I wrote a separate blogpost on this … read it here. I put those clothes for my travel-day by my bed, so I can get dressed quickly the morning of my departure.
I wear dresses as much as possible when travelling, because
- they’re more space-efficient to pack than, for example, a trousers plus top
- I can wear a light dress with a long-sleeved top beneath / cardigan on top / with fleecy tights, and hey presto – I’m warm! I find long-sleeved tops, cardigans and tights to be far more space-efficient than, say, a bulky jumper, so I then get a lot more ‘bang for my buck’ from my packing.
My system for planning my outfits is…
- I decide on the core garment – usually a dress (sometimes shorts, a skirt, or trousers, but for coherence in this article we’ll just say a dress)
- I decide on the shoes I’m going to wear with it
- I add in a long-sleeved top, cardigan, tights, hair accessory, and scarf that match so I can put on layers depending on the temperature.
I try to make all the shoes and accessories match at least 2 dresses; e.g. I’ll bring 2 blue dresses, then pack black pumps, a blue long-sleeved top, navy cardigan, navy tights, blue hair accessory and white scarf… all of which match bothblue dresses.
When travelling I generally avoid outfits with jewellery and belts.
I usually swim in a swimsuit, but when travelling I pack a bikini because it’s more space-efficient.
If going to a cold place, I try to bring a fleece rather than a massive woolly jumper or a hoodie; fleece is more space-efficient. I’ll pack boots, and wear them rather than pack them.
If I’m not sure what awaits me on the trip, I try to pack smart casual, with one ‘glam’ outfit.
Little toiletry note: Ace fiddler Soazig Hamelin gave me the idea of packing a shampoo bar, rather than liquid shampoo, to simplify my journey through security.
HOW TO PACK?
My globetrotting pal Ali recommends folding all clothes in an ‘army roll’ for the following reasons:
- It’s far more space-efficient than normal folding
- You can see at a glance what your wardrobe options are, so it saves time when dressing
- The fact that your luggage is tidy helps keeps your mind clear. This may sound illogical to some, but it makes perfect sense to me! I find it difficult to think clearly if my house or devices are unorganized and chaotic. Ergo I understand how keeping my luggage in order when travelling would help me maintain mental clarity.
You can learn how to do an ‘army roll’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuD-ZZydsVg
Agus sin é! Hopefully these tips will save you some time and / or grief. For a couple of tips on how to make the journey as easy as possible, read here. Let me know if you have any tips! And watch this space – I mean, I haven’t even got started on my real passion, which is … luggage! 😉
Go n-éirí an bóthar leat, may the road rise to meet you!