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Packing in 4 Steps

[ 6 ] December 1, 2009 |

Quick and efficient packing can be achieved in 4 Simple Steps: Plan, Assess, Package, Place.  These steps have been tried and tested multiple times and have proven to make packing and particularly repacking while travelling a breeze.  

 

Plan

The key to a successfully packed bag is planning and preparation this is all about creating a packing list and making sure you have all the items you need for your travels.  A packing list will help minimise the risk of forgetting items and will help in the process of repacking while travelling.    

The items on you list will vary from trip to trip and depend on destination.  When creating a list it’s always a good idea to break it up into groups for example tops, bottoms, toiletries, travel document etc.  To help you get started download and print the On UR Way Packing List. It includes essential items for every trip as well as room to customize the list for your own trip.  

When creating a list keep in mind…

Local culture and customs

This will affect what clothing to take eg. If travelling to a Muslim country you should take clothes that are modest and do not expose too much skin.  

Climate/Season/Weather

Will it be hot and humid or cool and wet. In hot humid climates take light cotton clothing that is breathable.  In cold wet climates takes clothing that can be layered.  

Activities/Attractions

You may need to take extra gear or extra clothing depending on what activities you plan to do and what attractions you plan to visit eg. Swimmers for the beach, dressy clothes for nightclubs or casinos, beanie, gloves and scarf for the snow.  

Tip: Travel with a copy of your list to use throughout the trip to make sure you have repacked everything!!!  

 

Assess

Assess what you really need and see what can be left behind.  

Lay out all your items on the list…
This gives you a good idea of the volume of everything you’re taking.  Consider this…  

  • As a general rule of thumb you should leave behind around 50% of the clothes you originally lay out.  Ask yourself do I really need that?  Will I wear that?  If you think your only going to wear it once or twice don’t bother taking it!!!
  • Are the items you’re taking versatile?  Take items of clothing that work well together and can be mixed and matched.  Avoid bulky items that you will only where once, instead favouring layering.
  • Minimise liquids but using multipurpose liquids like combined shampoo and conditioner, paper soaps that liquefy when you add water and powdered toothpaste.
  • Take twice as many tops as bottoms.  When travelling you tend to go through more tops than bottoms and they can get sticky, sweaty and smelly quickly especially in humid climates.
  • Take lots of underwear at least 5 days worth.
  • Take the same amount of clothes for a 6 week trip as you would a 3 week. You are better to take less and wash often. However if you are spending a long period of time and crossing seasons you will need to take into account changing temperatures.
  • Remember it’s highly likely that you will do some shopping on your trip and end up buying more clothes so you don’t need to take your whole wardrobe!!!
  • Take neutral coloured bottoms favouring colours on the top.  Avoid bold patterns that can’t be matched with other items.
  • Do not take clothes that need to be ironed, instead look for clothing with stretchy fabric or lightweight cotton.

Tip: Don’t over pack!!! If your bag is full before you leave you need to reassess how much you’re taking!!! If you think you might need it as opposed to will need it don’t take it!!!  

 

Package

Packaging is very important part of the packing process.  This step really helps utilise space, keeps your bag organised and will make unpacking and re-packing quick and efficient.  By packaging up your items you won’t loose your favourite pair of socks in the depths of you bag.  

Group
The first thing you need to do is group like items together. All your tops, bottoms, electrical, toiletries, underwear should all be separated.  

Roll/Fold
By far the most efficient way to pack your clothes is by rolling clothes as opposed to folding. This utilise space and keeps clothes nice and compact and you will also notice that it minimises creasing.  

Luggage Pockets
Utilise the pockets you have in your bag or case. Small external pockets are great for underwear and items that you need easy access too.  Many backpacks have internal waterproofed pockets or compartments for shoes and other wet items.  The large internal pockets you have in the lids of most cases are great for delicate fabrics and linen shirts that you want to keep flat and crease free.  

Packing Aids 

Packing aids are packing storage solutions that will help organise your bag and keep things neat and compact.  There are several different aids you can use.  

  • Packing cubes: These are great because you can put pants in one, tops in another, dirty washing in another and then you can stack them nice and neatly.
  • Zip lock bags: You can use the large ones for clothes and the small ones for toiletries or electrical.
  • Pencil cases: Great for copies of travel documents.
  • Toiletry Bag: A toiletry bag that can be hung up and has lots of pockets is extremely handy.

Packing Cubes

Packing Cubes

 

Place

The final step in packing is where all your planning and preparation gets put to the test.  The essential point with placing all your items in you bag/case is order of placement.  The correct order is essential for balance and particularly weight distribution.  This is extremely important if you are travelling with a backpack, the last thing you want is a sore back!!!  

 
1. Heavy Items
These go in first and to the bottom of the case, shoes go in first then pants, jackets and your heaviest items.  

2. Light Items
Items such as t-shirts go on top or above the heavy items.  

3. Fillers
Small items or things like toiletries or electrical go in the gaps that you might have in-between cubes or down the side of the case. It’s really important that you keep toiletries separate to electrical’s. If you can put them down towards the bottom of you case and the electrical’s towards the top. If your toiletries leak they will go south and the last thing you want is your shampoo to ruin your phone charger.  

4. Easy Access All the things you will need frequently like underwear or flip flops should either go in external pockets or on the top of you other items.  

Packing doesn’t have to be a pain if you follow these 4 steps.  It’s worked everytime for me!!! 

 

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Category: Travel Tips

About onurwaytravel: Colin has been travelling the world with his young family for the past 2 and half years. He runs a couple of websites all revolve around travel, family travel and digital nomadism. His websites include http://ourtravellifestyle.com, http://vagabondfamily.org, http://nunomad.com and now http://on-our-way-travel.com. View author profile.

Comments (6)

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  1. Elena says:

    This was extremely helpful. Iv been starting and re-starting a packing list for my journey around the world, and this helped so much to visualize where everything will go, and how little room I actually do have.
    Thank you.

  2. Sasha says:

    Thanks Elena, it’s amazing how much room you don’t have, i travel with a 55L pack, on my last trip i left home with it at least a 3rd empty so much room for shopping!!! I like to always carry my list with me also and add on the things that i pick up along the way. The worst thing is doing last minute packing a few hours before you leave for your next stop and forget to pack something!!!

  3. Glad to see that this site works well on my iPhone , everything I want to do is functional. Thanks for keeping it up to date with the latest.

  4. Sasha says:

    Thanks Trenton for telling me this I’m glad it functions properly on the iPhone!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the fantastic work Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  6. [...] She fancied herself an awesome packer who prided herself on her organisation, efficiency and never forgetting anything. After countless very scientific  experiments she created a simple and effective packing system: Packing in Four Steps. [...]

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