Here are 9 packing mistakes many travelers make and how to avoid them.
1. You pack lots of clothing items, and wear less than 50% of it
A bit of self control at the packing stage will pay dividends later. Think about what goes together, the goal is to pack a capsule wardrobe where each piece is sufficiently versatile to work with several outfits. Stick to a simple color palette of complementary colors and classic pieces that can work for different occasions. If it can only be worn once, it does not go in. Take easy care fabrics that do not crease, roll T-shirts and tuck socks into shoes.
2. You have forgotten that they have shops where you’re going
Unless you are headed to a remote island hideaway or mountain retreat, here’s absolutely no need to pack everything. Who is guilty of prepping for a city break by carefully placing the entire contents of their bathroom shelf in their case? Do not do it, you can always go to the drugstore or supermarket when you arrive and buy it there. Your life is not going to be over if you switch shampoo brands for a week. The same goes for sunscreen, hair driers, even beach towels. Most good hotels will provide you with the basics, and a quick pop to the store will get you the rest.
3. You do not bag your shoes
Shoes, even clean shoes, are mucky. Plus, after a few wears, they start to smell and can permeate your whole bag. Pack a couple of canvas bags and tuck your shoes inside to stop the dirt from soiling your clean clothes. They can 2X as laundry bags on the return trip.
4. You have mixed up your prohibited items
Most of us have figured out the 100ml rule when it comes to airports and hand luggage. But after that it gets a little more complicated. Read the airline’s instructions carefully and make sure everything is in its proper place.
5. You got sucked in by the travel gadget adverts
It seems there’s always a new travel gadget guaranteed to make your trip easier. But don’t get caught in the trap of buying every single item advertised in your in-flight magazine. Odds are, you won’t need more than one pair of headphones, and if you are not a professional photographer leave extra cameras at home. Just spring for a travel adapter, and a few of the items you use on a regular basis. Otherwise, your electronics will take up space and time as you attempt to charge them all.
6. You think it is a case of one-size-fits-all when it comes to luggage
Different types of luggage suit different types of trip. If you are planning to take a wheelie on a rail trip, make sure it’s not too wide to roll down the aisle. Booked a light aircraft transfer to an offshore island or an inaccessible safari lodge? You will need something small and preferably soft-sided, like a holdall. Test out that backpack with a load to assess comfort, capacity and weight. Do not assume you can take the same luggage every time.
7. You don’t check the weather
There is nothing worse than arriving in a foreign country expecting flip-flops and t-shirt weather and instead getting hit by a storm. Weather predictions are not always reliable, but doing a little research before you pack could save you from getting caught off guard. Check seasonal averages as well as 10-day forecasts. Even if it looks like everything will be clear, you may choose to throw in a lightweight rain jacket, just in case. The reverse is true too, add a short-sleeved shirt to your bag in preparation for a sunny day. Worst case scenario, you can use that shirt as a base layer for the rest of a chilly trip.
8. You do not prepare for souvenirs
Whether you plan on doing some shopping while abroad or not, it’s always smart to save a little space on the way home for that super cute dress you just had to have or a small bag of trinkets for your friends and family back home. Here is a tip: bring a small, compact duffel or tote bag that you can pull out on the way home. Throw it in your suitcase on the way there, and then pull it out for the extra items you acquire on your way home.
9. You ignore local culture and customs
Some cultures are more conservative than others, and whether you agree with the local culture’s style, remember, you are going into their home. In addition, many of the world’s religious sites require women and girl’s shoulders and knees to be covered. Others ask that everyone remove your shoes before entering. So do your research on your destination and pack accordingly. Be respectful.
Enjoy your travels