How to pack your luggage
Packaging the luggage is an important part of the preparation for a trip. As every luggage bag or suitcase is built differently, at amount of space at your disposal is different. The usual problem is either wanting to bring more things that you have space for it, or having a bag that is too big and empty for your items.
It is neither a good idea to overpack your bag - as it may burst open in transit, or have it too empty - as it needs some volume to withstand the impact of other bags stacked over it. If you anticipate space to hold purchased bought on your trip, allocate at most 25% of the space for it.
Preparing to Pack
Before you start packing, get out your Packing List and pay special attention to the following items:
- Things that may spill, leak or smear
Example lotions, moisturizers, shampoo, body wash, lipstick, etc.
Seal any openings on the bottle with tape. (Bring additional tape with you for using on your trip.) Put these in a zip-lock plastic bag, and put that plastic bag into a regular plastic bag. This will prevent spillage and leakage often caused by change in air pressure during flight.
All footwear should be placed inside plastic bags, to prevent them from soiling your clothes.
- Things to wear upon arrival
Your next change of clothes should be packed last. Keep them at the top of your luggage pile, so that you don't have to rummage deeply into the packed luggage when you arrive.
- Fragile items
This includes items that you bring on your trip as well as purchases you make during the trip. These should be bundled up with clothes to cushion them against hard knocks enroute.
- Things not to be packed
Do not put your passport or cash in your suitcase. These should be kept with you at all times. You could hide them in a pouch under the shirt you are wearing. Items not to be checked in includes your camera and laptop, both of which have to be in their proper bags should they be carried onboard the aircraft.
- Examine your Luggage Bag
Make sure your can withstand the stress of the trip. You do not want it to break apart in transit. Make sure the lock works. Remember the combination. There's nothing more stressful than to arrive with bags that refuse to open!
Steps for Packing
After you are done packing, weigh your suitcase to make you to stay within the weight limit. If it exceeds, determine whether you are prepared to pay for the excess weight, or should you off-load some of the packed items.
- Start by lining the base and sides of your suitcase with soft items such as your towel and clothes. Roll some of your clothes into bundles and line the sides with these.
- Undergarments and handkerchiefs can be placed in plastic bags and bundled to the corners.
- Lay your clothes neatly into the bag. Leave space for bulky items such as tripod or books.
- Things that may spill/leak, already inside their plastic bags, should be placed between your clothes for maximum cushioning. Same goes for fragile items.
- Useful documents (itinerary, map, phrasebook, should be place in the outside pocket.
During the Trip
The items within your luggage will be shifted about as you dig for things that you need. To avoid unnecessary rummaging, always pack the same item in the same location. For example, if you remember that toiletries are always on the right side, belts on the top right, shoes on the bottom left, there will be fewer rummaging.
Packing your luggage may seem like a cumbersome affair, but if you make it a habit, you will get used to doing it, and will be less likely to overlook items.
More Travelers' Tools
Here's a whole list of tools to help you prepare for your trip.
- Tips to become a smart traveler: Useful tips to remember, to get the best out of your travels.
- Preparing for a Trip: Systematic approach to help you prepare for your trip.
- How to plan your travel itinerary: Step-by-step guide to creating the itinerary for your trip.
- Find and compare hotel room rates: View room rates from all the different booking sites.
- How to compare hotel room rates: Step-by-step guide on finding the lowest rates every time.
- When NOT to go where: List of seasons to avoid when traveling the globe.
- How to do your travel homework: Systematic approach in making preparations for your trip.
- How to pack your luggage: Useful steps to take when packing your luggage.
- Packing List (PDF): Print out this free packing list to make sure you don't forget anything for your trip.
- Voltage, Frequency, Plugs & Sockets of the World: Learn about the mains electricity supply in the world.
- Travelers' List of Plugs and Sockets (PDF): Easy-to-use list of electricity and plugs for all countries.
- Airport User Guide: User information for arriving at various airports in the world.
- Making International Direct Dail Calls: Learn to make IDD calls from anywhere in the world.
- IDD Call Prefixes & Country Codes (PDF): Listing of Call Prefixes and Country Codes on one page for you to bring on your trip.
- Safety Tips When Traveling Alone: Useful advice for when you travel on your own.
- Guide to Health Matters related to Travel: Comprehensive coverage of different issues related to your health when traveling.
- Getting Travel Insurance for your trip: Benefits of travel insurance, and advise on when you should signing up for one.
- Improve your travel photography: Tips to improve your photography skills, especially when traveling.
- Guide to Traveling Around the World: Useful tips for encircling the globe.
- English Made Simple: Improve your English for your travel.