Posted by Carter | Under Travel Tips
Friday Jan 3, 2014
Take It, or Leave It: Practical Travel Packing
Packing for me was once a struggle between want vs. need. Who can predict what chance meeting may suddenly whisk you away, far from your original travel itinerary on a whirlwind adventure? I wanted to be prepared for any possible situation that may occur, no matter how far-fetched, but I inevitably needed hardly any of the back-breaking baggage train that followed me. Here are some hard-earned packing tips I’ve picked up along the way that have unburdened my travels while still keeping me prepared for delightful surprises.
Have you ever been waiting at the luggage claim to find out that your suitcases didn’t follow you to the final destination? It’s a terrible way to start a vacation. By keeping your bags with you, you’ve already avoided this pitfall!
Typically airlines allow one carry-on bag of 45 linear inches (cumulative height, width and depth), and one personal carry-on such as a purse, briefcase or small backpack. It is still wise to confirm the maximum size/weight capacity for these two items while purchasing your airline ticket. Failure to follow the airlines restrictions can mean that your bag gets checked as you’re boarding for not meeting the criteria. As the airlines have no streamlined regulations in place regarding bag check costs and policies, this gives them free reign to charge you not only the regular checked bag fee, but an additional late check charge, putting a woeful dent into your travel funds.
Liquid/gel toiletries are another area where you will encounter limitations. Their contents should be less than 100 ml/3.4 oz. and placed in no more than a quart-sized, re-sealable baggie. Solid toiletries are not size specific, but still factor in the weight limitations. This is a rule that you will also want to follow to the letter. Where you may encounter fees for oversized bags from individual airlines, TSA (Transportation Security Administration) is a different creature altogether and doesn’t take kindly to rebels. They may appropriate your belongings for containing items outside the designated parameters, which will disrupt, if not halt your trip when you’re forced out of line for further baggage inspection. Make this the last item you pack, as you will have to display it before being permitted through security.
When it’s time to choose your personal item, make it count. Don’t just bring the cute, little handbag or man-purse. Bring whatever the maximum capacity item is, even if you don’t initially fill it up. This is the bag that any electronic devices, travel documents, fragile goods and miscellaneous items to be used during the flight are best packed as it will fit snugly under the seat in front of you.
The average vacation lasts seven days or less. Consider your destination and possible available activities during this time frame. While there are well-established clothing staples, the family that’s skiing in Europe will have greater needs than the couple that’s taking a driving tour of Australia. Pick items that will create an interchangeable wardrobe with a basic color palate. Pack half as many bottoms (including skirts for women), as you do tops. I recommend the little black dress for the ladies and a sport coat for men. A cardigan, scarf, tie or other simple accessories can quickly dress up and dress down an outfit for both sexes, while fitting neatly into the nooks and crannies of your luggage. Any items that can serve a dual purpose like the pants that segment to become shorts or similarly structured shirts are a plus. If you can find them in the outdoorsman style of easy wash and dry, stain resistant type, even better. I also advise bringing a bathing suit; even if you think you’ll be nowhere near a body of water of rays of light hot enough to sunbathe. There are hot tubs and geothermal pools in some of the coldest climates. I’ve been more surprised by the number of occasions I’ve found a use for a swimsuit than not. Even if you’re headed to a warm-weather location, plan to wear layers on the plane. Flight cabins are usually kept cool and you’ll feel like you’re sneaking a few more wanted pieces into your trip.
When it comes to footwear, this is an individual battle that we must all face alone. Admittedly, sandals that can double for a warm setting or dress pairing, sneakers because I like to run, and a pair of colorful heels always accompany me. Packing the smallest of the three and wearing the running shoes definitely helps!
Now that you feel comfortable with your selections, plan on crossing half of them off the list. You’re not fooling anyone, you’ve already overcompensated. Coco Chanel has been quoted as saying, “Before leaving the house, a lady should stop, look in the mirror, and remove one piece of jewelry.” Take that principle to heart when creating your packing list.
If you’re traveling with friends, or family it’s helpful to consolidate whenever possible. Unless there are special individual needs, more than one tube of toothpaste, sun-block and similar items aren’t really necessary, which can free up room in your luggage.
Rolling clothes conserves space in your bags, or use compression sacks so long as you can deal with a few extra wrinkles. This does not mean you should pack more because you’re creating space! It’s fairly certain that you will return from your sojourn with more than you left with, so it’s a good idea to use that extra room to include a compact duffle bag or similar item that you can then fill for the trip back home.
It’s not going to be easy the first time; you’ll want to grab last minute items “just in case”. But, don’t do it. Stick with the packing list and the plan. Allowing for spontaneity and the inevitable surprise encounters that do actually happen you can pack practically, while leaving a little wiggle room for the exciting element of the unknown.
At Kemwel Car Rental, we’re always looking for ways to improve your travel experiences with advice and suggestions from where to go on your next vacation and useful travel gadgets to important driving information. Contact one of our rental car specialists at 1-877-820-0668 to complete your travel itinerary with a Kemwel car rental today!