Don’t pack too much. You should lay out everything you‘ll need and then take just half of what you lay out! Then walk around with your packed bags for a few minutes. Are they too heavy? Remember, it’s often difficult finding porters, particularly inside customs areas. Lightweight canvas or nylon bags are the most practical type for long trips – especially if you have to carry them yourself!
If you’re taking a cruise you can be a little more liberal in your packing. Your cruise will require more formal dress for certain special evenings. You will only unpack once, and the ship’s porters will carry your bags to your cabin.
Coordinate your wardrobe around a single color. This will automatically eliminate many items of clothing. Separates are best because they can be mixed and matched.
Be prepared for the weather. Check your newspaper’s temperature listing or go online to the National Weather Service at www.nws.noaa.gov or visit www.weather.com for the area you’ll visit for a week prior to your departure. It is always best to plan for “layering” when you travel so you’ll be prepared for all eventualities. In that way you can add or remove layers as needed.
Use all of your luggage space. Stuff hosiery or socks into the toes of your shoes. Roll up sweaters and underwear on the bottom, followed by layers of clothing that wrinkle more easily. And packing the bag very full helps keep the contents from sliding around.
Consider using packing “envelopes” that can be purchased at any luggage store. You will then be able to organize your clothing with all shirts in one “envelope” and all slacks in another. Or you can pack one outfit in each “envelope”. These protect your clothing and make the items easy to find.
Minimize wrinkling by packing shirts and dresses with buttons buttoned. Fold clothes as little as possible, and fold them as close to the waist and seams as you can. Plastic cleaner’s bags between layers minimize wrinkling, and you should keep each layer as flat and even as possible. Unpack as soon as possible after you arrive at your hotel. Instead of bringing a heavy travel iron, try hanging your clothes in the bathroom when you take your shower. The humidity will help to release the wrinkles. And remember to smooth out the wrinkles when you’re folding an item. Any wrinkles left when you fold something will be “pressed” into the item when it is placed into your suitcase.
Pack only as many toiletry articles as you will use. Small sample sizes are excellent. Otherwise, transfer small amounts of the items you need to smaller bottles. Don’t fill containers to the top. Place liquids and cream containers in plastic bags.
Be sure your luggage is clearly labeled. Remove old destination labels and put your name in a prominent place outside and inside your luggage. Enclose a copy of your itinerary in each bag. Also, put a piece of bright –colored tape or yarn on the handle of each bag to help distinguish your bag from other similar models.
Don’t place locks on your luggage. All luggage is currently x-rayed before being placed on the aircraft. If the security agents see a questionable item in a piece of luggage they will open the luggage to inspect it. If there are conventional locks on the bags, they will be destroyed. However, you can now purchase locks that are approved by the Transportation and Safety Administration (TSA). TSA officials are able to open the locks and close them upon completion of inspection. These are available at most luggage stores. The security agents will place a note inside your luggage if they have opened it for any reason.
Don’t pack anything fragile, valuable, or perishable. Money, jewelry, valuables, important documents, such as your passport, and prescription drugs should be carried with you. Leave all of your expensive jewelry and furs at home or in safe storage.
Pack some old clothes. You can lighten your load as you go by taking along old clothing and then discarding it as you use it – pajamas, socks, underwear, etc. It’s a great way to make room for the new souvenirs you pick up along the way!
Pack some of your traveling companion’s clothes in your bag and vice versa. Both of you will then have a change of clothing if one bag is lost. Pack toiletries and a change of clothes in your carry-on bag.
Take a sweater and a pair of slippers in your carry-on to wear on the plane in case it gets cold, as it often does. Ask the flight attendant for a blanket and a pillow as soon as you are seated. They may be impossible to get later on!
Make a packing list for quick checkups:
- Blouses, shirts, socks, underwear (take a limited supply – you can wash things at the hotels)
- Shorts, slacks, jeans, skirts (you can wear these items more than one time each)
- Walking shoes
- “Holy Clothes” – if you wear shorts or sleeveless shirts, you will need to have something to put on over them so that your knees and shoulders are covered when you enter churches, synagogues and mosques. This applies to women and men.
- Heavy sweater or jacket
- Shaving equipment
- Eye drops for contact lens solutions and cleaners
- Athlete’s foot treatment, Band-Aids
- Diarrhea medicine, laxatives
- Cold medicine or decongestant tablets
- Sleeping pills
- Motion sickness pills
- Nail clippers, file
- Toothbrush and toothpaste, dental floss
- Make up
- Comb and/or brush
- Pain reliever (aspirin, etc.)
- Copies of any prescriptions you take in case you need to have them filled
- Wet wipes
- Travel alarm
- Ziploc bags
- Pen, notebook, Bible
- Small sewing kit
- Adapter and converter for all electrical appliances
- Small flashlight
- Laundry detergent
- Camera, film (more than you think you need!), extra batteries
- Extra pair of eyeglasses (or prescription)
- Electrical appliances (hair dryer, razor, travel iron)*
- Cassette recorder
- Small umbrella or rain hat
ITEMS TO PACK IN HAND LUGGAGE
- Airline tickets
- One day change of clothes
- Essential toiletries
- Neck pillow and sleeping mask (for sleeping on the flight)
- Good book
*It has been our experience that curling irons and flat irons do not work well with the change of electrical current, even if you have adapters and converters. If you need a curling iron on the trip, it would be a good idea to buy one that is powered by propane. These are available at most drugstores and discount stores and are not very expensive.