Packing for Your Trip: 5 Common Mistakes

Packing for Your Trip properly will make the transit part of your holiday smooth and efficent ... photo by CC user PublicDomainPictures on pixabay

Taking a trip should be an exciting, stress free time when you can leave behind day-to-day concerns. Getting your packing right, at home and away, makes sure you have everything you need while you’re away, and keeps valuables secure for your return.

Mistake #1 – Not Making a List

A packing list is the Holy Grail, at the beginning of the trip and at the end. Start your list with everything you’d like to take, then whittle it down as you find ways to combine items or realise items won’t be used.

One way of making sure you’re covered for every eventuality is to run over your itinerary. If you’re going somewhere with a dress code, pack accordingly. If every day is filled with sightseeing and casual dining, don’t waste space by packing formal items of clothing.

Take your packing list with you, because checking items off will help with not leaving things behind when you leave hotel rooms.

Mistake #2 – Over Packing

Most of us are ‘just in case’ packers. We carry umbrellas to hot, dry countries and smart clothing items when we’re backpacking. Here are few tips for light, effective packing:

  • Don’t pack hard to wash items – stick to non-iron and wrinkle resistant fabrics.
  • Keep fabrics light – think fleeces instead of heavy cotton or wool if you’re travelling in cold climates.
  • Accessorise with light belts, scarves or shawls to dress up day clothes for the evening instead of packing separate outfits.
  • Colour match your wardrobe so everything goes with everything else – it makes choosing outfits much easier and allows for more combinations.
  • Take just two pairs of shoes – one that’s comfortable for walking, and another dressier pair. Beach flip-flops don’t count, as they’re light and small.
  • Keep gadgets to a minimum – why take your e-reader if you can read books through an app on your phone? Download what you fancy before you go just in case you’re without Wi-Fi any time.

Mistake #3 – Taking Valuables

It’s tempting to take valuable items like jewellery, special items of clothing or accessories. It can prove an expensive mistake though if they’re lost or stolen. Items like this are best left at home, either lodged with a friend for safekeeping or securely under lock and key in a self storage unit.

The risk of theft also goes for money and credit cards. You’ll probably want to take cash, credit cards and debit cards with you, but keep them separated. If you normally stow cards in a wallet with cash, for instance, buy a separate cardholder and keep it in a different pocket or bag.

Mistake #4 – Packing Full Size Toiletries

There are several reasons not to do this. If you’re flying, there’s a chance full size bottles will get confiscated. Big bottles can do lots of damage if the tops work loose in your suitcase, and they’re heavy too. Buy sample bottles and decant your favourites, then buy more as you need them at your destination.

Mistake #5 – Leaving Things to Chance at Home

Sensible packing extends to those things you leave behind as well as those you take with you, especially if you’re planning an extended trip and intend renting out your property while you’re gone. Items with a high monetary value along with items of sentimental value are best put into self storage for the rental period. The rent will easily cover the storage costs, and your valuables are safe for when you return.

Dismantling furniture where possible will save space and keep costs down, and careful packing of boxes makes transport and stacking easier. As a general rule, put heavy items in smaller boxes and lighter ones in larger boxes. It sounds counter-intuitive, but filling large boxes with heavy items not only makes them hard to move, it puts them in danger of collapsing when lifted. Have plenty of packing material to hand (either tissue, newspaper or bubble wrap) or use old blankets or tea towels to wrap fragile items.

Whatever you’re packing, taking or storing, give yourself plenty of time when you are packing for your Trip. Not feeling rushed is the best way to stay methodical and avoid forgetting something important.

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