Hi Frugalistas! Some of my fellow travel bloggers have joined me to share their favorite packing tips. Their traveling styles vary, their travel destinations vary, and some of them are self-described “hopeless” packers. What they share though is a great willingness to share (thanks everyone!) and also to learn from each other. If you want to check out what they’re writing about on their own blogs, I’ve included their Twitter handles where they have them, and also blog links.
The ever-sensible Anne (@Pretraveller) at Pretraveller is a great travel planner so it comes as no surprise what her must-pack item is:
We never leave home without travel information. Our travelling time is quite constrained as a result of our busy lives with three young children. As a result when we plan to go out to do some exploring we like to feel prepared and with a plan for what we are going to do. It also means that we can discuss our plan with our children and get their input to our day. We still leave ourselves open to ad hoc discoveries, but doing some research in advance really pays dividends.
The Guy (@TheGuyWhoFlies) whose blog Flights & Frustrations chronicles his business travels round the world says he is a terrible packer…..
I would recommend just packing light. Maybe bring less than you think you need ‘cos I always end up with too much!
Fashionista and self-confessed holiday addict Clare (@HolidayAddict23 and Need Another Holiday) loves her heels as much as the next girl but doesn’t take them travelling:
Unless your trip is the result of a wedding invitation, just ditch the heels. For city breaks, if you must take a pair of shoes other than those on your feet while you travel, make them ballet flats. They save space and can be easily dressed up.
Obsessive packer and one bag traveller Vanessa (@Turnipseeds) at Turnipseed Travel loves nothing better than spending a Friday night rearranging her 3-1-1 kit (her claim, not mine!), but her packing skills go far beyond that……
Size matters: Know your airline’s weight and size restrictions and research a bag that fits those parameters. A lot of “ultra-light” rolling suitcases weigh between 7 and 10 lbs. A lot of “carry-on” bags are either actually undersized or, while technically the correct volume, they are actually outside the accepted dimensions (I’m thinking of small hiking backpacks that are tall and narrow). I personally use an Osprey Porter 46 backpack that weights 1.2kg and is designed to fit carry on dimensions exactly.
A number of my colleagues wax lyrical about the benefits of packing cubes (which personally I’ve never tried, but I’m now sorely tempted!):
Sofie from Wonderful Wanderings (@wondwand): Use packing cubes to keep stuff tightly together. They also work great for dirty laundry on the way back.
Diane at Wife with Baggage (@wifewithbaggage): We use packing cubes by Eagle Creek. They help increase the amount you are able to pack, without significantly increasing the amount of space you need. Plus, it is a great way to keep your clothes organized; they’re like drawers in a dresser!
Lindsey from Chasing the Wild and @lindseyhodder: I third the packing cubes option. I have a top loading backpack and they make life SO much easier.
Phoebe Mroczek (@shortroad2happy) from Short Road to Happy is a girl after my own heart…..
The best packing tip I have is to remove half of what you think you need. Everything else you can buy.
Raphael Alexander Zoren of Journey Wonders has got budget airline packing down to a fine art!
One of my best tips for traveling in Europe’s low-cost airlines is to become your own suitcase. Yes, I have often worn three shirts on top of each other and tied an extra pair of trousers around my waist in order to avoid paying luggage fees. That way, I can easily fit everything I need in my hand-luggage.
My blogger friends have been particularly generous and given me loads more tips to share. Join me in a future post, when I’ll share more of their favorite packing tips.
This post contains affiliate links. If you are kind enough to buy something I do receive a small commission that comes at no additional cost to you. Australian and NZ readers can check out the best packing cubes at Kathmandu.
Geek Goddess says
I use the packing cubes, but my best item is the packing Envelope, also by Eagle Creek. I’ve take silk formals onto cruise ships, packed long-sleeved crisp cotton shirts, folded up pants and jeans. Since I’m down to the one carry-on for most trips, I bought a smaller size that will fit into the case, but I have two of the larger ones for when I need to check luggage, or even travel by car. (Almost) wrinkle-free traveling. As I don’t care for knits and synthetics, these have been great.
Jo, thanks for including me in your great post!
If you want to get some packing cubes to try I noticed they had them on sale at Kathmandu the other day – 3 for $A25
The Guy says
Great tips from everyone and thanks for asking me to take part Jo. I really need to invest in those packing cubes. I’ve been meaning to for ages but never get around to it. Maybe now this is the impetus I need.
Thanks Naomi, for another vote for packing cubes! I’ve never seen the envelopes, but they sound intriguing – and potentially great for business travel.
Thanks Anne – one of my favorite packing gear shops!
You’re welcome The Guy. Packing cubes may help with your apparently chronic overpacking problem!
Lucy Dodsworth says
Great tips – I’ve just got some packing cubes to try out so will see if I’m a convert too!
I used to love packing cubes but I don’t use them any more. My current bag (the Osprey Porter 46) has curved sides so the straight edges of cubes actually results in LOST space! I think cubes work best in rolling suitcases, where their inherent forced organization means curbing overpacking. I do, however, still use a few packing mesh bags/mesh “envelopes” for socks, undies, etc. They keep small items organized and they can mush into any shape I need. For those passionate about ultralight packing, Eagle Creek now makes a series of ultra, ultra light backing cubes/bags that are made from parachute type material. They cost a whole lot more but their weigh about 75% less.
Wife with Baggage says
I need to get in on this packing cubes craze don’t I? I keep meaning to try them! I’ll be taking a week long trip in the Spring and that might be the time to finally give them a whirl.
Thanks so much for including me in the post, Jo!
I’m about to travel to Chile (from Argentina), and my husband and I are trying to figure out how to get all of our stuff there with us (hopefully for less than several hundred dollars, ugh). I definitely foresee the wearing of several layers of clothing on the plane. Any ideas about how strict they are down here re: carry-on bag weight? I’m flying KLM, if it matters. Packing cubes just don’t help you if the problem is weight and not space!
Michele world traveller says
Packing ultra light
For maximum versatility, my basic travel wardrobe is either black or grey: pants, skirt and t’s. I add colour and interest with accessories. Except for the accessories, all the clothing is light weight and has been tested before I leave for overnight drip dry. The following list also includes what I wear for plane travel.
Here is my wardrobe for three weeks to just about anywhere.
2 sleeveless tank tops in different styles
1 long sleeve t-shirt (and a turtleneck for cooler weather travel)
1 pair of slim stretch pants (not yoga pants) – replace with capris for a warm weather holiday
1 pair of trecking/all purpose pants (like Royal Robbins)
1 longer skirt
1 pair of tights
2 of: bras, panties and socks = what I wear to travel and one extra
1 long t-shirt to be worn as sleepwear and robe along with flip flops
1 coordinating fleece zip top
1 coordinating vest with pockets
1 attractive shawl
5 or 6 pairs of different styled earrings
1 chain with interchangeable bobbles
1 three colour metal bracelet that goes with the rest of the jewelry
3 colourful scarves
1 pair of black walking shoes or short boots
1 pair of dressy flats to sparkle my wardrobe
1 jean jacket
1 waterproof hooded jacket with lots of pockets
1 knit hat
1 pair of gloves
1 bandana/neck warmer
1 flat day bag that slips into my luggage
I bring small-size basic toiletries, hand wipes, lipstick and mascara that I ditch for space for souvenirs on the way back. I get a no-nonsense haircut before I leave, along with a fresh manicure and pedicure. Voilà 1 bag.
My travel bag of choice is a carry, no-roller Tiimbuktu, which has well thought out compartments and can be converted to a backpack. No travel cubes; I roll everything tightly and use every corner.
Matthew Parkman says
Great advice. Thanks for sharing.
Really amazing traveling packing.
Thanks Matt, much appreciated.