One of the most useful skills I have learned from moving all of my stuff to and from one side of New York State to the other for 4 years while I attended SUNY Oswego was how to pack. This really helped my prioritize when I set off to live in London and had a baggage limit of one 50lb checked bag, a carry on and a “purse” for my 3.5 months staying there. I think that my travels to and around Europe have really taught me a few things about packing so it is not stressful, it is easy, and sometimes a fun challenge!
Check your baggage limit. Many small airlines have a limit of one carry on, no purse, per person. Know exactly how much you can bring, and how much it costs if you need to check an additional bag. For me, paying an extra $80 for a bag was not worth it.
Invest in a luggage scale and light luggage. Trust me, trying to guess whether your carry on is over the weight limit with all of your new souvenirs in a hostel in Rome is not ideal. They are convenient, small, and inexpensive, you can get one at most department stores like Target. Also, carrying a heavy dufflebag through airports is not fun, my biggest regret is not buying a small carry-on with wheels.
Comfort is key. When you are traveling, being comfortable in what you are wearing really makes or breaks your experience. No one wants to sight-see soaking wet from the rain, with sore feet, or try and sleep on a train in something uncomfortable. If you don’t wear it at home, you won’t wear it abroad. Break in shoes before packing them, and use water-proof spray on coats and boots.
Trial and travel size toiletries. Most airlines will only allow a quart sized ziploc bag of small liquids in carry-on baggage. Use small trial or travel size toiletries and throw them away when your trip is over and you are heading home.
- Electronics. Only bring what is crucial. I keep my camera, ipod, phone charger, camera charger and adapters in a ziploc bag to keep them organized and easy to access if I am asked to remove them from my bag when going through security.
I hope you find these tricks helpful and have safe, happy travels!