Shannon Wolf | August 26, 2015 9:00 PM ET
How to Pack Like a Pro
PHOTO: The longer I travel, the less I have and the happier I become. If you pack lighter, you go further. (photos courtesy of Shannon Wolf)
Want to learn how to pack like a pro? It took a bit of research to get the right information from inevitably outdated Internet sources, and the often-frustrating venture required too much coffee (plus some of the harder stuff), but it’s done.
Below is a compilation of everything you need to know — From travel essentials to tips and tricks (that I actually use while on the road) to valuable information that is necessary for smooth sailing … or flying.
As a rule of thumb, if you want to bring your backpack onto airlines as carry-on, don’t pack more than 10 kilograms (22 pounds) and the dimensions should be no larger than 55 x 40 x 20 centimeters (21.7 x 15.8 x 7.9 inches)
The best backpack I have ever purchased was the Osprey Porter 46L which is comfortable, NOT TOPLOADING, has plenty of pockets, can be locked up, has foldaway straps and is the exact dimensions of a carry-on bag.
Quick Tip: Before you hit the road, as a safety precaution, put electronics in Ziploc bags.
Load Up Before Hitting the Road:
In second and third world countries, what we consider to be basic essentials are “luxury items” which means prices are exorbitant, so stock up on these before you leave home:
• Bug Repellant
PHOTO: The Osprey Porter 46L: The best bag I’ve ever owned and a key item to packing like a pro.
Don't Leave Home Without These:
• Pocket Phrase book — way more necessary than you think
• Rain Cover
• International adaptor
• Day-bag with zipper: for day-trips/traveling and keeping all your important things with you
• Pack Towel
• Duct tape
• Small Scissors
• Notepad and Pens (bring more than one — for filling out customs forms/writing directions/etc.)
• Rope/String: for hanging clothes, tying up a tent so it won’t blow away, etc.
• Needle and thread
• 2 luggage locks: small and medium (because not all zippers will fit your lock)
• Imodium/Gas-X/Gastrolyte/Flu Pills
Things You Really Don't Need:
• Sheet liner
• Money belt
• Fake engagement ring
• Hiking boots (unless you are an avid hiker, stick to runners)
• Travel size shampoo/conditioner/etc.
BEST Tips & Tricks:
• Forget the money belt — Use a hollowed out book, Chapstick tube or inflatable neck pillow with zipper to hide money in.
• Anything of importance, keep on you for long-haul journeys rather than everything in one bag so you can keep a better eye on it.
PHOTO: After getting scammed, our bags were thrown off a chicken bus and we quickly jumped off. Then we realized one of us had left one in the back. Moral of the story: pack light and keep it all in eyesight.
• Long Journeys: ALWAYS bring a scarf/sarong, earplugs and a sweater. Air conditioning is always blasted and there is typically always a screaming baby or snorer onboard.
• Shower Cap to cover dirty shoes.
• Plastic wrap over liquid bottles.
• Ziploc bags/plastic bags/garbage bags with strings in all sizes. From packing, to concealing smelly clothes to protecting your electronics — you can use them for everything.
• Buy your bottle of shampoo/conditioner when you arrive at your destination. Travel sizes are useless and cost more.
• Dryer Sheets in your bag keeps everything smelling fresh.
• Wrap delicate clothes in tissue paper — keeps from getting wrinkled/crushed.
• You can find a lot of Wi-Fi passwords on the Foursquare app.
• Roll all of your clothes.
• Pack clothes that are neutral toned for easy mix and matching.
• NEVER bring white clothes.
• Bringing a few pieces of jewelry along. They can spruce up an outfit or give it a totally different look. It may be a “luxury item” but totally worth it.
• For better organization, put clothes you wear the least amount in the back of your bag such as sweaters and pants, then shorts, then T-shirts and tank tops for easy access and avoid constant re-packing.
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