Packing is one of the more prosaic elements of traveling. When you are dreaming of an amazing vacation experience, you are never thinking about packing. However, that doesn't mean packing isn't important -- quite the opposite. Packing well will make a huge difference in how much you enjoy your travel experience. Here are the six essential rules for packing well.
1. Pack less.
It is much more common for a traveler to wish they had taken less luggage than more. Dragging around cumbersome, heavy bags is a surefire way to increase frustration and irritation during your journey. Remember, clothing can be easily washed and in general most essential supplies can be bought at your destination, so there is no need to pack everything you might conceivably use. Contemplate each item you consider packing and ask if bringing it is truly worthwhile.
2. Bring casual, adaptable clothing.
It's impossible to bring along a full wardrobe when traveling. This fact is why adaptable clothing appropriate for multiple situations is the ideal. Think shirts, long pants, skirts, and jackets that look nice but are far from fancy. Bring lightweight clothing and plan to wear layers if the weather turns cold.
3. Bring comfortable shoes.
Your shoes might be the most important item you will bring on your travels. Most forms of traveling involve spending lots of time on your feet. If you bring shoes that don't fit well, you will sorely regret it. Choose comfort over fashion, and be sure not to bring shoes you haven't already worn at least a few times -- you don't want to discover those new sneakers actually give you blisters.
4. Pack tightly.
While it makes sense to not bring too many bags, that doesn't mean you shouldn't use up all of the space that is available to you. Don't throw your clothing into your bag in a jumble. Instead, fold or roll each item tightly, such that the minimum amount of packing space is used. Try to find little items to fill up small areas (such as the insides of shoes) that would otherwise go unused.
5. Make a packing list.
It is all too easy to overlook something crucial if you pack haphazardly. Using a packing list will help you to make sure you bring everything you need. Let your previous travel experience guide you in constructing a list of essentials you must bring. Some items to definitely include are ID, debit and/or credit cards, socks, underwear, pants, and shirts.
6. Look up baggage restrictions.
Unless you are traveling by boat, car, or train, you will have to deal with the often highly restrictive rules placed upon airline luggage. Rules can vary greatly from airline to airline (especially in foreign markets), so don't make any assumptions. Unfortunately, fees for exceeding restrictions are often high.
As wonderful as traveling can be, it does have some drawbacks. Chief among these is that you can't bring everything you want with you. Trade-offs in packing are thus unavoidable. This fact is why it's so important to get your packing right -- you don't want to drag along an item you don't really need or, conversely, leave something crucial at home.
Happy traveling requires packing well.