• Posted:Wednesday, July 16, 2014
  • Comments: 21

Five packing mistakes you don't know you're making

Posted in: Travel Tips
Five packing mistakes you don't know you're making

Travel can be stressful, but packing and flying doesn’t need to be.  While many people think they've assembled a perfect suitcase, sometimes it takes getting to the airport, or even to your destination, to realise something just...isn’t...right.

Here are the few mistakes to avoid so you can breeze past everyone else in security and have the trip of a lifetime. 


1. You aren’t being 'top-heavy'

It is so easy to over-pack.  One easy rule to stick to is being 'top-heavy'. This means packing mostly shirts rather than shorts and trousers.  While shorts and trousers can be worn multiple times without a necessary wash, having a few various t-shirts will make you feel clean and fresh while changing the look of your entire outfit. 

For warmer climates, never pack more than one pair of trousers and more than one skirt or pair of shorts.  You’ll never need more than that and will end up just carrying it around.  If you’re worried about the limited clothes supply, just pack a small Ziplock bag of laundry detergent.


2. You haven’t measured your carry-on luggage

The days of easy, stress-free air travel are over.  Almost every airline has some type of hidden fee to be aware of.  Most times, these hidden fees have to do with limited cabin space. 

Don’t arrive at the airport (or even get all the way to your gate for that matter) without knowing the adequate size of cabin baggage.   Airline employees may ask you to fit your bag into an appropriate-sized container for it to be tested. If you can’t fit it in perfectly, you’ll be stuck with a hefty charge.  Always have a small tape measure and look up the appropriate dimensions online before you go.


3. You aren’t utilizing space-saver bags

While rolling clothes is a great way to save space, rolling clothes in a space saver bag, or travel compression sack, saves even more space.  Some bags require a vacuum to suck out the air, but others allow you to push out the air yourself.  Separate different types of clothes into different bags for an even more organized packing experience. 


4. You’ve packed too much and don’t have a back-up plan

Don’t be that person at the airport sprawled across the floor with their dirty underwear and toiletries exposed to the check-in line.  Instead, be ready with a few things in mind just in case you’ve gone over the weight limit. 

Maybe you don’t really need that huge bottle of sunscreen anymore, or those tattered sandals.  Be prepared with these items on top so you can easily take them out.  It might be hard to let go, but at least it’ll save you the excess baggage fee.


5. You’ve forgotten to leave space for souvenirs

No one ever thinks about the end of a trip before departing.  Often times, people will pack the suitcase full (or to the weight allowance) without allowing for any space to buy things. If you can’t save the room for souvenirs, make sure you have a few items to switch out at the end of a trip.  Another good option is to bring a shopping bag along and tote the souvenirs as a carry-on.


Jessica Wray is a Californian, an over-thinker, a spicy-food lover and a serial expat. She has studied and lived in Latin America, taught English in South Korea, backpacked Asia and now lives in Madrid, Spain. Follow along with her on her blog, Curiosity Travels, as she tackles her mid-twenties all while calling different parts of the world home.

By: heather.thompson

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  • Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014
Summer travelers can easily buy US$3-5.00 shirts to add variety to clothing for longer trips. If you're traveling solo, no one cares if you're wearing the same clothing every day. If you're in a group or staying a few days in one place and want something different, go to the open market of discount stores. Second Hand stores are a good source for jackets if the weather turns cold. And the good thing about all of this inexpensive apparel is that you can leave it behind if you change climates or don't want to carry it farther down the road.
  • Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
2 1/2 months of travel and all I take is two carry ons. Pack thin clothing that can dry quickly and clothing you dont mind ditching at the end if your trip
  • Posted: Saturday, August 2, 2014
Carry a tape measure? lol
  • Posted: Saturday, August 2, 2014
I agree with this article. I usually pack an extra light weight backpack for things I will buy on the trip....since i know I always will buy stuff but not for other people who seldom want them...I buy for me. My husband suggests that I pack nothing and just buy.......he knows me well that I do love shopping. I prefer a back pack over a rolling suitcase even though I have been staying in hostels now for 49 years so I am obviously not a teenager.
  • Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2014
I always bring more shirts then pants ;) oh, and a baggie helps to protect your passport from water & ink damage...it can be a hassle travelling with a damaged passport!
  • Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014
I Never take more than a carry-on, even traveling for a month. Pick colors that go together well. Check ahead of time on internet for the weather where U R going, take appropriate clothing, several pairs of shoes or boots R Not neessary unless U R going to a very cold or wet climate. Take a washable jacket in case it gets cold at nights or very cold airconditioning. Take a fold up umbrella in case of rain or a light weight fold up rain-coat. Realize most places will NOT take American Express or most American credit cards and many places will not exchange or take dollars or travelers checks. Check in advance if where U R going will take Amrican credit, debit cards, dollars or travelers checks and if they don't exchange money before U leave. Wear a money and document pouch around your waist or if wearing long pants around your leg under your pants. Purses R unnecessary and get stolen. Wear your passport under your clothes. Nina Diamante
  • Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014
Great tips, thanks everyone.... I ALWAYS take too much and end up not wearing stuff.... Will for sure be following your tips....
  • Posted: Friday, July 25, 2014
What timing... I'm packing right now! But why is packing light for three months so darn hard. :o Gotta do it!
  • Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014
If you are self-catering carry a bottle of squirting olive oil, wrapped in a polythene bag, for frying and putting on bread. Boil all eggs before carrying them.
  • Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014
Buy a portable luggage scale and pack in your bag. It will save you time and money.
  • Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014
If I'm traveling in vacation mode, I take with me clothes that a) I need to get rid of or b) clothes that I have just purchased at Goodwill ($3 shirts, $4 pants, etc.). I wear everything three or four times and then throw things away or donate them to thrift stores overseas as my vacation progresses. I make space for souvenirs as I go (and since I mostly bring back cufflinks, I have room for my bride's souvenirs also). I get to declutter my closet and see the world at the same time.
  • Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014
If your luggage has wheels, put the heavy and hard things at the wheeled end. Then they are automatically at the bottom. And, most importantly, put your contact information ontop and iside your bags as well as outside. Finally, all black bags look alike. Distinguish yours with distinctive markings, such as duct tape on three sides with a password (not your name, maybe initials)
  • Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014
6. Don't take a rolling suitcase. A 22 liter daypack is sufficient for a couple of weeks of travelling. (except if you are camping.). A daypack makes you lighter, always fits the airport requirements, No problems with bad roads and you can carry everything with you all day if you need to. fast, light and effective! Comment on 1. If you go climbing, make sure you are bottom heavy. You have more balance that way. If you want to feel light as a feather, pack top-heavy.
  • Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014
corny tips
  • Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014
I always bring clothes at the end of their wearability that I can jetsam t make room for souvenirs.
  • Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014
"never pack more than one pair of pants" Nice.
  • Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014
Loved the tips! All of them true and very useful!
  • Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014
So true ! great and useful tips ! thank you
  • Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014
Rule no. 2: that's very true, do remember to measure your luggage carefully. We once flew on easyJet. They made us put our suitcase in the appropriate-sized container to be tested. It fit in alright but they insisted that the wheels stuck out a bit. And they kept pushed us: "we are late, everyone is waiting for us". We ended paying 55 EUR for the suitcase, (our ticket was 70 EUR something and all the stuff inside might worth 50EUR, I think, haha.
  • Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thanks for the great tips! I travel frequently and am guilty of overpacking and never saving room for souvenirs. I will definitely put all of these tips to use.

  • Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014
well, I am fine on all of this, and even though I never use space-saver bags I do not need them, thank you!
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