There’s nothing more satisfying than coming back from a trip and realizing you used everything you packed and packed everything you needed. Okay, maybe there are a few more satisfying things than that, but a well-packed bag will help make your trip that much easier and more enjoyable.
So what are the secrets to being a primo packer? If anyone has the inside scoop, it’s our globetrotting staff. They’ve been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt (literally, check out tip #4), and here’s what they had to say:
1. Change locations, not clothes.
Words to live by from Rough Guide’s First Time Around The World. If you’re on the move, no one in the next town knows you’re an outfit repeater – and most HI USA hostels have washers and dryers.
2. Lay out all the stuff and money you think you’ll need.
Then take half the stuff and double the money.
3. Jeans are bulky and take forever to dry, so bring your one, must-have pair, and then choose a lighter weight option for additional pants.
Light weight zipper cargos (the kind where the legs can zip off into shorts) make a great alternative, as they’re easy to dry and versatile.
4. Take one less t-shirt than you were planning, and buy a new one on the road.
It will be a souvenir and something to enhance your travelling wardrobe. (Just don’t be the guy who wears the t-shirt of the band at the concert.)
5. Always bring a photocopy of your passport.
Keep it somewhere safe and separate from your actual passport. If your passport gets stolen, it will make it much easier to get replaced. Pro tip: Leave another photocopy with a friend or family member back home.
6. According to Colin Fletcher, author of The Complete Walker, you should make 3 piles.
The first is everything you need. The second is everything you want. And the third is luxury items that would be cool to have. Take everything in the first pile, none from the second pile, and one item from the third pile.
7. Flip flops are an essential, don’t-even-think-about-leaving-without-them item!
Wear them in the shower, to the beach, and, depending on where you are, you might be able to get away with wearing them out at night. Versatility is everything.
8. Place a dryer sheet in your bag to keep clothes smelling fresh and reduce static cling.
At HI USA, we love a good travel hack.
9. As a general rule, prints hide stains better than solids.
(Which also means the “white clothes” conversation should go without saying.)
But before you pack anything…
It’s really important to do your research on social and cultural norms regarding clothing at the place(s) you’re visiting. Let those norms be your guide for what to pack. You’ll blend in like a local and save yourself from making unwanted purchases on the road!