The rules of being a good traveller are simple: be open minded, respect the local culture and know how to pack your suitcase. Whether you’re a crammer or a folder, effective bag packing is essential for avoiding excess baggage fees and making sure your clothes don’t get wrinkled beyond recognition.
With these tips, there will be no need to reverse your underpants four times over as you can afford to bring everything that you need.
1. Be realistic. Do you really need eight pairs of shoes for a week away? Take only what you need and remember that if you intend to buy any souvenirs on your trip, you will need room to bring them back with you. Get organised by writing a list of everything you think you'll need on your trip and try to eliminate non-essentials. When you finish your trip, pack the list away in a suitcase for next time.
2. Keep travel toiletries to sample size and pop them in clear resealable bags. This way you can see what you’ve got and it will prevent any sticky liquid spilling on your belongings.
3. Rolling your clothes is a great way to conserve packing space. You can do this by layering three to four items of clothing, partially folding them and then rolling them tightly together. To maximise space, be sure to push all the clothes cylinders to the softer edges of the luggage. Need more room? Get creative by putting jewellery in socks and packing them into your shoes and be sure to use all the pockets on your suitcase.
4. Who wants to pay extra money for excess luggage? Forget the headache and buy yourself an inexpensive bag scale that can tell you if your luggage will exceed your allowance. Also, check the weight of the bag on its own. If you're getting a sore arm lifting your bag when it’s empty, imagine once all your belongings are in it. Find a bag that suits what you will be taking – a lighter travelling bag may not look as nice as your current fire engine red crocodile skin suitcase, but it does the job at a fraction of the weight.
5. Can’t live without blow drying your hair? Check if your accommodation will provide a hairdryer, or purchase a collapsible hairdryer and travel size straightener. If you are travelling to another country with a different current, be sure to bring a power converter so you can use your electronics without the hassle of trying to find one when you should be enjoying your holiday.
6. Wear your biggest clothes: sneakers, jacket, boots and scarves. It can be all too difficult trying to pack a coat in a suitcase only to realise it takes up half the space. Avoid the stress from the ‘Meet the Parents’ scene where Greg packs his fiancé's engagement ring in his suitcase and spends most of the film chasing the airline who has lost his luggage. Carry on valuables like jewellery, cash, medication, sunnies and a spare set of clothes just in case your bag does go missing.
7. Tie a distinct ribbon on your suitcase, get a good quality lock and label your suitcase with your details including name, number and address. This has saved many travellers when their bag has gone missing and can ensure your bag comes back to you safely.
8. Pack your own bag and never leave it unattended. With all the security checks that have surfaced in the last few years, it's essential to know what's in your bag at all times.