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Ask any person what their biggest mistake has been while travelling is and I guarantee you they’ll say that over packing their luggage was a huge regret.
When I walk through an airport, I am usually thinking in my head when I see a person with an oversized luggage, “Why on earth do you need that big of a luggage to travel?”
Now, obviously everyone’s travel situation is different. Perhaps they are bringing items to family members abroad, or they need to bring something back from their travels and bring a bigger bag to transport things, but the majority of the time, it’s a poor over packing soul who is destined to pay those dreaded overweight baggage fees once they get to the check in counter and weigh their monstrous luggage.
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I’ve definitely travelled with over packers and the amount of unnecessary shit that they’ve brought just makes me shake my head. Why do you need three pairs of heels for a one week trip? I’ll never understand. The over packers are usually seen at the check-in counters frantically unloading and reorganizing their bags in order to avoid baggage fees while apologetically holding up the line. Don’t be that person, please.
The perfect example of an over packer is my grandma. She travels to Florida every year for a few months at a time, but brings the largest suitcase available to purchase and stuffs it to the point where it looks like someones belly after gorging on too much pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving dinner. It literally looks like it’s about to burst! I always tell her every year not to pack so much, but alas, every year it’s the same song and dance and she usually needs to pay an overweight baggage fee.
There are a few different types of packers when it comes to travel. There’s the emotional packer, the minimalist, the “I might need that” cautious packer, the backpacker and the fashion queen.
I’d like to think that I fit into the minimalist/cautious packer categories because you just might need that leather jacket during autumn travels. I do travel with a checked bag most of the time, but I only fill it halfway, if that, to make room for anything I may want to shop for while abroad. I’ve also travelled two full weeks to India with a carry-on sized luggage and a small backpack, so I can easily adapt.
As a solo traveller, I tend to lean towards keeping things on the lighter side because I know I’m on my own and don’t have an extra set of hands to help me lift my load. I normally have three key pieces with me when I go away: a small backpack as my carry-on, my purse and my luggage. I’ve managed to travel solo for weeks using this method with ease, so I know what works for me.
For those of you that have a hard time deciding what to pack and absolute dread the packing process, here are my top tips on how to avoid over packing.
Make A Check List
Maybe it’s the Virgo in me, but I love making lists. I feel like I am more organized and less stressed out if I do and it keeps me in check with making sure I only pack what I really need. If you don’t know where to start, there are loads of packing checklists on Pinterest if you aren’t a checklist doer and maker.
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Use A Carry-On Luggage If Possible
As I mentioned above, I usually like to bring a medium sized luggage with me, but only pack it to half capacity so I can bring things home. Who doesn’t like to shop overseas? I do love bringing a carry-on luggage though because it allows me the freedom to get off the plane and mosey out of the airport quick and seamlessly, which also helps avoid those ridiculous wait times at the baggage carousel. Umm, have any of you ever had to wait for your luggage at Pearson International Airport in Toronto? Ya, it is HELL!
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Roll Your Clothes & Use Space Wisely
There are two types of packers; rollers and folders. I personally lean more towards the roller type, since I’ve tested both methods and I find that rolling my clothing just works better for me. Another tip to save space that I love doing is putting my socks into my shoes, or if I’m bringing a hat, I’ll shove my underwear and socks inside of it, put it flat, then pack around it. Not only does this save space, but it also helps keep the shape of your hat and prevent unsightly creasing and dents.
Mix & Match Outfits
Forget those people that bring 20 different outfits in order to match their outfits to their locations to take super trendy Instagram worthy fashionista photos that aren’t even remotely relatable to the average person. Don’t get me wrong, the photos people produce wearing high fashion outfits look great, but in real time, nobody has time for that. Plus, who wears a ballgown to wander the streets of Johannesburg? Really, though. Remember the saying, “K.I.S.S,” or Keep It Simple Stupid? This method is imperative when it comes to packing light for travel. Mixing and matching your outfits will save time, space and from you getting a stress related headache. I usually bring two pairs of jeans, a few leggings, tops, sweaters and a jacket, of course, that depends on the weather situation where you’re heading, but the goal is to make as many outfits as possible out of the least amount of clothing. Try laying out your clothes before packing them and visualizing what goes together and what doesn’t to help you plan out your luggage easier.
Wear Your Bulkiest Clothing On The Plane
Wearing your bulkiest clothing on the plane is a sure fire way to save some sweet precious space in your luggage. Planes are usually kept a lot colder anyway, so wearing your biggest and comfiest sweater and your boots while in transit could actually be the best thing ever and prevent you from shivering your butt off for eight hours, or more.
Don’t Overdo It On The Accessories
I love some accessories just as much as the next person, but when I’m travelling I like to keep it to a bare minimum. I might wear a ring, necklace and a watch, but that’s about it. I also tend to keep these items in my purse until I’m through security because nobody wants to be that person that is holding up the line while attempting to remove an entire store’s worth of jewellery and accessories from their body before going though the metal detector. I also keep the accessories to a minimum to prevent becoming a walking target while walking alone in a foreign country. Instead of jewellery, I’ll bring two different scarves, or another smaller side bag to switch up my look. Simple, effective and still fashionable.
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Only Bring Two Pairs Of Footwear
You don’t need four pairs of heels, plus sneakers, boots and a pair of flip flops to go to Europe for two weeks. You really don’t. Europe has some of the best fashion in the world, so if you really need another pair of shoes while you’re travelling, buy them there. Enough said. A pair of comfy walking shoes/boots and a “bonus” pair are more then enough to bring from home.
Do Your Research
You can save a ton of space in your luggage just by doing a bit of research on your end before packing for your trip. I always check to see if my hotels have a hairdryer in the bathroom. If they do, I opt out of bringing one with me from home and it saves me tons of room in my luggage. Most hotels supply body wash, shampoo and conditioner, so you can skip on bringing those with you and if you do want to bring your own, stick to the travel sized option. I always save my bottles so I can squeeze my favourite products into them and bring along as a back-up.
So tell me, what type of packer are you? Have you ever over packed for a trip? I think it’s safe to say that we have all been there and done that. What’s the one item you’ve brought with you on a trip, but then instantly regretted bringing it? Let me know in the comments below! xo