5 ways to never make packing mistakes

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Preparing for a trip somehow always stresses me out a bit. You have to do lots of things like booking flights and hotels, renting cars, mapping out where you are going to go and when (well, actually you should probably do this one first), and of course packing. And because packing can be somewhat of a challenge, I thought I would share some of the things that I have learnt in the past.

Checking the weather at your destination, and taking into account your activities

This is quite obvious, but I often made the mistake of checking the average weather for a certain month on Google and relying too much on that. For example, I once went to New York in September and I read that it’s usually around 22°C there that time of year. I got all ready to bring loads of jeans and jackets. Thankfully, a friend told me that it was actually going to be around 31°C while I was there!

Also, I had to learn the hard way that 15°C is quite warm when you stay inside most of the time, but you will still get really cold if you spend your whole day outside.

Making a (reusable) list

I am the kind of person who makes lists for everything in life: shopping lists, to do lists, pro and con lists, and obviously packing lists. I really admire people who can pack last minute and be fine (like by boyfriend, he’s a pro in that field!) but I’m always scared to forget something and writing it down on a list just gives me the insurance that I won’t.
Between getaways and going home to Germany as often as I can, I travel quite a lot, so making a list every single time would quite time consuming. I keep around one extensive list, photocopy it a couple of times and reuse it on different occasions. I just cross out things that I don’t need on that particular trip.

Packing light for short trips

This might be the hardest one for me personally. But let’s face it, if you’re travelling for less than a week, a carry-on is usually more than enough. Just pack travel size toiletries and wear your biggest/heaviest clothing and shoes on the plane, and you shouldn’t need a big suitcase – otherwise you’re probably over-packing.
The good thing is: you save SO much time if you only have a carry-on! Just make sure you’re one of the first people to board the plane, otherwise they might check it in anyway. At least in Europe - for instance, Transavia and Ryanair tend to do that a lot.

A few tips on packing a suitcase

Packing warm sweaters if you're travelling in the winter

This sounds so obvious, but I actually made the mistake of not doing this when I went to Ireland in the beginning of the year. I brought a super thick jacket and thought that I didn’t need my chunky sweaters under it to keep warm – which was true for when we were outside. I did however not plan for our AirBnb to be really cold! So I basically had to spend the evenings right in front of the fire place and freeze half to death every time I had to go to the bathroom. Then I ended up stealing my boyfriend’s clothing and it was fine.

Not only bringing hiking shoes

Hiking shoes are the best when you go, well, hiking. Mine got me through various landscapes in Iceland and Ireland, like mountains, woods and even glaciers, but as soon as you get back to civilisation, they REALLY make you look like a tourist (plus they usually get super dirty by the end of the trip). Unless that doesn’t bother you, bring sneakers or something like this if you’re going to be spending time in the city.

And last:

Don’t forget to unpack your cat before you close your suitcase

That is if you have one.

Cat in a suitcase

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