When it comes to packing for a trip, there are certain things you can do to help with the whole process. From must-have products to what to leave behind, a few tweaks to your packing rituals can make all the difference.
Maraika Mason recently put out a call for packing help in our special Facebook group, Travel at 60 – Travel Lovers: “Would love some ‘what to pack’ tips. And some ‘how to pack’ tips," she wrote. "I always pack too much. I hate being unprepared. And I pack my case months before my holiday. I need help :)”
The responses came in thick and fast, and they're so good we just had to share. Without further ado, here are some of the best tips from Maraika’s fellow Travel Lovers:
• “The standard reply is to pack half the clothes and twice the cash. I'm sure you've heard that one. I always take less and less each trip I take – I’ve gone from two large cases to one medium and one carry-on.” – Patricia L.
• “We found one of the handiest things to carry were inflatable clothes hangers. They take up very little room deflated and when you blow them up to use them they are so wide they separate the front and back of your clothing item and you just hang them in the shower or bathroom. Clothes mostly dry overnight.” – Ron Veldman
• “I always include items I don't want and discard them along the the way.” – Lynley B.
• “Best thing I ever packed was a plastic spatula to use as a shoe horn. No weight – it was invaluable for getting the joggers on. Other than that, take a few scarves that go with neutral-coloured clothes.” – Di Quilty
• “Pack your case, then remove every thing and give it serious consideration. Then repack and repeat the same procedure until your case weighs half of your allowance. Then, you are ready.” – Raewyn MacKenzie
• “Always pack a set of underwear in your carry on, in case your suitcase doesn’t arrive with you. It does happen!” – Robyn M.
• “Stick to a basic colour scheme. For me, it’s black slacks and white slacks, and tops that go with either or both. Plus shoes to coordinate. For cooler weather, layer.” – Suzanne M.
• “Type up a packing list and adjust it each time you travel. If the unfortunate happens, you'll be able to tell your insurance company just what you had. Take photos of your luggage before leaving. And always remember you have to be able to carry your gear, so a backpack keeps your hands free for travel documents. Wheeled suitcases are difficult to manage on cobbled streets. Happy light packing!” – Valerie Brown
• “I find merino clothing and underwear wonderful for travelling. Great for layering and can be worn a few times before washing. They are very light and roll up tightly for packing. A singlet and long sleeve top can easily be layered under a summer top without bulk.” – Roslyn Newbury
“I wash clothes using hotel shampoo and hang on a stretch clothes line with suction ends. My down jacket is a must if I'm going somewhere cold as it’s light, warm and rolls up into a small ball. I bought some really soft tights (not stockings) from Target last year for $12 and used them when in Alaska – just put them on underneath. I hate to be cold.” – Carole Lloyd
• “I don't take a washer bag or soap or toothbrush containers. I use heaps of clip-lock bags then the small toiletries can be stored in shoes or small spaces between other things.” – Margaret Petersen
• “Don't pack too much. Allow room for shopping!” – Mary W.
• “I go to Canada each year. I find taking thermals requires much less space than warm outer clothes. They roll into a very small space.” – Barbara Easthope
• "As I always travel in Asia, I take lots of cotton and linen clothes. I have cut down on shoes (at 80 I have to cut back on something!) and only buy goodies that are possible to carry in a carry on bag!” – Elaine M.
• “I mix and match and don’t take anything that I would only wear once or twice. I always wear my heaviest clothes travelling. You don’t need to pack more than two pairs of shoes. Wear your walking shoes when travelling. I’ve seen many people struggling on cobblestones and station platforms where the surface is uneven with wheeled luggage. Many European trains have limited space for luggage. When late for a train connection, I strap on my backpack and run while others struggle.” – Carolyn Berry
It also seems that packing cubes are a big hit among our Travel Lovers:
• “I always use packing cells as they keep everything neat and tidy in my bag.” – Vicki H.
• “Me too, absolutely love the packing pods. Everything has its place and it’s easy to find items in suitcase. I have even converted my husband to use them!” – Elizabeth
• “Amazon do a great set of packing cells/bags for around $15. Don't know how I ever managed without them.” – Kathryn Pring
• "Ooh yes, how did we ever manage without packing pods? I take a small spray bottle with Preen stain remover in it and find it invaluable.” Noel M.
There were so many great tips we simply couldn't include them all, but Maraika was quick to voice her thanks for such helpful words of advice:
“What brilliant suggestions," she wrote. "Thank you very much everyone. I need to make a list of all the good advice.”
Here you go, Maraika – we’ve done it for you!