Packing is more than just throwing a few shirts and changes of underwear into a bag and dashing out the door on another trip. We learned a few new packing tips from a recent Smarter Travel article, Our Favorite Packing Tips, As Seen on Reddit.
And since we’re not traveling much these days, but these tips all require some purchasing and shipping, now is the time to start preparing for your next trip. Here are a few things you should consider getting while you have time.
Get the right cables
You might be the kind of traveler who has a lot of electronics and gadgets that you’ll use on the trip. You don’t want your wires to get tangled up, making it a nightmare to untangle the first cord that you need.
There are a few ways you can free yourself from the headache of tangled cables. First, wrap each cord around your fingers and slide it off. Wrap a rubber band around the middle of the cable so it doesn’t unravel. Then pack all your cords into a small pocket in one of your bags.
Second, you can get 1 foot cables for your devices on Amazon or from your favorite electronics store. Rather than a 3-, 6-, or 10-foot cable, you can take the short cables to plug your phone or tablet into your laptop or in the desktop plugs in most hotels.
Better yet, update your devices so they all take the same kind of devices. If you’ve got a 1st or 2nd generation iPad, treat yourself and get one that takes the same lightning cable as your iPhone. Or if you’re a Google/Samsung fan, make sure your devices all take the USB-C type cables, and upgrade to make sure they all use the same kind of cable, which means you can reduce the number of cables you have to carry.
Pack a couple dry bags
Dry bags are becoming popular for travelers for good reason. They’re mostly used for laundry or carrying any damp or dirty items. For example, if you have towels and swimsuits that are wet, you can put them in the dry bag, keeping them away from everything else in your suitcase. They also make great laundry bags for all your dirty clothes.
Carry a fake wallet
A good way to deter pickpockets is to carry a fake wallet in an obvious place, like your back pocket or inside jacket pocket. Put $20 and a few expired credit cards in there. If the thief gets your fake wallet, they haven’t ruined your vacation or stolen your identity. You’re out the wallet and the $20.
Then just carry your real money and credit cards inside a money belt. Better yet, get a hidden pocket, which is basically a slim pouch with a loop on one end. You keep your money and cards in the pouch, slip the loop over your belt, and then tuck the pouch inside your pants. Then, just go into the bathroom to retrieve the money or card that you’ll need.
Swap liquid shampoo for bars
The nice thing about a shampoo bar is that you don’t have to show it as part of your TSA-allowed 3-1-1 bag, and you can put it in a plastic soap dish or resealable bag when you’re done with it. Plus, a soap bar won’t burst during the flight and leak all over your toiletry bag.
Pack essentials items for the actual trip
While you’re packing for the actual trip you’re going on, don’t forget to pack for the journey. For example, if you’re flying, you’ll probably get hungry. Rather than buying an unhealthy, overpriced airport meal, pack some snacks into your bag, like a couple handfuls of almonds, trail mix, or even energy bars. They’ll easily pass the TSA, but you can take as much as you need to get through the day. Be sure to take an empty water bottle through TSA and fill it once you’re on the other side of security.
If you’re driving, you can pick all of these things up before you leave, or set your GPS for a grocery store when you’re ready to stop for a break, and get your snacks and water as you need it.
The same is true for your medicines. You don’t want to carry too many pills or medicines with you, but have just enough for any emergencies you may encounter, like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. If you need to carry any liquids, like cough syrup, you either want to replace them with caplets where available, or make sure you’re only carrying the TSA-allowed amount of 3.4 ounces (100 ml).
Buy some comfortable clothing
Clothing is everything when it comes to feeling comfortable while you travel. But regardless of what you wear while you’r at your destination, having the right clothing in the car or on the flight will make a big difference.
Clothes made of mostly cotton can be soft, but may be rather bulky, and it wrinkles easily. Wool is lightweight, but it can be extremely warm. There are other materials you can consider, like merino, silk, and even bamboo. For example, winter weather athletes will often wear a few layers, starting with silk leggings and undershirts for extra warmth.
Carry a linen towel
Fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy already know the importance of carrying a towel, but if you’ve ever wondered what kind of towel you need, it’s the linen towel. They’re a hidden jewel for travelers, because they can dry quickly without leaving a bad smell like cotton towels do.
You can also use them to dry off your laundry or swimsuit. Just fold a shirt or other garment lengthwise into the towel, and then roll it up tightly, squeezing as you go. That will wick out a lot of the water, and then you can hang both the shirt and towel up to dry.
What are some of your unusual and new packing tips? Is there something you take to make your life and your trip easier? Share them with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.
Photo credit: Tony Webster (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 3.0)