By Maria Brooks
There's nothing as exciting as going on a trip to some exotic location, enjoying yourself and getting to know a different culture. But the thing about traveling is you'll have to do the heavy lifting and by heavy lifting, I mean packing. So many questions pop in your head about what to bring, what to leave behind, what if this and what if that, should I bring this just in case? The number of scenarios that flash through your mind would be enough to give you analysis paralysis. But have no fear, I am here and I come prepared with these 10 travel hacks that are sure to make you pack like a pro.
Keep a List
As a frequent traveler myself, I keep a list of all the essential things I always need to bring with me when I'm traveling. These are basic things like clothes, toiletries, med kit, socks, sunblock, and others. I keep it on my phone and when I get back from a trip I check to see what needs refilling. On my next excursion, all I got to do is pull out the list and start throwing stuff into my bag. It has trimmed down my packing time from half a day to a mere hour.
Packing Cubes are a Life Saver
Yes, I do own several of these. I can honestly say these have been a God-send. My favorite bag to use on a trip is a large backpack with only two compartments so as I travel, stuff is moving around. By the time I open it, it's a mess. These packing cubes keep everything organized and prevent stuff from moving around inside the bag. I generally use 3 or 4 on a trip. As a bonus, you can use these as a day bag as you go around exploring the new place.
Roll Them Up
Roll, don't fold. I can't even begin to tell you the amount of space that's freed up in my pack once I started doing this. It just makes more sense to roll. It will minimize creasing and it's a lot easier to take out clothes this way. An extra tip, plan your outfits and then roll them together. It will save you time by not taking everything out just to look for something to wear.
Tape Those Liquids
I've had my fair share of spilled liquids when I travel. Whether it's due to running around the airport and getting into taxis and buses, or the fault of airport staff, I don't know but the point is no one wants to get to their destination only to realize all their clothes are soaked in shampoo or lotion. A great hack is to seal those bottles with tape and seal them tightly. Bring an extra roll of tape for the trip home, too.
Sarongs for the Win
I always bring a sarong with me. For those of you unfamiliar with this versatile item, it's a piece of tube or length fabric that's wrapped around the waist. This is very common in South and Southeast Asia. The budget airline is too cold? No problem, you got a blanket. You need to change clothes but there's no dressing room? Use the sarong. I've even used it as a towel to dry off once or twice. It is such a versatile material.
Keep a Separate Cabin Bag
I personally try to avoid checking my luggage when I travel that’s why I decided to get one of the best backpacks for my travels. I travel light and it is just faster and more efficient if you take everything with you on the plane. But the rare times that I had to check a suitcase in, I always have an extra pack I take with me on the plane. These contain things such as snacks, some toiletries, an extra shirt and underwear, and socks. I also have a book in there as well as my noise-canceling headphones.
Separate the Shoes
This is pretty self-explanatory. Do not ever mix your shoes with the rest of your stuff without some sort of barrier. Shoes are dirty and you don't want the rest of your things getting soiled. Those laundry bags hotels provide are perfect shoe bags. They prevent dirt from spreading in your pack and it's breathable so you won't be pulling stinky shoes out when you're ready to use them.
Invest in a Good Bag or Suitcase
I don't like spending money on expensive things when I could get a similar yet cheaper one. But choosing the best backpack or luggage is the exception. Your bag or luggage will be doing a lot of the heavy lifting in your travel. Like it or not, it will get mishandled by you or by others. Invest in one that can take a lot of beating while keeping everything inside safe and secure.
What's a travel box, you ask? A travel box is where I keep extra soaps, toothpaste, travel shampoos and conditioners, and the like. It makes it easy to grab a couple when I'm low on stock. I also make it a habit of collecting soaps, shampoos, and conditioners and other free items in hotels where I stay or ask them from friends who don't want it.
Ziplocks are the Best
When all else fails, ziplock it. I swore by ziplock and I think it's the greatest invention since duct tape. Its use far extends out of the kitchen. It is where I keep my wet clothes as well as using it to double pack my toiletries to avoid spoilage. You can use it to pack for shoes and my towel and it's a great way to store electronics to prevent liquid from damaging them.
Author Bio: Maria Brooks is a passionate travel & outdoor blogger who loves to travel and write about her experience. She spends her free time hiking, swimming, camping and spending time with her family. She also blogs at GearJunior which is a site filled with outdoor tips and guides.