Packing A Suitcase For Maximum Efficiency

Provides information on how to suitcase and luggage packing. With emphasis on traveling abroad and the items that you should take with you.

Traveling, especially abroad, can be an exciting yet hectic experience. While many activities must be prepared in advance, including establishing your travel itinerary, making accommodation, transportation, and entertainment reservations, and securing your home while away, many people neglect the importance of properly preparing and selecting the items to take with them on their journey. First-time travelers are especially prone to overlooking this aspect of their trip. Many people will wait until the last minute to pack their belongings in which case many important items may be forgotten. Then there are those who pack too far in advance making them forget what it was they initially packed and causing them to over pack by adding more items to another suitcase in case they "forgot" something in the suitcases that they packed originally.

The most appropriate time to pack a suitcase is about a week before you leave for your destination. Packing a week in advance ensures that you remember what you actually packed and allows you to add any last minute items that you might have forgotten on the day you packed. By packing a week ahead you should also have a good idea of your destination's current and extended weather forecast so you will know the types of clothing that you need to wear while on your trip.

If you are traveling to a warm climate, take the proper warm weather clothing with you but do account for the occasional cool and/or rainy day. Taking a small, portable umbrella is advisable wherever you travel. If you are planning on traveling to a cooler climate, then similar to traveling to a warm climate, take the appropriate clothing. However, wherever you go remember that your destination, especially if it is popular with tourists, may charge quite a bit of money for clothes and items that you forgot to take with you and that you need to purchase. For example, if you forgot to pack your winter coat and you are traveling to a ski resort, expect to pay top price to purchase a coat. The best advice is to remember what you need to take with you. You can do this by writing a list early in the week of the things that you need to pack. As you place each item into your suitcase, check the item off of the list. This will help you to remember those items you may forget and will save you money in the long run because you will not need to purchase items that you already own.

If you are traveling overseas via air, it is important to know your airline's baggage allowance rules. If your luggage is overweight, or exceeds the baggage limit allowed, you will have to pay an additional fee. Also, if you are traveling abroad you probably will not want to carry too many pieces of luggage with you. Too much luggage risks its loss and may target you as a tourist to thieves and con artists. Also make sure, when traveling, that you purchase quality luggage that can endure the often-harsh handling of airlines, hotels, porters, etc. If luggage is damaged by an airline or at a quality hotel while you are traveling, often the corporation will pay to fix the damages. However, this process can be time-consuming and confusing especially in a foreign country. Therefore, why chance that this type of situation will occur? Purchase high-quality luggage from a reputable firm so that you know your luggage will last more than one trip.

Another important factor when packing for a trip is how to pack. First, separate all the items that you are going to take with you into groups categorized by their content. For example, place all your cosmetics, toiletries, medications, etc. in one group, all your clothes in another. Shoes go into another group, as do any gifts/souvenirs that you are taking with you. Next, place any items that can leak, such as shampoos, into strong, re-sealable plastic bags. You should also place your shoes into non-sealable plastic bags so that when they are packed besides clothes, dirt from their bottoms does not touch the clothes. Also, if you are traveling abroad, make sure that you have any electricity conversion plugs that you might need as well as any guide/language books and maps necessary. When packing, place your shoes on the bottom and fill-in any gaps in space using socks and underwear. For jeans and casual slacks, fold the pants once then roll them from the waist towards the ankle. This rolling condenses the slacks and prevents them from wrinkling. Once rolled, place the slacks in any free space on the suitcase's bottom or place them on top of the shoes. You can also layer items from your cosmetics group in-between the shoes and slacks. Next, place flat items, such as shirts and sweaters, on top of the bulky items. The idea is to layer all items so that there are no open gaps in the suitcase and all items are secure. Also make sure that any breakable items are placed between softer items, such as sweaters or a coat, as this adds padding to the items and protects them.

Once the suitcase is packed, let it sit for a few days. This allows the contents to settle. After a few days, re-open it and check for any free spaces to pack any additional items that you may have or to re-arrange the contents if necessary. If you are satisfied that you have packed everything that you need, close the suitcase. Also make sure that you have purchased quality locks for your suitcases as well as durable luggage tags. These items should be made in such a fashion that they could not be removed easily from your luggage. Next, lock your suitcases, add your name and address to your luggage tags, and put your luggage aside.

Once locked and tagged, your suitcase is ready for its trip. Enjoy your travels and Bon Voyage!

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