Al Arabi Travel Agency

Packing lightly and efficiently… how is it done?

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On Twitter recently, I caught a discussion about the best way to pack light so I thought it’d make an interesting little blog post to discuss some ideas and tips about the best way to go about it.

I love flying business class. It was a fantastic experience… the one time I actually flew in the cabin. As you’ve probably guessed, I do pretty much all of my travel in economy class and, thus, my baggage allowance usually sits around the 20-23kg mark. I used to constantly arrive at the airport in a sweaty state of fear that my suitcase would weigh too much and I’d be charged for excess baggage so I recently decided that enough was enough. Pack light, take only what I need and (hopefully) become a far more efficient traveller.

Furthermore, as I detailed in THIS POST, I’ll be backpacking around Italy in September. Isn’t it funny how the thought of carrying your entire luggage on your back (for pretty much 2 weeks straight) will frighten you into carrying less? I’m also going to include some community tips from Twitter.

Let’s begin!

  • Write a checklist. I find this really helps you sit and think about exactly what you need. In my experience, packing without a checklist caused you to pack far too much.
  • Plan your packing by day. This doesn’t work quite as well if you’re going on a long trip but, if you’re going for less than a week, plan your outfit for each day in advance and just pack what you need per day.
  • The packing vs rolling debate. Personally, I swear by rolling my tshirts and trousers whilst other people fold them. I roll mine very, very tightly and I find that I can fit more in a suitcase this way but it may well depend on the materials/tailoring of individual garments.
  • Stuff socks inside shoes. I can’t stress this one enough.. space inside shoes is just wasted space; use it! This tip endorsed by @SimonPThurston!
  • Pack underwear last. As the smallest garments in your case, pack your underwear right at the end. This was, you can use underwear/socks to ‘plug’ any small gaps that might be left over.
  • Toiletries tend to take up a lot of space. I try to collect sample sized deodorants, shower gels, shampoos etc. from the promotional stands that are put up in the malls and then keep them in a cupboard until my next trip. They’re usually about the right size for a 2 weeks trip and they take up far less space than the full sized toiletries you’d buy in the supermarket.
  • A follow up to the previous point – are you staying in hotels for your whole trip? Why not find out what toiletries they provide and pack accordingly?
  • Lots of opinions about toiletries. @papalurchdxb suggests ‘take no toiletries with you and buy at location’.
  • Pack according to the climate you expect. If you’re visiting Miami in summer, you’ll hardly need a winter jacket.
  • Via @SurenaSays on Twitter – ‘Buy a luggage weighing scale, it’s made (packing) much less stressful for me’
  • Via @chuiee – ‘For a holiday, carry a pair or two of jeans and a lot of tshirts. Re-use jeans’ She also says that you should ‘add a newspaper inside of pressed clothes while folding them to prevent it from having fold marks or creases’
  • From @ClaireRDXB – ‘Only take a carry on suitcase’
  • We’ve also had a tip about colour coordinating your outfits. @missmaxine says ‘I pick a colour, then stick to it. Makes it lighter and easier as everything then matches i.e. black and grey, or white etc.’

 So there we go – tips for packing efficiently. Many thanks to our Twitter contributions and please do keep the suggestions coming in by comment! 

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