The next time you are packing for a trip, whether it is for an adventure-backpacking trip to the jungles of Panama or for a weekend in New York, consider our list of “can’t do without these” items:
- Expandable clothesline and clothespins – These are handy after you have hand-washed your clothes in the river or hotel sink.
- Paperback book – A book will help pass the time on a long plane trip or a wait in a customs line.
- Small hotel-size shampoo bottle – Shampoo is actually a mild detergent, handy for washing your hair, of course, but also for washing your clothes.
- Travel alarm clock – Don’t depend on wake-up calls or a hotel clock to keep you from an important meeting time.
- Small flashlight – You never know when a flashlight will come in handy. Even five-star hotels have been known to lose power at times. Invaluable for snake spotting at night in the woods!
- Zippered plastic bags – These are so handy for storing a number of things: snacks, dirty clothes, wet clothes, small items that would get “lost” in your bag, like pens, tape, and your expandable clothesline and clothespins!
- Guidebook – There are many great guidebooks that range from guides for students on a shoestring budget to guides on shopping for fine antiques in Italy. Take advantage of available research to obtain general background knowledge of your destination.
- Backpack – Backpacks are versatile, easy to carry, and have enough style variations to appeal to all ages and sexes. They hold a lot of your essential items!
- Packing cubes – Packing cubes are zippered nylon bags that are great for organizing your packed items. You can squeeze the air out of the packed cubes, conserving space in your bag.
- Bubble wrap and tape – Keep a few feet of small-sized bubble wrap in your bag for wrapping breakable souvenirs you pick up along the way.
Avoiding Wrinkle Woes
It is discouraging to arrive at your destination with a suitcase full of wrinkled clothing. You want to look nice while traveling, but not if it means spending your vacation ironing. Cleaning services away from home can be very costly. Here is an excellent method of packing that will almost guarantee that your clothing arrives at your destination in good condition.
Steps in Packing a Suitcase
- Decide what items to take.
- Lay them out on a bed.
- Arrange them in piles (socks, underwear, toiletries, shirts, ties, slacks, skirts, etc.).
- Remove half of the items – you don’t need all that!
- Put small items, such as socks and underwear, in packing cubes (see p.26 of our Spring catalog).
- Begin at the bottom of the suitcase with a folded cleaner’s plastic bag.
- Fold one of the larger items carefully; place it in the suitcase, and then top with another folded cleaner’s bag.
- Continue layering until the larger items are packed, ending with a plastic bag.
- Tuck the smaller items into the side edges of the suitcase.
- Walk around the block with the packed suitcase.
- Is the suitcase too heavy for you to carry fairly easily? If so, remove half of the items.
- Unpack as soon as you arrive, then shake out the clothes.