If you’ve done a good job of selecting what to take, the task of actually packing it is mostly a straightforward one. Nonetheless, here are a few ideas that you might want to consider… Everyone has their own secret technique when it comes to folding shirts, but in the end, it doesn’t matter what a T-shirt or sweater looks like once it’s sitting in a drawer. The technique you use to fold your garments isn’t so important. Some prefer to fold their sweaters in half before folding the sleeves in; others prefer to start by folding the sleeves and then folding the sweater in half. Either way doesn’t make much of a difference. What is important is that your garment must be flat and wrinkle-free before you start folding it, and the fabric must remain nicely spread out throughout the folding process. By doing so, you’ll keep your garments free of creases and will therefore get to skip out on ironing before wearing them. Where shape is concerned, some prefer to fold their garments in a perfect square while others prefer a rectangular shape. Just keep in mind that a rectangular fold will help you maximize deeper storage spaces while a square fold is more practical for spaces with minimal depth.
If you’re packing a pair of shoes (in addition to those you’re wearing), consider the use of shoe bags: lightweight, inexpensive, drawstring bags designed to keep any residue of Parisian streets away from the rest of your belongings. Shoes are perhaps the most difficult items to pack, given their typical weight, bulk, and awkward shape. Minimize the number you take, and try to wear (rather than pack) the bulkiest pair when reasonable. It is usually best to pack a pair of shoes tightly together, soles out, with the heels at opposite ends. Also, don’t neglect the spaces inside your packed shoes; they’re great for fragile items, or anything else that will fit, for that matter. If you have an extremely compatible travelling partner, you might consider packing half of each person’s things in the other’s bag. That way, in case of a bag being lost (much less likely for the carryon traveller), each of you will still have half of his/her stuff. This method may have the downside of providing something in the way of a disincentive to pack minimally, however! Whether or not you do buddy packing, it should be obvious that when two or more travel together, many of the packing list items (alarm clock, guidebooks, repair supplies, etc.) need not be replicated in multiple bags!
Recent U.S. Transportation Department figures report that the odds are about 1 in 150 that your bag on any given flight will be lost, damaged, or pilfered; this means an average of one or two disappointed passengers on every flight. In less developed countries, the odds get worse. And these problems are escalating. The Air Transport Users Council (AUC), the UK-based consumer watchdog for the airline industry, recently (17 July 2003) reported that baggage problems continue to increase more than any other category. There was a 44 percent increase in written complaints, with mishandled baggage at the top of the list (almost a quarter of the year’s total complaints related to lost luggage). Further, many travellers have rather naïve ideas about the compensation due them for such mishaps; the AUC’s helpful “Mishandled Baggage” overview offers illuminating reading in this regard.
We found in the course of our journey the convenience of having disencumbered ourselves, by laying aside whatever we could spare; for it is not to be imagined without experience, how… a little bulk will hinder, and a little weight will burden; or how often a man that has pleased himself at home with his own resolution, will, in the hour of darkness and fatigue, be content to leave behind him everything but himself.
Samuel Johnson, on packing for travel
If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light.
The biggest mistakes
… that tourists make? Packing too heavily, relying on outdated guidebooks, not wearing a money belt, leaving home with too many hotel reservations, and taking other people’s opinions too seriously.
Rick Steves, in
International Travel News
I try to carry on, so I always take as little as I possibly can…
Jane F. Garvey
14th Administrator of the FAA
On a long journey, even a straw weighs heavy.
To know what to leave out and what to put in; just where and just how, ah, that is to have been educated in the knowledge of simplicity.
Frank Lloyd Wright
I ain’t takin’ nothin’ that’ll slow down my travelin’…
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Mazalien, above us only sky….