Tips to Travel: Let’s Pack


Not one of my least favorite things, but not something I’m the best at either.  I always pack way to much and have a seriously heavy bag.   “But I don’t know what I’ll want!” I always say.  Or I’m traveling by car and can throw things in till the very last minute.  

Now I’m off on my second ever international trip and I figured it was time to talk about my travel bag and packing technique. 

I’m writing this from the Heathrow London airport, but let’s look back to packing for my Bali trip.

Well, this time it was different.  I get one carry on bag and I get to be in Indonesia for 10 days.

Pack light. Pack smart.

That’s the focus here today.  (Have I mentioned this is my first trip out of the country?  There are things to pack that I didn’t even think about at first, thank goodness for guide books!)

Well, where to begin.  Let’s start with the bag.  I’ve been saying this whole time I don’t want to be that little white girl tourist with my neon pink and orange Vera Bradly cotton duffle… so getting a new piece of travel luggage was essential.  I didn’t want wheels so backpack it was.  I talked to friends who travel more then I about brands and did my own online research into bags as well as retailers- to make the most informed, practical, and economical decision.  I settled on Osprey brand, the Porter series.  It’s a backpack that opens and packs like a suitcase (not rummaging to the bottom for things) and the straps can be tucked into a pocket so it turns into a duffle.  There are external pockets for easy access to travel essentials and electronics.  It’s water resistant and “Carry-On” approved size- for most major airlines- so basically everything I wanted in a bag.

What’s going in this fabulous thing?  Well packed clothes and toiletries specific to this trip.  As it’s December- it’s cold in New York and, ummhmm, Bali is in the tropics… so the seasonal clothing is very different.  I’m planning on purchasing a fair amount of things there- harem pants, sarongs, dresses- but some things- shoes, undergarments, yoga cloths- will be coming along from day one.  Toothbrush, toothpast, mouth wash, lotion, the works will all be neatly packed in my airline approved clear quart size bag.  I’m exploring something new for this trip- bar shampoo- to cut back on things that are liquids and save room, as well as bar soap.

I’ve been torn between using Packing Cubes or Vac-Pack bags to neatly fold and store clothes during this trip, or just kinda throwing stuff in and hoping for the best.  … Ok, no I wouldn’t do that, but is it worth it?  Packing Cubes- they come in different sizes and neatly hold your clothes- which can be sorted by style and size.  The cubes usually fit neatly together in the bottom of your bag and can be stacked with ease.  Vac-Pack bags are a serious space saver.  Even if you think you are packing and folding tightly- get clothes in one of these things and roll or “vac” out all that extra air- and it’s like you have nothing in your bag.  They can lay flat in the bottom of a bag and a zip-lock like quick release makes it easy to access your things.

I guess we shall see and I’ll be telling ya’ll about it when I decided!

(Ultimately I went with one Vac-Pack bag and one storage cube. Everything else just neatly folded)

Let’s talk electronics and chargers for a hot second.  No, computer will not be making the trip, iPad is a maybe.  Phone, does anyone travel anywhere without one anymore?  For all devices, remember your charger and cords!  Not all electrical plugs are the same- so an international charging converter is a MUST.  

I took a page out of Savannah’s play both here, and got a cute but inexpensive little bag for all my chords and chargers.  This way they can all be in one place and easy to get to.    In general I like to separate things into their own little bag, then nothing is just loose in the large compartment of my main bag.

Guide books and maps will be coming along, of course, as well as a journal.  

The more I’ve begun to travel, the easier it has become to pack appropriately and neatly.  I’m off to Scotland for 3 days, so I’ve packed much lighter then Bali but I’m still ready for adventure.
I’ll post Live From Edinburgh once I’m there!



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