‘Seasoned’ traveller Dina Toki-O shares tips for packing your suitcase, the smart way.
I’m grateful to say that I’m able to travel at least once a year to my second home – Egypt.
Once that ticket’s been booked, the excitement usually overwhelms me for one whole night. It’s the kind of excitement where I can’t sleep, eat (okay, that’s a lie; nothing stops me from eating) or even sit still, because I just want to go now!
Only the next morning will it hit me: a sense of dread, like a heavy feeling in my chest, weighing me down and worrying me about the trip.
What could it be? You’re all probably thinking of something a lot deeper than it actually is, but the shallow truth is – it’s the packing that fills me with dread.
Yes, I hate packing my suitcase for a trip. I absolutely despise it, to the point of frustrated sobbing every time!
I don’t know what it is, but when you’re travelling to a country that is like a second home, and one in which your family members reside, you naturally have a whole lot to pack into your suitcase. Don’t ask why because I honestly couldn’t tell you. If you’re a ‘back-home’ traveller, maybe you can relate to this.
Over the past few trips, I have been able to come up with quite an effective routine that has resulted in lowering my stress levels a tad. This routine has developed over time, with training from the Mother of course (because mothers are pros at everything, no lie).
So, the first tip: Call up the airline you’re travelling with and check your luggage allowance. When I travel to Egypt, it’s usually about 23kg, which sounds like a lot but when your suitcase is filled with gifts and pointless foods, random medicines, two pairs of size 11 sneakers – all of which aren’t for you – then it really isn’t that much!
Some airlines, however, have begun allowing ‘double baggage’, so for example, Egypt Air allows up to 46kg baggage allowance per person altogether, which is plenty for me! But you’ll be surprised – most Egyptian families struggle at keeping even within this limit. Oh, and of course, use a big suitcase (or suitcases), seriously.
Tip number two: Before you start packing, try to come up with your holiday outfits beforehand and lay them out; from shoes to accessories, next to each other. That way you’re less likely to bring extra bits and bobs that you probably won’t end up wearing! If you’re only going away for ten days, then you really don’t need to come up with more than seven outfits. For the extra three days, you can mix and match from the outfits you’ve already planned!
Tip number three: When choosing suitable footwear, be realistic. I know how hard it is for us ladies to come to the ultimate decision of how many shoesies to bring! Most of the time though, I only ever end up wearing two pairs: my sandals and dolly shoes. Of course, your options will rely heavily on what kind of holiday you’re going on. Be careful not to make the mistake of bringing eight pairs of shoes with you (like I have)! Shoes are heavy and bulky, so try to find universal styles that can go with most any outfit.
Tip number four: When placing your items into your suitcase, do it wisely, and in the most economic, space-saving way possible. Put bags into bags, and put socks into those bags, then put accessories into the socks of those bags. Put shoes in shoes and so on. When it comes to packing your actual garments, I find that rolling them up into tight little sausage-like shapes is very effective. I am unable to describe it well, but the pictures here can demonstrate.
This saves so much space, and when you arrive at your destination, it will ensure that nothing bursts out at you, making a huge mess on the hotel floor, once you open up your stuffed suitcase!
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I hope these little tips ease your mind into a state of comfort. Rest easy knowing that each outfit is already sorted and packed together so that when you’re on your trip, all you have to do is get dressed and not worry about putting outfits together – especially in places with unbearable heat (because nothing is worse than trying to get ready in hot weather!).
Also, you won’t have to fret about having to tidy your suitcase over and over again, and not having enough space to bring back your holiday shopping – which I bet there’ll be plenty of!