“Just pack two outfits, and you’re good to go.”
“Pack extras in case you need them.”
“Make sure you take lots of underwear.”
Regardless of where you’re from, what your gender is, or how old you are, you’ve probably heard at least one of these quotes. Some people are of the mindset that you don’t need to pack much – it’s all about the essentials. Other people believe that you need to pack as much as possible, which can be true depending on your destination and your length of travel.
The truth is, it’s really dependant on where you’ve travelling to, but there are a few key things to remember when packing (regardless of where you’re going):
1 – Pack Extra… Underwear!
There’s absolutely one thing that’s always required – underwear. Lots of it. This includes socks and any other undergarments you wear. It’s not uncommon to go through tons of socks due to various weather conditions and unpredictable events. There’s not much else to say on this – it’s common sense!
2 – Pack ‘Light’ Layers… Lots of them!
It’s good to have options, but especially good when you’re travelling during the time of year when the weather varies. For example, in Spain, the weather can be scorching hot during the afternoon, but dip more than 10 degrees by nightfall. When you pack clothing that’s not too thick in density, you save space in your suitcase, and also allow yourself the ability to dress according to the time of day. So, take some cardigans, some t-shirts, some thin long-sleeved shirts, and keep it varied!
3 – Pack Something Nice… Always!
Although this one seems to be quite obvious, it can be surprising how often we forget to pack our best outfit. Even if you travel to an environment where it seems as though all you’ll be doing is hiking, you could also possibly have a formal evening where you need to wear a nice dress (or nice suit). It’s always good to expect the unexpected. Plus, having a beautiful outfit in your arsenal can be useful, and make you feel glamorous.
4 – Pack Flip Flops… Just in Case!
Unless you’re planning on staying with family wherever you travel to, having a pair of flip flops can be essential to your hygiene. At hostels, flip flops are especially important. This one may be my own fear of foreign germs, but sometimes, hostels just aren’t that clean. If you’re travelling to a hotel, the same can be true. In addition, should your destination have a pool, beach, or anything like that, flip flops then become a requirement. Therefore, pack some flip flops!
5 – Pack Adaptors/Converters… If Needed!
If you’re an American travelling to Italy, you’re going to need a power adaptor. If you’re a Spaniard travelling to Canada, you’re going to need an adaptor. If you’re a Malaysian travelling to Morocco, you’re going to need an adaptor. Unless you’re travelling to a place with the same type of power as your homeland, power adaptors can save you a lot of trouble. Always have one on hand if necessary.
While there are things to always keep in your suitcase, there are also some things you can forget about. Yes, there are some things that are unnecessary. Here are a few:
1 – Forget Your Hair Dryer… Maybe.
If you’re an American travelling to Canada, packing a hair dryer makes sense. Why? Well, we use the same kind of power, therefore your appliances won’t be damaged. However, a Canadian travelling to Thailand can forget that hair dryer. Hair dryers are actually one of those tricky things that can be dangerous if plugged through an adaptor/converter. Some people have even reported that their hair dryers have caught on fire due to weird electrical issues. So, if you’re travelling to a place where the power usage is different, just forget your hair dryer and use a local one, or take a hair straightener (if you need something to style your hair). Bonus: this saves tons of space in your luggage!
2 – Forget The 10 Sweaters… If It Won’t Be Too Cold.
Sometimes, I make the mistake of packing too many sweaters. Unless my destination is absolutely freezing, it’s not completely necessary to pack tons of sweaters. The reason for this is that light layering can solve this problem, as can scarves. Also, sweaters are bulky, meaning it gets harder to pack other essentials in your luggage. The best solution to the sweater problem is to take one sweater that’s there mainly for comfort (yes, your old hoodie falls under the ‘comfort’ category), and to take a couple of nicer ones. If your destination isn’t really cold, just take one comfort sweater and leave the rest behind.
3 – Forget Pants… Kind Of.
Pants are actually an essential, so don’t completely forget about pants. However, it isn’t really always important to pack more than two pairs of pants. Yes – you read that right, only two pairs of pants. Unless I’m travelling for business, I generally like to pack one pair of jeans and one pair of black pants (jeans, usually). Having said that, I also prefer wearing dresses to pants – when the weather permits it – so, I don’t see the need for several pairs of pantaloons.
Although it’s all up to you (yes, you can pack 10 pairs of pants if you want), I find these are generally good guidelines to follow when I pack. I also like to make sure I pack a pair of sunglasses, too, and to forget my several different pairs of shoes (one nice pair is enough!), but the rest is really all a variable and easily changeable.