KEEP ROLLIN’ ROLLIN’ ROLLIN’
Gone are the days of folding your clothes when packing, it’s all about the roll. Advantages are – they’re less likely to crease and tightly rolled clothing takes up less space in your case (or backpack).
I’M DEFINITELY A LIST KINDA GUY
Make a list of everything you need (and want) to pack. Start it a good month in advance, adding to it as things pop into your head. It’s a great way to ensure you don’t forget things and have time to purchase necessities in advance.
THE PRACTICE PACK WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE
It’s becoming apparent that I like to be organised. And even that would be an understatement. A good two weeks in advance, I lay my backpack out in the lounge and slowly surround it with everything I want to pack. Over the days that follow I cull and add, cull and add.
THE DUAL-PURPOSE GARMENT
With limited space and unfamiliar climates, dual-purpose garments have never been more important. Pants that zip-off at the knees, doubling as shorts. Sarongs can be used as a skirt, headscarf, a wrap when it’s cold, a sack to carry things and even a light blanket when on a long bus journey.
Try to stick with lightweight clothing. You can layer for warmth, and strip back to cool off. Heavy jumpers are only ever useful in cooler climates; they’re bulky and useless when the weather warms up. Steer clear.
HE’S A LIGHTWEIGHT
When you consider the average weight limit for checked luggage is 20kg, and the deadweight of a standard suitcase is (anywhere up from) 5kg – investing in a lightweight suitcase is a no brainer.
Take the Antler Aire, the large size weighing in at 2.7kg, the case leaves you with valuable weight allowance that would otherwise be lost. Which in turn equates to more shopping abroad, and less fines at the airport for exceeding limits.
EXCEEDING WEIGHT LIMITS, IT’S A KILLER
Get familiar with airline weight limits before you fly. Many carriers (particularly budget) charge anywhere from $25 per kilogram you’re over.
KEEP YOUR VALUABLES AWAY FROM CHECKED BAGGAGE
Checked bags (and contents) go missing all the time. If you cant imagine your life without it, pack it in your carry-on.
DOUBLE UP ON TAGS, THEY’RE EASILY PARTED
Attach two identification tags to your luggage, as it’s not uncommon to lose them in transit
LOCK THAT BAG
Protect your luggage. Stop foreign things from going in, and your personal belongings going out.
And remember – it’s a requirement to use TSA recognised locks when travelling in the US. They enable officers to inspect your luggage; otherwise they will simply cut off the padlock you’ve chosen to use.
MAKE YOUR LUGGAGE UNIQUE
For anyone that has ever watched a baggage carousel go around (yes, that would be all of you), you would know that most people tend to buy luggage in standard sizes and colours (black, black and black).
What I am saying is – your luggage isn’t unique, so make it stand out for easy spotting (and stop others leaving with your belongings) by either tying a colourful ribbon (or equivalent) to your bag or buying a colour that is different from the norm. Stylish luggage comes in all kinds of shades these days, so be a little bit different!
A couple of years ago I had a standard navy backpack flying into Kathmandu International Airport in Nepal. The problem was, so did about 4 other Australians who came in on the same flight…
A guy from Melbourne boarded a taxi, with my pack, completely oblivious.
DON’T PANIC, THAT’S WHY YOU HAVE A MASTERCARD
Forgot to pack your swimmers? Didn’t plan for quite so much rain (although you were flying to Ireland, what did you expect)? DON’T PANIC! You can simply buy as you need, most countries do sell versions of everything we have here in Australia.
REUSABLE DRINK BOTTLE, I DON’T GET IT
Ok, so you pack that fancy aluminium drink bottle. You then purchase bottled water (as its safer to avoid drinking from the tap when travelling) to fill up your fancy new aluminium bottle, before disposing of the plastic drink bottle you just purchased?
Aluminium bottles take up space and are quite frankly, a waste of time, unless you’re…
- Hiking and plan on filling up from natural springs
- Travelling with a group of people whom you can buy a large 5L container of water with, and split it amongst all of your fancy aluminium bottles. Reducing your environmental footprint.
- Based somewhere for several days, making it practical to purchase said 5L tank for daily refills. Because don’t kid yourself – you’re not going to cart five litres of water around with you when you’re on the move.
PACK YOUR LIFE INTO CUBES
Packing cubes are a neat way of dividing personal items into groups, making it easier to locate things as you need them.
AVOID WHITE AND LIGHT SHADES
When travelling for long periods (particularly backpacking) avoid colours that stain easy. More than likely you will be hand washing clothing items along the way, so nothing ever gets the thorough clean it requires.
CO-ORDINATE CLOTHES AND ACCESSORIES
Be sensible when selecting a colour palette, cross compatible shades will ensure your wardrobe is flexible and easily matched. You’re packing light, so be practical.
MULTIPLE CASH CARDS
Have access to multiple cards; keep a couple in your wallet and in the bottom of your luggage. Because once you’re in the middle on Nicaragua, getting your home bank to reissue and send you a new card is almost impossible. Plan for the worst!
Growing up my father taught me to keep an envelope of cash, hidden in the lining of my backpack, in the case of an emergency.
U.S. dollars are fairly universal, and a few hundred is all you need.
And would you believe, it once came in handy. After my wallet was stolen and spare card sucked up by an ATM, that cash was a blessing.
All other times I have spent it on leather goods en route home…
MICRO FIBRE TOWELS
Many hostels charge for use of towels, so pack a quick drying micro fibre bath towel. You can also use them any time you’re near water (for both personal hygiene purposes and / or recreational)
PACK THAT LIFE SAVING TREAT
Look – if I hadn’t thrown that packet of Tim Tams into my pack I’m not sure what would have happened at the four-month mark of my overland journey across Africa. I believe the same can be said for Vegemite, which I find revolting.
All backpackers listen up. Silk liners are a necessity. They roll up small and can be used in any questionable hostel / hotel across the globe. Even on overnight trains in lieu of a sleeping bag. The will protect you from bed bugs, bodily fluids and other undesirable things that have come in contact with those sheets you’re sleeping between.