April 15, 2013

Pack Like a Pro

Last week I attended a local travel professionals meeting, which included a presentation on how to pack for a trip.  Though everyone in the room was a seasoned professional, one of our associates has packing down to a science, and we all took away some good tips.

Here are my notes on the tips I found most helpful:

The first thing I noticed was a brightly colored, wide, elastic sleeve, called a luggage hugger, around her roller bag.  This served two purposes:  luggage identification, and a backup to the zipper, in case it broke during travel.
She recommended vacuum bags to maximize storage, but pointed out to get the ones where you roll the bag, not vacuum it out, as you probably won’t have access to a vacuum at your destination, or a vacuum with the proper hose attachment.

Packing cubes can turn your suitcase into a “chest of drawers.” Use separate ones for shirts, pants, undergarments, toiletries, first aid supplies, and then you’ll never hunt for items again. These are especially good for trips where you are moving from hotel to hotel frequently. I am terrible about throwing all our clothes haphazardly into our suitcases when changing hotels, and then having to dig through them to find what I need. So I intend to invest in a set for our upcoming trip to Alaska, which is going to involve a lot of moving around.

For cruising, or other trips where you only have to unpack & repack once, a rolling garment bag is ideal because it can hold suits and dresses without wrinkling them.

Soft sided duffel bags are good for destinations like Africa where you have to cram bags into small planes.

Clothes wrinkle when they slide in suitcases, so don’t pack them in plastic dry cleaning bags.  Eagle Creek has a great packing system to help fold clothes neatly & compactly, and keep them from wrinkling.  
If traveling by train, a cable lock is handy for securing larger luggage which has to be stored in racks away from your seats.
And both of us never go anywhere without our travel power cord, as hotel rooms never have enough outlets for all our phones & electronics.  Note that you can't just take any power strip from home when traveling internationally, you need to buy one that is dual-voltage.  Mine has three regular outlets and 1 USB outlet.  For domestic travel I also have a nightlight with 3 outlets.
Here are websites where you can purchase travel clothing and accessories:

Luggage & Accessories: Magellans and Eagle Creek

Clothing: TravelSmith

Travel size products including toiletries, medications, food, and more:  Minimus

While I can't pack your bags for you, I can help you design the vacation of your dreams, and advise you on what to take along.  Just contact me at suzette@family-treks.com!