If Suitcases Could Talk
If suitcases could talk, they would tell you the best ways to pack for your vacation. If you pack your bags properly, packing is easier, more efficient, and unpacking will be a breeze.
Split up your valuable items. It is foolish to carry all of your money, jewelry, or important documents in one place. Always carry a bit of money on your person, that is, in your pocket, sock, or other clothing item. This is for emergencies like getting stuck in a hurricane, or being mugged of your wallet or purse. Pack some valuables in each bag, so that if a bag is lost or stolen, you are not stuck.
Before leaving on your trip, take a few minutes to scan all of your important documents. Send them to your own email address, as well to a friend’s email address. Just make sure you completely trust your friend before doing it! Important documents includes your birth certificate, national ID card, drivers license, social security card, and passport. It doesn’t hurt to include airline and hotel reservation information as well.
If you are traveling through an airport in the United States, make sure that you use small, travel-size bottles to store toiletries. This is a good idea in any country, to save space, but in the U.S. it is mandatory unless you want to give that nice TSA agent a full bottle of Pantene shampoo to take home with her.
Plastic bags are your friend. If airport security has a question about the contents of your suitcase, using see-through plastic bags helps you get through security checkpoints easily. It is also nice for you to be able to quickly find what you are looking for, especially after a long flight.
Plastic bags are also good for packing your clothing. You can get space bags, which you can compress to make more space in your suitcase. If you pack coordinated outfits, you can put each outfit into a space bag, making it easy to choose what to wear, and there will be less mess since you do not need to rifle through your bag looking for matching shorts or socks.
Cardboard makes an excellent suitcase divider. There is no need to purchase expensive dividers for your suitcase. Your suitcase simply asks that the cardboard you use for dividers is clean and free of odor.
Pack your shoes individually in Ziplock bags. The wisdom of this will become clear once you have waded through some mud in an unexpected rain storm, right before you have to pack your shoes back in the suitcase to go home. You will want to free the shoes from the bag as soon as you get home, as leaving moist shoes in a plastic bag any longer than necessary is not a good idea.
Going on a trip is usually fun, but packing can be a nightmare. Following these packing tips will not only make your suitcase happy, it will help your travel experience go more smoothly and your unpacking experience less unpleasant.