One of the worst parts of a trip is packing! My wife once did a 10 day trip to Italy and packed everything she needed in one carry-on. She says it can be done by wearing all black, mixing and matching pants and tops, and taking “comfortable” shoes. I, on the other hand, cannot do that. I recommend preparing a “packing list” well in advance of your trip and put everything you can think of on that list. Next, go over that list and remove items that you really don’t need or can purchase when you get to your destination. Try to pack dark-colored clothing as they will look better when you spill coffee or spaghetti sauce on them!
With baggage fees on the rise you might need to learn to “pack light” and reduce the number of bags you take. These fees will continue up, not down!
Air is your worst enemy when packing! It takes up space and causes wrinkles. Look for compression bags. They allow you to compress excess air out of a stack of shirts or slacks, thus taking up less space in your bag and, as an added benefit, causes the clothing to not “slide around” which causes wrinkling. To find compression bags and other valuable travel packing items, visit Magellan’s Travel Supplies below.
A few packing tips:
- Don’t pack everything you need! You can buy toothpaste and other related items when you arrive.
- A lot of the world is poorly heated and insulated, never be wet or cold. pack what you need to stay dry and be warm. if you get sick because you are cold/wet you may have limited means of recovering.
- Rule of thumb: Leave the valuables at home! If you pack it, be prepared to lose it, have it destroyed, broken, or stolen. Remember, you are taking the trip for the trip’s sake.
- Pack light. Lay out everything you want to take, then pack half of it, or less!
You’re far from home, and something goes wrong back at the house. Maybe you hear about it; maybe it’s left for the folks back home to deal with. In either case, this list will make it easier on everyone.
1. Leave a house-key with someone you trust
You might want to leave a couple, one with a nearby neighbor, another with a family member
If you have an alarm system on your home, make sure the key-holder knows how to disarm it
2. Have someone check your house once-a-day
This will also ease your “did I leave a stove burner on?” anxiety
A trusted house-sitter is also a good option, especially for pet-owners
3. Make sure the folks back home have your itinerary
Sounds like a “no brainer” but many people forget this; be sure to include phone numbers and website info
4. Leave insurance info and list of repair companies with key-holder
If the worst happens, better to have a company you trust work on any necessary repairs
Include plumbers, heating and electrical firms and appliance repair companies
5. Make sure valuables/important papers left at home are safe-guarded
Many find peace-of-mind with a floor safe; make sure it’s fire-proof
Note that fire-proof safes are not necessarily water-proof; make sure important papers are first placed in a Zip-Loc type bag
If you don’t have a floor safe, use a safety-deposit box at your local bank
6. Travelers must be phone-accessible
If you’re going out of the country, make sure you have cell phone coverage of the area you’ll be visiting (or rent a cell there); make sure the right people have your number — and you have theirs
If you’re on a cruise, see if it is accessible by cell phone; some cruises have no cell service, and ship-to-shore calls can run $10 per minute
If calling a ship, be sure you know your party’s cabin number; the extra minutes it takes an operator to look that up can really add to your bill
7. Travelers should have an “exit strategy” in case of emergency
Plan ahead: if you’re on a cruise, can you arrange a helicopter exit if necessary? Ask before you go
Know your own itinerary, and where the nearest airport is at every stop
Call your credit card companies and tell them the places and dates you will be away and using your card. I’ve heard of instances when card companies think someone is fraudulently using a card and disrupts service to the actual user when on vacation and it’s not always easy to get it reinstated when you’re at the table trying to pay for dinner in a foreign country.
To be safe, turn off the house water supply.
Be sure to check your bills’ due dates and pre-pay any credit cards so as to not incur late charges while you are away.
Cancel newspapers and mail delivery for the time you are away.
Unplug all electronics.
Turn off water heaters. Why keep the water hot while you are gone? Turn off A/C. Use timers to turn on & off lights in living room and bedroom.
Watch this video for great packing tips.