You’ve got the job, booked the plane ticket and broken the news to mum and dad. There’s only one thing left on your to-do list – pack and, perhaps you’ve already discovered, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
If you’re wondering how to fit your life into a bag on your back, or the thought of choosing what to leave is keeping you up at night, you’re in the right place. Our quick and simple guide will have you packing like a pro in no time.
- Get the gear. Having the right backpack can make all the difference. From the length of your trip, and your need for outfit options, determine the smallest sized bag you can get away with. Bear in mind you’ll be hauling this, and all your things, on your back so think small and lightweight. 100L is a good choice if you’re bringing camping or sports equipment, 10L is for those single t-shirt travellers. Try 30L-70L for a manageable middle.
- Leave the kitchen sink. As much as you want it now, you don’t need the kitchen sink, those eighteen pairs of shoes or your desktop computer. Spread out everything you want to take on your bedroom floor and go through eliminating 20-30%. Anything with a ‘just in case’ or ‘what if’ label gets the boot immediately. It may seem cold now to leave your childhood teddy bear or ditch the care package from mum, but you’ll appreciate the lighter load when you’re running for the last train in Thailand, hiking with your bag through Peru or simply trying to fit it all into tiny over-bed storage in Prague.
- Consider some specialist items. Once you’ve got your bag, consider some optional extras. There are a few items you may not use at home but will come to love on the road.
- If you’re a reader, consider treating yourself to a kindle. Carrying one piece of lightweight tech beats lugging twelve books around the world with you and you’ll be thankful for some entertainment on those long bus rides or afternoons on the beach.
- For effortless showering, swimming and general getting wet consider investing in a quick-dry towel. They’re small, lightweight and, the clue’s in the name, dry impressively quick ready to be thrown back into your bag when it’s time to move.
- Research packing cubes. These individual bags help to keep everything divided and organised in your bag and reduce the risk of bag explosion (the technical term for having to pull everything out of your bag, flooding the hostel floor with your belongings, just to find that one pair of socks at the very bottom)
- Mum moment: remember to bring any medication you may not being able to get at your destination. Speak to your doctor about getting a 6 month or year’s supply.
Jetsetter Jobs Top Tips for Packing
- At home. If you’re flying with multiple airlines be sure to look up the weight allowance for each company. These could vary quite a bit and the charges for going over them are different wherever you go. Once you’ve know the maximum weight you can take, double check you’re not over the limit before you leave home. Dig out those bathroom scales and always err on the side of caution to avoid a hefty fine.
- At the airport. Once you’ve made it to the airport, play the game. Wear your heaviest, bulkiest items to reduce the weight of your bag. Opt for hiking boots over flip flops, coat over tank top, you can always strip down once you’re on the plane. Ensure your carry-on not only contains all your plane must-haves (entertainment and snacks) but any irreplaceable, expensive or breakable items you wouldn’t trust in the cargo hold. That means medication, electricals and those fancy Ray-Bans.
- On the road. One of the simplest ways to reduce the amount of stuff going into your backpack is to keep in mind you can buy and wash on the go. You don’t need to take 6 months’ worth of toiletries or a fresh outfit for each day. Seek out supermarkets and laundrettes on the way to stock up and clean down. If need be, most accommodation options have a sink and running water for a few hand washes (pack some travel wash or a small container of washing powder for those moments).