By Thomas Panos
Here at Omega Travel we get an endless stream of comments from grateful clients thanking us for creating unforgettable memories. But our travel expertise goes further than hand-crafted itineraries. Way further. How to pack for travel being an always-relevant example. So, here are the Omega team’s top 10 “rules” to help make your travel organized, practical, and less burdensome:
1. Start with a packing list
Stop putting it off. Start your packing process days, maybe even weeks ahead of your departure date. (Remember last time when you suddenly remembered what you had forgotten? Disappointing, right?) A packing list guarantees you will have everything you wanted to bring on vacation. Always.
2. Roll it to bring it.
Maybe mama would disapprove, but then, she never traveled with today’s smaller bags, did she? Tightly rolled clothes take up way less space than folded ones. Plus, they’re less prone to getting deep wrinkles from fold creases.
3. Check your airline’s baggage-fee policy
You make the mortal assumption that you know your airline’s baggage policies at your own financial peril. Get smart on the nuanced differences between domestic, international and U.S. carrier policies. It could save you a bundle.
4. The TSA’s 3-1-1 rule applies to YOU, too
Large bottles of water, shampoo, contact lens solution and other items are going to get confiscated 100% guaranteed, no exceptions. To see what falls under permissible and non-permissible – because it can sometimes be confusing – check here
Be sensible and save yourself money and time – get familiar with the agency’s rules:
3: 3.4 oz (100 mL) bottle or less for all liquids, gels, and aerosols; placed in a
1: 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag to hold all small bottles; and
1: 1 bag per passenger placed in a screening bin.
5. Think carefully about your carry-on ‘personal item’
Nearly all airlines allow travelers one carry-on bag – and one personal item onboard. Like a backpack, computer bag, purse, etc. Think carefully about what this should be, because not only can you create more room to pack additional items into your personal item, you’ll also have arm’s length access to what you will need while on board.
6. Why pay when you can wash your clothes
Hotel and cruise ship laundry services are notorious rip-offs. And often it’s a hassle to hunt down neighbourhood laundries. And even then, a certain degree of trust needs to be factored in. So if you’re intending to wash and wear a handful of garments (which can also help avoid overpacking), you can fall back on the tried and trusted hand wash in sinks and hang to dry. To make sure this goes smoothly pack in your own sink-stopper, a portable laundry line and suction cups – and of course a travel-size laundry detergent pack.
7. Aha! I can wear these to the gym AND for out and about…
When packing think about what clothing items may be able to have a dual purpose. If it’s two-in-one, it’s one less thing to pack. There are lots of interesting (and clever) ways to make duplicate use of clothes – and other items. (See here).
8. One word: Layer
Wear layers AND pack in layers. When packing, layer for warm and cold, because you never know. This way you’ll be comfortable no matter the climate. Then, try to pack in neat layers for easy screening. The TSA’s guideline: “Pack items in layers (shoes one layer, clothes one layer, electronics one layer, etc.) so that the security agent screening your bag can get a clear picture of what’s inside. The faster the TSA agent can screen your contents the faster you’ll get through the security line.”
9. Keep valuable items with you at all times!
NEVER check luggage that contains valuable and essential belongings. It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway): your passport, other proof of identification, money, credit cards, jewelry, expensive electronics – and sentimental cannot-be-replaced valuables, should always make it onto the plane with you. Or picture this scenario: your bag doesn’t make it onto the destination airport baggage carousel…oops! There goes the Rolex.
10. Packing aids – your best travel friend
Don’t hesitate to achieve your packing goals – use aids designed specifically to compress your travel wardrobe without compromising the neatness and appearance of your clothes on the other side. These incredible space saving ideas, like travel sacs and cubes, take space-saving efficiency to a new height.