Leaving on a jet plane? Make sure your bags are packed perfectly

Always worried about getting your packing right? Here’s how you can ace that suitcase before you take off on your next trip.
Pack 7
Love it or hate it, packing is part of the travel experience. Image: Shutterstock/Roman Samborskyi.

You’ve done the research, worked out an itinerary, completed all your bookings, found a sitter for your plants and are now looking forward to a satisfying holiday or business trip. But there’s one last hurdle before your travels start — packing all the things you will need on the trip. A few find this activity pleasurable. But for most, it’s a real chore. Here are our tips to make the process a tad easier for you…

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Be it a business trip or a leisure holiday, getting your packing right will give you the edge. Image: Shutterstock/LStockStudio

Fold or roll?

Half your life can go by before you realise that people pack their bags differently from you! Have you grown up a ‘folder’, who has mastered the art of neat stacks of freshly ironed clothes as we did?
Pro tip: The idea of rolling each one up individually may sound somewhat kooky to you, but we found that it’s a great way to prevent the clothes from getting creased and also to make the best use of space. And then there’s the middle path, which involves laying the folded clothes in a sideways stack, so you can see all of them at a glance when you open the bag.

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Get your packing on a roll! Image: Shutterstock/Chutima Chaochaiya.

Plan ahead

You already know whether you’re off on a work trip, a beach vacay, a hiking adventure, a city exploration, or a mix of many. Based on the nature of your journey, pack appropriate clothing, footwear, and accessories.
Pro tip: Make a list of what you’re going to wear according to your itinerary and pack the clothes in chronological order. If you’re using the folding method, start with the one you want to wear first right on top. If you’re folding or side stacking, it could go left to right or vice versa.

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Make a list and check it twice. Image: Shutterstock/hedgehog94.

Buy the gear

Use packing cubes to segregate different items. If they are in differing colours, it will help you pick out the clothes you need easily. Pouches are great ways to organise your toiletries, make-up, jewellery, etc. so you can access them easily while getting dressed in a hurry. These days you can also buy specialised bra containers so your underwires and other delicates travel in business class like you do. A pill caddy isn’t just for senior citizens. It can be quite handy if you need to take medicines while on the go.
Pro tip: Clean, recyclable garbage bags are very versatile. Bung in used clothes in one, muddy hiking shoes in another, spillable lotions in a third… You can even carry a giant-sized one to waterproof your backpack in case of rain.

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Pouches help to organise everything. Image: Shutterstock/Ancher.

Weigh it again, Sam

Not sure whether your check-in bag is within the permissible limit for your airline and not relishing the thought of paying through your nose for excess baggage? We suggest you keep all the densest, most solid objects that fit the parameters of carry-on luggage (no liquids in excess of 100 ml, no sprays or sharp-edged things, etc) packed in a light tote that you can easily remove and carry in case you have crossed the weight threshold.
Pro tip: A portable scale comes handy to check the weight of your bags so you aren’t surprised at the airport. Some luggage is now available with a built-in weight counter too.

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Electronic scales like these are very useful. Image: Shutterstock/Golub Oleksii.

Homeward bound

The return journey is often quite different from the onward one. You’ve replaced anticipation with warm memories. But also, all those vows to keep a neat bag went out of the window that time you wanted to soak in the last morning but had to check out of the hotel and had a car waiting. It’s tempting to just throw in everything haphazardly because you’re headed homeward anyway. But we advise some caution with packing like this as it may result in you leaving behind some important item because you didn’t make time to take stock. Sorting out what you’ve worn and what you haven’t will also make unpacking – that most cumbersome activity after a trip! – much easier.
Pro tip: A neat bag on the way home will keep the souvenirs and gifts you’ve purchased in good shape. Keep them separate from the used clothes, shoes, and socks for obvious reasons!

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Don’t be tempted to throw in the towel at the end of the trip! Image: Shutterstock/sirtravelalot.

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