Travel 101

What to pack!?

“Man, you are a good packer” is what a friend told me on one of our trips.  I hadn’t really thought about it before. I have read many articles on packing tips in the past and always check out the weather patterns before I leave, but didn’t think of myself as “a good packer”!!

I have travelled with rolling bags, with backpacks, with carry on only and with checked luggage.  So far no mishaps or missing luggage. I have had the notices in my luggage that they have been searched, but nothing has ever gone missing. I have read about other people’s travels and their stories of missing items.  

Here’s maybe why I have never lost anything while inside the airport.

  1. I carry on all electronic items, my camera, my laptop, my phones. I only take what I really need on the trip.  
  2. I carry on my “expensive” clothing.  Not that I own a lot, but if you would be upset if it was to go missing, either don’t pack it or don’t check it.
  3. I don’t bring expensive jewelry with me when I travel out of North America or Europe… even then it would only be my engagement and wedding rings.  I would be horrified to come out of the ocean or pool and be minus my rings. It is just not worth it to me!

A fine example of what NOT to bring! Like all cats, ours likes to participate in all activities in the most unproductive ways!

I have become a big fan of packing cubes and rolling my clothing.  I pack enough for about 5 days, even on long trips. Yes, it is harder when you visit a climate where the temperature changes dramatically throughout the day, but it can be done!  I ensure that I have laundry soap with me and that my clothing is mostly light materials that will dry overnight or within two nights tops. I also recommend that you pay attention when you unpack.  Did you wear everything? What didn’t you wear and why? Did you pack the item because you like it and might wear it? Did it coordinate with the other items you packed or was it a last minute toss in?  I am a big fan of the black dress that can be paired with the scarf you wore at the beach that day or the jean jacket that you also need for cooler days/nights. I create my outfits when I pack and ensure that everything can mix and match and that scarves can be used for several purposes.

I have a couple of pack towels that I love that take up minimal room in my bag.  I also pack my own travel-sized toiletries. I am picky when it comes to my conditioner and don’t enjoy looking like a frizz ball in selfies!!

I am not a big shopper while I travel.  I like to bring home items that are special to the area and that I can’t purchase online.  I have also been caught price checking online while visiting an “outlet store” as the product was familiar to me, and it WAS the same price online. Why use up your vacation budget and valuable suitcase space for items that you can get at home??

I always try to leave room (either weight room or space usage) to bring home the hotel toiletries to donate to a local shelter.  It is a small ripple in the big pool of society.

I also pack a compressible shopping bag.  Many countries don’t provide you with a shopping bag and to be honest it is nice when visiting busy markets that everyone doesn’t see who you have been shopping from and what you purchased.  Bartering is not something that I am completely comfortable with, and the privacy of my own shopping bag relieves me of some guilt when I was able to make a deal with someone else!

I hope that you have a little more guidance when packing for your next trip.  I welcome any comments and suggestions that you may have to share as well.


  • Ryan Pickering

    Good tips, heres one I like: when I go backpacking I will sometimes bring an old towel on its last limbs or socks and undershirts that have a hole and should soon be tossed. Once I wear the clothes and I’m going to pack up for the haul home I burn the clothes to make my hike/paddle out easier. 😀