Packing is pivotal. Forget an essential item and you're left disappointed and scrambling to find the nearest store in your destination. Pack too much and you end up disorganized, burdened with heavy bags, and hemorrhaging money to pay for pricey airline baggage fees. So we thought it best to revisit the most basic—and most useful—packing rules. Here are 10 fundamental packing strategies that every traveler should learn.
Our favorite (above-board) tip is to download a program such as NetStumbler, which goes above and beyond your computer's built-in Wi-Fi detector by locating "hidden" Wi-Fi networks your PC might have missed. If you're on a Bluetooth-enabled Mac, iStumbler will provide the same service. Smartphone users can get apps like JiWire's Free Wi-Fi Finder, whose directory tracks the exact location of nearly 150,000 free networks worldwide.
Buy Duplicates and Leave Them in Your Luggage: Once you take a few trips, you will see what you always need to travel with. Identify these items and buy one of each for your travel bag. Leave those items in the bag when you get home. A few items that never leave my travel bag include headphones, phone charger, lint roller, and all liquid toiletries.
Eagle Creek is an invitation to discover the wonders of humanity and our planet. From city parks to exotic destinations, we equip you with the durable and versatile gear to take you beyond your fears and outside your comfort zone. We believe the experience of the unknown inspires a deeper understanding of each other, a curiosity for the unfamiliar, and fresh perspectives on life. We know the further we travel, the closer we become to each other and to the planet we share.
A study from budget airline easyJet claims to pinpoint the perfect airplane seat: 7F. Their reasoning? It sells the best. But these results conflict with an earlier survey from Skyscanner that claimed 6A was the best according to a poll of travelers and a consideration of “lucky numbers.” Ticket sales and lucky numbers are great, but neither of these methods seems entirely sound to us. So which seat on the plane is the BEST, and how do you pick it? Check out this article for what flight attendants and experts have to say.
Space-saving compression bags like Space Bag let you pack up to double the amount of gear—no jumping, sitting or lying on suitcase required! Available at The Container Store and Walmart, these oversize plastic bags are equipped with one-way pressure valves along one edge that release excess air and keep it out. Compression bags work best for bulky items, such as sweaters, coats, down jackets, pillows, beach towels and even wet garments.
When I decided to see if it was possible to visit the Maldives on a budget, information was so sparse that I couldn’t even find a photo of the islands I’d decided to visit. Well, that trip was one of my highlights of the past seven years and I’m so glad I went, despite not being able to find any information online. And the advantage to that lack of information was getting to be the only tourist on an entire island — I had the whole beach to myself!
Step 2: Fill empty bottles with your favorite brands. Evelyn Hannon, creator of journeywoman.com, a travel-advice website, swears by Japonesque’s Gotta Go Weekend Travel Bag ($20, amazon.com). A mere four inches high by four inches wide, it’s stocked with eight clear containers for lotions, contact-lens solution, and the like. Fill them three-quarters full. “The storage department on a plane is not pressurized, so items filled all the way to the top will overflow,” says Bond, who learned that the hard way when a sample of Pepto-Bismol exploded all over her clothes.
Traveling in places where you don’t speak the language is surprisingly easy, but get ready to mime a lot. You can mime eating to ask someone if they’re serving food, mime sleeping to ask someone if there are any beds available in the hostel, and I even mimed that I needed to go to a train station by saying, “choo choo!” and drawing a picture of a train in my notepad for a taxi driver in Taiwan!
Hotels hate having empty rooms, so if you can, wait until the last minute to book your stay to get the best rates. On the other hand, if you need to cancel your hotel reservation last minute and want to avoid a cancellation fee, you can often manipulate a small loophole by rescheduling for a later date (which is usually free), and then calling and requesting a cancellation through another representative.
"Unless you're traveling super long haul, you don't need a $50 neck pillow or $300 noise canceling headphones. Bring some foam earplugs if you want to sleep on the plane, and roll up your jacket for a pillow. Same comfort for a lot less money," says Hester, a writer at Our Next Life early retirement blog, and veteran of "100+ flights a year and 80+ hotel nights."
You think you won’t forget anything, but you will. You won’t remember the name of that lovely girl from Oslo you hung out with for a day in Marrakech, you won’t remember the name of the hostel you loved in Beijing, you won’t remember the conversation you had with that dude in a pub in Sydney. Keep a journal to remember those small details because you’ll treasure them in a few years.
Decades ago, before the Internet, one of the standard tips for travelers visiting Europe went this way: If you find you need to rent a car after you arrive in Europe, don't pay the high local rates. Instead, call the rental-car company's U.S. office and rent at the much lower rate quoted to U.S. travelers. Surprisingly, this recommendation is still valid. Book your car rental from a U.S. website to pay about half the local quote.
Excellent advice about talking to locals. When you get to know the people who live there, it really makes for a wonderful experience. And you are so right, they have the best insider tips! We’re guilty of focusing only on photos at one point as well. When we started blogging as a career, we nearly lost ourselves in the work. We now always have to remind ourselves to have balance. It’s amazing to be able to capture a moment at our fingertips, but we feel it’s just as important to stop and take it all in. It’s easy to miss the moment when you’re looking through the lens. Thanks for sharing!
When planning your next outing, it’s always best to recheck what others have to say about the place or accommodation you plan to stay at. I’ve been lucky to find great places to stay at most of the time and only one that turned out to be a bit smaller than expected. It’s always important to look at red flags. Yes, you look at the usual area, distance from attractions and transport, reviews, ratings, verified accounts, host rules, and all that. But also check for the average number of ratings the host accommodation has had before. Say, if you had 5 ratings with an average of 4 stars, it’s definitely better than 1 rating with 5-star.
If you're going to be traveling routinely, it's worth buying duplicates of key items and leaving them in your travel bag, versus remembering to repack them after using them at home. For me, this is things like laptop and phone chargers, toothbrushes, and basic toiletries. I rarely forget these necessities since I have a travel set that's always in my suitcase or laptop bag.
This is all such great advice — thanks for sharing! My partner and I have been traveling full time for the past couple years, and we’ve found ourselves falling into these mistakes every now and again. We always take the time to reflect on each trip to pick out ways we can make our experience better (and the experience of people around us). You’re right about traveling with someone requiring compromise, and your advice to just relax every now and then couldn’t be better! Always being “on” can so easily prevent you from truly experiencing something. Thanks for this great post!
When it comes to travel and entertainment, my recommendation is that you bring your own. Your laptop is a media center, and with the addition of a small external drive and some light speakers (or great headphones) you can carry with you a huge collection of music, movies, and TV shows. So settle in, brew a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and fire up the latest episode of 30 Rock! This way, you also avoid hotel room pay-per-view movie charges.
1. Learn the basic road laws. Ride in the direction of traffic and use the bicycle lanes when available. California law says you must ride as close to the right side as possible, unless the road is too narrow to be shared—in which case you are allowed to “take the lane.” (Not all motorists understand this, though, so always take precaution in this situation.) The California Bicycle Coalition outlines all the bike laws to know before you ride.
Sure, you should have a rough plan for your trip, but don’t book everything in advance or you’ll likely feel too restricted and end up regretting it. Book a one-way ticket and your first few nights of accommodation — you’ll figure the rest out along the way. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds. If you’re in a tourist destination there’ll always be someone who’s willing to take your money by giving you a place to stay.
Get out of your comfort zone and make an effort to meet local people. This is easier said than done, especially if you're traveling with friends or a partner, but it will dramatically affect your travel experience. So many of us go to the all-inclusive resorts or backpacker hostels and never get a real taste for local culture, food, or traditions, and then come home and talk about what the "country" is like. Stretch your comfort zone, push your social boundaries, and travel deeper.
6. Recharge gadgets using USB ports. Almost all devices have some sort of USB connection cable through which they can be recharged. Rather than drag along a spaghetti of cables, I find I can get by with just one plug when I charge my gadgets using my PC’s USB ports. This comes in particularly handy in the many international hotels that think that electrical outlets are an extravagance.
"After going on international adventures and suffering food poisoning, sudden fever, cuts and scrapes, terrible bug bites, and other ailments — and then having to navigate a foreign pharmacy — I've learned to always pack a small medical kit. I keep a toiletry bag ready to go stocked with Band-aids, Neosporin, pain relievers, cold medicine, medicine for stomach trouble, itch relief ointment, antibiotics (you can ask your doctor for an emergency prescription before you travel), and ear plugs (life savers on long-haul flights and trains). And if you never have to use it, all the better!" — Karen Chen, Digital Producer
The idea behind private jet card membership programs is simple. The service provider can get an airplane ready in a few hours. In return, you pay a discounted fee – due to the private jet card – and can save a lot of time. The best private jet card program also includes additional services, including a concierge to handle all of your travel arrangements for you.
Whenever you travel, it’s a great strategy to put together a networking dinner. This lets you learn about your target audience and gain new leads. Already have a customer or two in the city you’re visiting or a connection in your network? Invite them, and ask them to make introductions to a few others. Otherwise, you can use cold outreach. Frame the meal as a chance to get to know other folks in the same industry. Exchange business cards and tell people what you do but don’t pitch. Pay for the entire meal if you have the budget. Your guests will feel obliged to help you out when you later ask if you might do business with their company.
Whereas reserving a premium, high-quality car can cost you an arm and a leg, if one of these vehicles is available when you go to pick up what you do reserve, you stand a chance at snagging one for a much lower price. Simply ask if one of these upgrades is available, and come ready to negotiate. (It helps here again to flash that smile and be nice). Travel expert Eric Rosen also recommends being savvy when it comes to paying for car insurance, as many credit card companies include coverage already. “In my case,” he writes, “3 of my credit card companies offer this little perk which saved me $200.”
Baggage allowance varies from airline to airline. Make sure you’re aware of your limits before you reach the airport. Some carriers will allow you to check in two bags, but not all, and the weight allowance can vary (see point 12). Make sure you understand the hand luggage allowance and avoid costly charges at the gate. You might also want to read our hand luggage guide.
I would prefer to book aisle seats on international flights, I really use the bathroom and I find it uncomfortable to ask other people to give me space if I´m on the window seat, plus I´m always tempted to go to my hand luggage in international flights to take out the book, or put it back, to take out some slippers or put it back… I´m such a mess hehe… so I really need the aisle seat…
“You can ‘de-materialize’ certain objects by replacing them with apps on you phone. The obvious example is the camera, but also think of the travel guide book, maps, the moleskine, books, magazines, etc. Also, if you are taking a long term trip, you can buy clothing from locals as you go with apps like Modabound (an Airbnb for clothing) and others.”
Our best example of this was whilst in Siem Reap in Cambodia. We were desperate to see the temples of Sambor Prei Kuk, but couldn’t find any tour companies who would take us there for less than $120. After joining the local Facebook group, I asked the question, and within an hour had received a dozen private messages. It took a bit of time to sort them all out, but all seemed legitimate, and after some more research we ended up getting a private driver for $80 from a small company who wouldn’t have shown up in many Google search results.
Pack light! Vegas loves to give stuff away and if you like to shop, buying a new suitcase can be pricey on the strip. So, bring an empty bag for your new stuff! Vegas in the summer is super hot- sometimes 120 degrees! You don't want sweat your clothes out before your important meeting, so dress light! Bring at least one outfit in case you get invited to dinner, a club, or VIP event as the club owners & restaurants don't allow you in if you are not dressed to impress.
For campers, hikers, kayakers and other adventure-bound travellers, packing for travel means more than tossing a toothbrush and change of clothing in a bag. To be prepared for rough terrain, unpredictable weather and small living quarters, you need to plan ahead. A light backpack with an internal frame is a good option for carrying essentials without weighing yourself down. Dual-purpose clothing that's both windproof and water-resistant can help you stay warm and dry, while taking up minimal storage space. Bandages, water bottles, flashlights, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a GPS may take up some luggage real estate, but you'll be happy you have them when and if you need them.
So many people will tell you not to travel with jeans, but if you wear jeans all the time at home, you’ll want to wear them while travelling, too. I didn’t start travelling with jeans until my second year of travel, and man, I missed them so much! They’re not *that* bulky so you really don’t need to worry about the extra space and weight. And in many cities in Europe, you’ll want to wear jeans to fit in with the locals — you don’t want to look like a grubby backpacker in Paris!
5. Consider a cycling event. Start by choosing an enticing ride and let that inspire your trip planning. On any given weekend, you’ll find dozens of cycling events throughout California. Want to tackle a century (100 miles) in wine country? Attend a mountain biking clinic? Check the event calendars on SoCalCycling.com, Raceplace.com, Active.com, or TourOfCalifornia.bikefor ideas.
By far the best way to enjoy maximum value in hotel accommodations and rental cars is to buy through one of the opaque agencies, where you either "bid" on a room or car or accept a price "blind" without knowing the hotel or rental company until after you make a nonrefundable purchase. The two biggest opaque agencies are Priceline (bid) and Hotwire (blind price), but several other OTAs now offer opaque options.
Keeping your suitcase organized with packing organizers means not only will you know exactly where everything is, but your clothing can be arranged and compressed so you can fit more in your bag. Why spend your time packing and unpacking when you can quickly unpack by sliding your organizers directly into hotel drawers, and pack up quick, getting seamlessly from one place to the next without having to rearrange your entire bag every time?
Among the best business travel tips around, there are those that suggest how to pack. Indeed, packing for a business trip is not the same thing as packing for a holiday. There is an unspoken rule that one should dress smartly on business meetings. I always make sure to carry a pair of smart pants and a skirt, a couple of dressy tops and nice shoes that I can wear at meetings, and a dress and heels to wear at events and parties. Packing cubes help keeping things in order inside the suitcase, and minimize the risk of creasing.