Travelling away from home, to another country, is a daunting experience with all the planning, preparing, and packing your life into a bag (that is never going to be big enough to accommodate for all the unnecessary crap you think you need to take with you).
It doesn’t matter how many times you rerrange things or attempt to condense all those precious items by plonking your arse on top of your bag- material girl that extra pair of shoes are not going to magically squeeze in.
I thought I had everything under control as I had been practically planning what was coming with me for the last year. Since I’m organised to the point of being neurotic I felt this was reasonable – it’s not like I’m Carrie Bradshaw harbouring outfits for a trip that isn’t even planned.
But, even I managed to get completely stressed out packing. The penultimate night before we left I spent hours pacing about my room whilst rearranging my bag over and over again. The night ended with me throwing my clothes about my room in a tantrum before I went to bed defeated.
After a couple of dramatic text messages to my boyfriend he luckily came over the next day and helped me sort it – mainly by shouting at me for wanting to take so much stuff. P:S once we arrived I found he had packed more crap than me; so I still won that one.
1. Recruit a friend to help you with the task of what to take and more importantly what not to take. I did have help deciding what to take but I decided to pack it all on my own – so when everything I had carefully selected didn’t fit this is when the panic started. Do not let your friend leave until your bag is closed.
2. Unless you aren’t going to buy anything whilst on your trip you will need to make sure there is room in your case to accommodate for this. I have been in Australia for two months and have bought: 2 dresses , 1 work skirt, 2 work tops, 2 x work shoes, work jacket, PJ bottoms, 5 tshirt’s & I have acquired a cardigan & two tops that housemates didn’t want anymore. It’s amazing how much stuff you can acquire in a short time. I have absolutely no doubt that I’ll be buying more stuff on my travels – including another case. Consider what you will buy on your trip when packing.
3. Take your favourite clothes – I left my favourite t-shirt and I’ve regretted it since. Don’t just take the clothes you think you should take – if you don’t ever wear shorts don’t take them – pack that favourite t-shirt instead.
4. Remove those favourite clothes from your wardrobe a couple of months prior to your trip. You will forget about them and be excited to see them again like long lost friends. Remember you’ll have to wear these clothes over and over again.
5. Once you have the favourite clothes sorted you need to think about an interview outfit and potential work clothing. I got this one completely wrong and packed a pink dress I could wear at a interview or an admin job. It turns out Australia are into ‘corporate black’ whereas I was desperately trying to avoid packing black clothing; despite my wardrobe being 80% black. So play it safe if like me you don’t know what field you’ll be working in and pack a black outfit or wait until you have a job before planning outfits. If you have a black suit jacket – bring it as you will probably need it. Play it safe and pack smart black clothing.
6. The same advice goes for shoes. I almost brought my comfy work shoes but luckily didn’t due to lack of space and it turned out that my new job required me to wear heels. So regardless of whether I had brought them I would still need to buy new shoes. I did bring my boots though as I knew it would be expensive to buy a good pair over here. Only bring shoes you know you will definitely need.
7. Decant your toiletries into travel friendly bottles. I done this the day before we left after getting into a tizzy about the weight of my bag. If you aren’t particular about your toiletries take mini’s and buy full size ones once you arrive.
8. Get on to Amazon or Ebay and buy packing cubes – these will be your best friend when it comes to locating things in your bottomless pit of a bag. As the name suggests they are cubes for organising your belongings into sections. I bought three and found this to be enough but there are lots of other options.
9. Microfibre towels – traditional towels take up so much room whereas microfibre ones are light weight and also dry quickly. I packed two (an extra large and a large) I could have got away with just taking the one extra large one as they dry so quickly but the large one has come in handy for taking to the beach to sit on.
10. Get Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’, yeah? Everything that can be packed by rolling it into a sausage do it. You will be surprised at how much you can neatly fit into your packing cubes this way. It will also eventually become really boring (rolling) packing your clothing this way but it’s worth it. Plus thanks to me you’ll probably now have Limp Bizkit stuck in your head whilst you do it so that should make it more fun.