Your Travel Must Haves ;)
How to pack to avoid mess in your suitcase... and enjoy your trip? :)
Packing has never been a problem for me. I actually enjoy packing! It is always connected with adventure, new experiences, changing the environment, recharging… and I always have this knot in my stomach... :) No matter where I go!
The way I pack has changed over the last few years, though ;) I have learnt a great deal! I am still far from the ideal (which by the way does not exist!), but I am glad I tackled this.
NEED A RIDE? :)
Hitchhiking with a backpack and a tent is not new to me. I know what it takes to travel from Poland through Germany, Belgium and France to Scotland catching a lift with a backpack, a sleeping back and a change of clothes. I know I can do this :) I did it, even without a hair-drier and a million pairs of shoes.
However, it doesn’t mean that I truly enjoy travelling this way. Well, nope! If there is more space available than a backpack, I definitely take advantage of it :)
It is amazing that our needs are often created by our imagination and depend on the circumstances. When you go hitchhiking with a backpack, you take only a few things which simply have to be enough! Your basic need has been met. During such trips you appreciate what you usually take for granted, e.g. a warm shower! :)
I can't help but wonder... are further needs still needs or they are already whims?
I used to have lots of whims :) I would pack anything I thought might come in handy. Now I know, it was just the consequence of decisions which were never taken. I prefered to decide what I needed on the spot. I ended up cramming things into my suitcases and using just a quarter of its contents…
FIRST TRIP ABROAD WITH A BABY
When my daughter was born and we were setting off for our first trip together, a few thousand kilometers away from home, I had to take literally everything „just in case”. Our suitcase, stuffed with all the „necessary” things travelled proudly right next to the driver.
We were driving across Croatia so we didn't spend the entire time in just one place. This involved packing and unpacking the car every 3 or 4 days…
On top of that, we somehow had to deal with all the baby stuff on the way. Changing diapers on uncomfortable back seats of the car and feeding the baby who loved to have fun while eating her spaghetti with tomato sauce was quite a challenge. Kamil is getting goosebumps at the thought of food being consumed in the car… but he never says „no” to his daughter :)
I am not going to write what I packed back then because it would be a waste of time and energy :) I am going to focus on the conclusions I have come to. Now, I simply laugh my head off at myself and that luggage!
YOU LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE...
On the next trip with my daughter our bags were more compact. All necessary items were squeezed in the car trunk (including the stroller!) Hooorrrraaaay! Well, the suitcases were still bursting at the seams and there were far too many clothes…
I MADE IT!
The third trip with Kalina prompted me to pack our stuff like never before. Maybe because the trip included flying five planes, driving a car and using public transport (metro, buses). It was finally a success! First and serious success! I was so proud of myself!
How did it come about?
Taking care of your child who is running around everywhere and holding your suitcases needed to be combined. I wanted to take the things that were REALLY necessary. Trust me. I analyzed every single item. I came up with an ideal solution: two medium sized suitaces, two small backpacks, a tiny backpack for her favourite toys and a stroller. The question arose… how to fit in those small suitcases?
Well, you need to think it over. Analyze every item and weather conditions that await you.
Here’s my „must-have” list which I worked out after quite a long time:
- 7 sets of clothes (for max. 1 week) + bathing suits
- a jacket and a raincoat
- 2 pairs of shoes (two pairs of comfy walking shoes and a pair of sandals (although I know that not all men like wearing sandals. Kamil is allergic to them…) + a pair of water shoes (I liked Crocs which you can use in the water as well as around the city!)
- a camera (in order to have more space we decided to change our old and heavy Nikon into the best camera ever!) + iPads + laptop + chargers
- first-aid kit (basic: tick remover, ibuprofen (or anything to lower fever), hydrogene peroxide, standard strip bandages, anti-diarrhea tablets)
- documents, credit/debit cards, tickets
- cosmetics + small fast-drying towels
It is now clear what you should pack. However, the big question arises HOW to pack your stuff!
This had always been an issue. A mess in the suitcase had always driven me crazy. I hated to waste time organizing clothes so I never did it. The effect was horrible.
It turned out this was not only my problem. The solution was easier than I previously thought :) I came across packing organizers and I knew right away that they’d be a perfect investment. Putting items to organizers and arranging them in proper order took me some time but the results exceeded my expectations.
Tops in one bag, trousers, shoes and underwear in other bags. Everything was in perfect order. All items came out of the bag and went back there smoothly. Keeping order in my suitcases was a piece of cake :) Trust me. Our trip involved changing accommodation every 2 or 3 days. It is no exaggeration to say that those organizers saved many hours of our free time :)
I did one more thing which I never thought I would do, namely I spent almost half a day on a general test of packing! I prepared all the things, put them in order in my organizers which landed in the suitcases in the end. Everything fit perfectly :)
How long can you talk about packing? Long enough! Especially when you’re looking for best travel solutions!
Let me know what you think!
PS. This is our luggage from the last trip. The biggest suitcase was bought in the US and it was supposed to fit in our sleeping bags, a mattress and a camping stove! On our way back home it turned out that it was possible to take care of one more suitcase :) Besides, the States are packed with friendly people and literally everyone we met on our way to the subway offered their help! That was sweet! :)
PS2 :) Here's this text in Polish! :)