I like to consider myself a bit of a master packer. Mainly because when people saw the size of my backpack during my ten weeks travelling Europe, and I told them how long I was travelling for, they looked shocked or scared / concerned
for my sanity.
Like most things the more you do it, the better you get at it. I used to take way too much stuff with me and not end up wearing half of it. I like to think I’ve improved a lot since those days.
So I’ve complied a list of the best ways to pack savvy,
- Packing cubes are life – seriously.
Finally buying some of these for a three week long trip changed my life. No more stuffing things randomly in my backpack, and then throwing everything out every time I needed a bobby pin. I got my set of three off Amazon, and I probably just went for the cheapest option (I’m sure they cost under £10).
- Pack a plastic bag / reusable material bag
This is invaluable! You won’t believe how many times I wished I had a plastic bag on me in my early travel days. Why? To put the recently washed clothes in which aren’t completely dry yet, the towel or face cloth you used the previous night which is also still damp, those dirty shoes or wet flip-flops, your dirty
stinky clothes which really need a wash…really the list is endless.
The reusable material bag is a great space-saving option, and the one I took for my ten weeks doubled as a beach bag, a bag for when I hadn’t packed so smart and need to stuff a few extra things in it between destinations, and a food / shopping bag (because a lot of countries in Europe charge you for plastic bags from supermarkets, and if you’re spending 5 cents on this everyday it can quickly add up).
- Take less than you think you need.
I know it may seem like you need twenty differing shades of blue t-shirts, and that formal gown for backpacking Europe but you don’t. And also what’s the worst that can happen if the unexpected happens, and you need some obscure item of clothing that you don’t have, can’t borrow,or find a substitute for? You can buy it.
A piece of clothing doubles as a great souvenir too, and a reminder of that time you were freezing in Prague, and thought your fingers would drop off if you didn’t quickly find a jumper for under 200 Koruna.
- Take something to wash clothes by hand with.
I love washing my clothes in hostel sinks (please don’t judge me). I don’t know why more people don’t do this, but if you’re going on a trip that is under a month this can be your sole way of washing clothes. It saves you so much money, and is way more efficient than waiting for all your clothes to be dirty until you can justify paying for the washing machine. Also a lot of hostels won’t even have a washing machine.
It ultimately means you don’t need to take as many clothes, and you can leave behind that huge pile of underwear which would have been enough to fill a Victoria Secret as well.
- Leave space in your backpack.
By this I also mean don’t forget that the outfit you start in will at some point have to fit in your bag too. I’m not saying I’ve done this but…trust me on this one. It’s not fun to be desperately repacking your backpack
with a horrendous hangover and less than ten minutes until you need to check out, and wondering why there doesn’t seem to be space for those jeans you wore on the flight over. So although it’s great advice to wear all your bulky things when leaving, remember that at some point those heavy boots, or coat, or jeans will end up in your backpack.
Leaving space is also a good tip in case you pick up extra items / souvenirs / food.
- Don’t stress
Finally don’t let packing stress you out so much that you can’t enjoy the last few days you have at home before leaving. Whilst being organised is great, accept that after a few days on the road your carefully organised and regimented backpack packing routine may go completely out of the window.
And that’s ok.