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Ten Smart Travel Packing Tips

Fahmi Rizwansyah says:

1. Plan ahead. Know what weather to expect and what your activities might be, then pack the right clothes for the climate and your events. Ignore the urge to add in “but what if…” items.

2. Pack less. Pack only 3 pair of quick-drying underwear that can be washed out and dried overnight: one to wear, one to wash, and a spare. Expect to wear each outer clothing item more than once. Choose versatile pieces that can be worn in different combinations.

3. Pack a “go-anywhere” wardrobe. Take clothes that blend in with the local population and provide safety from those who target tourists. For instance: modest necklines for women, long pants or skirts, and shirts with a collar and sleeves.

4. Pack easy-care clothes that you love. To ensure that you will look and feel great on your trip, choose clothes from your closet that still appear fresh at the end of a long day. If things wrinkle at home, they will surely wrinkle while traveling.

5. Take comfortable shoes. You will not have a good time if your feet hurt. Three pairs of shoes are the maximum for most trips: one to wear and two to pack.

6. Choose the right bag for the trip. Structured bags with wheels protect the contents and offer independence in airports, while unstructured bags without wheels are generally easier to squish into small places, as in the trunk of a car.

7. Know the current airline luggage rules. To avoid additional fees and confusion at the airport, understand how many pieces of luggage may be checked, plus the maximum dimensions and allowable weight for each bag. Call your airline or check for the latest information.

8. Pack smart. Use smart packing tricks to fit items into your luggage in the most space-efficient way, and to provide easy visibility during security checks. For example, group small items in see-through containers or in self-sealing plastic bags. Pack less to speed the security check process—an over packed bag takes longer to manually inspect and is more difficult to repack.

9. Travel light. Wheels are helpful on smooth terrain, but you must still be able to carry your bag on rough streets and up and down stairs. Two smaller bags are easier to manage than one larger bag, although changing airline checked baggage rules might make this cost more. Lighten up cosmetics and toiletries; these often make up half of the bag weight. Travel and sample-sized items are a good trick, as is transferring the amount needed into a small container. Dual duty products such as moisturizer plus sunscreen eliminate one entire bottle.

10. Use or pack a lock. Today’s airport security requires luggage to be unlocked, but pack a lock so you can secure your bag at your destination. Or purchase a new TSA-approved lock—a combination lock that is set by the owner with TSA holding the master key—and lock while traveling.

The moral to the story is if you follow these simple guidelines, you will have the freedom to go everywhere — independently and comfortably — and travel will indeed be the relaxing break you anticipate.

©2008 Susan Foster, Smart Travel Press, P.O. Box 25514, Portland, OR 97298-0514,

Cheers, frizzy2008.