You’re not gonna need that! Packing for your travels

airport baggage claim sign stock photo

There’s a bit of advice that I’ve read that said, when you’re packing for a trip, lay out everything on your bed—money and all. Take a look at it. Leave half the clothes at home, and take twice the money you were planning on bringing with you.

This is probably the truest and most sound travel advice I’ve ever read, but never followed. And for failing to heed the advice, I’ve had my share of misery each time—misery I could have avoided.

It’s funny how when you’re packing for a trip, many times it’s tough to gauge what it is you’ll want to wear each day—or need to wear, depending on the weather.

I’ve got handy packing tips for you that, believe me, will take your luggage down by as much as 10 pounds. Planning on shopping on your trip? That’s 10 pounds you can fill happily as you head back home.

Picking the right bag for the type of trip that you’ll be taking is crucial. For a backpacking trip, or one where you’ll be moving around a lot, it’s counterintuitive to take a huge roller bag that can be cumbersome when entering and exiting trains, metro turnstiles, and narrow hotel staircases. No, not every location has an elevator.

Consider purchasing a traveling backpack. This options saves space, saves time, and gives you necessary limits so you don’t overload. These bags can typically cost $100, and run up from there—depending on brand, size, and functionality.

A rolling bag will be fine if you’re staying in a single location and not moving about too much. If you choose a rolling bag, here’s a neat tip! Pack a fold up tote bag in your larger bag so you can carry just a little bit more in your hand, if you need it. Trust me, it comes in handy!

Clothing. How much should you take?

Again, it depends on so many factors. You’ll be thinking about how many days you’ll be gone and whether you’ll have access to laundry services. Will you be going to the beach along magnificent coastal countries, or rather the windswept colder climes of a mountainous destination?

Here, I should probably listen to my own advice! I always seem to take way more than I need. Why is it that I take enough clothing to change three times a day, knowing full well I’ll only do it about once each day?

There was a fluke however. I remember being in Bangkok. It was so hot that I had to go back to the hotel to shower and change shirts at least two or three times during the day. In this case, I did well in bringing enough clothes!

So let’s talk specifics with apparel.

For an average seven-day trip, two or three pairs of pants will do. Take two pairs of jeans, and a nice pair of pants in case you go to a nice restaurant, or show, or something.

As for shirts, I’ll repeat the advice. Lay out all of the shirts that you want to take and then get rid of half of them. Trust me on this one—you will not wear ALL of them! You’ll just get annoyed that you brought them and they take up space for things you want to buy and bring home.

Take only half as many pairs of underwear and socks—especially if you know you’ll have laundry cleaning available. It’s a mild annoyance to have to do laundry on vacation, but the arm that has to lug that luggage will thank you later.

Be sure to bring a light jacket, or hoodie. By the way, either can double as a blanket on a chilly airplane or train!

Uh oh! Footwear.

So, I have a problem with wanting a nice collection of shoes to choose from—as do a lot of you. Trust me when I say this… for a four-day trip, you don’t need five or six pairs of shoes!

When it comes to footwear, here’s what you should pack. (Remember, you’ll be wearing a pair of shoes to get where you’re going!)

You’ll need one nice pair, a pair of running shoes (yeah right), and maybe a pair of good walking shoes.

Yes, I know you can only wear that particular pair of shoes you’re thinking of with that shirt and pants ensemble you like so much for bar-hopping. But extra shoes are no fun to carry!

Let’s talk toiletries.

I’m not usually one to carry a bunch of cosmetics on a trip. For my boys who like to carry a tool chest full of makeup, facial wash, shampoo, body wash, mouthwash, facial cream, eye cream, lip grease, face gel, wrinkle salve, and whatever else you use to keep your good looks together, leave it at home. Take only the basics!

I know that hurts, but it’s just not worth it to have to carry all of these things with you.

Now, what’s the best way to put all of these things into that luggage? The key is to make space and these tips are awesome!

First, roll up your underwear, belts, and socks and put them inside your shoes. Next, tightly roll jeans, pants, and shirts like burritos. Yes, you heard me! Folding them is nice and saves against wrinkles, but this tortilla-wrap method helps you save a ton of space.

Make sure to wrap gels and oils in a Ziploc before putting it in your cosmetic bag. Oh, and if getting frisky on the trip is in your plans, please wrap the lube, too, in a plastic bag. There’s nothing like having that stuff on your best apparel when you get there! Not that I’ve experienced that or anything. Don’t forget to pack the condoms, too!

Done! You’re packed, and you’re not carrying too much stuff. There’s nothing left to do except get there, be safe, and have fun.

Did I forget anything? Got your own packing tips to share? Leave your comments below.

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About Kenneth Edwards

Kenneth Edwards is a clinical therapist and social worker by morning, traveler by afternoon, photographer by night, and writer by chance. Experiencing the world from different perspectives is a necessary part of living and growing up. Keep being curious. Questions for the Virgin Traveler, comments, or emotional outbursts should be directed at

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