How to pack for long-term travel

Packing is a personal thing with people adopting different approaches to suit their own needs (I must ask NewMan to share his inexplicably successful "throw in and zip up" technique one day) but after many years of work trips, weekend breaks and girlie holidays I have found that the following tips work well for me. (Please note there is nothing ground breaking in this post and I make few apologies from this as you will learn from point 5 that I am not the expert I thought I was.) 1. LHR, nothing to do with Heathrow airport rather  L ay flat, fold in H alf and R oll. Rolling clothes instead of folding has changed my life. Well my packing life that is. Not only does it mean more clothes, less creases it has also enabled me to see what I'm packing better and allows for more condense and space effective packing. Warning though, this approach will not mean lighter packing, in fact quite the opposite so bear this in mind when considering your weight restrictions as referred to in Step 2.

2. Washbags are so 1990s. I actually "free pack" most of my toiletries and bottled beauty concoctions tucking them in between my rolls of clothes as I have found that if you bag all of these together in a washbag they they become bulkier and more obstructive to pack. Just one to consider.

3. Knickers aren't worth much. This tip is one for ladies who are fond of small garments of underwear like I am. It's really not worth having a dedicated area in your suitcase for these "scraps of fabric" (my mother's words) so instead I tuck them in to any available corner or space. I do the same for socks, rolled up belts, and other small items.

4. Secure liquids. Is there anything more devastating than a bottle of shampoo exploding in your bag? Yes of course there is, war, famine and unjust persecution could all easily win that prize but having to wash all your clothes before you've even worn them would probably annoy you for a few minutes at least so save yourself the risk by securing bottles with tape or wrapping in plastic bags.

5. Learn from experience. Speaking of plastic bags, pack a couple if you can as you may need one for dirty laundry or a temporary rubbish bag. Also ensure your Kindle is packed safely and securely with no unnecessary pressure on the screen as this could cause it to break. Oh and if you're not used to the recycled air on planes or the artificially cool air from air con units this may result in you getting a cold so pack more than one small half empty travel pack of tissues. These are three things that I have learnt the hard way on this trip already and no doubt there will be more things to learn from silly mistakes. And boy do I really miss my Kindle.

Frances M. Thompson

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before putting down some roots with her Australian partner and having a baby boy in July 2015. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her son around Amsterdam.
Find Frankie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

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