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Packing Tips – Pack Once, Pack Light & Discard As You Go

When Luggage Direct *asked me to give some luggage packing tips, the timing could not have been better. I’m just back from a holiday in Bali and despite myself, brought back some lovely homewares. Luckily, I’m well practiced in the Mary Poppins art of packing more into my luggage than seems possible. If there’s something I need to get in that bag, I’ll fit it in.

Several dozen suitcases lined up in a row against a wall - packing tips

I am actually a long-term customer of Luggage Direct as they have a huge range and very competitive pricing (+free delivery in Australia). Packing and travelling has changed a lot since my first overseas trip when I lugged a 20kg suitcase around Europe for 6 weeks, coming home with an extra 15kg. I’ve seen how technology and innovation have made travel goods lighter and tougher; the world of handles, wheels and dual purpose luggage is a reality – on that first trip 25 years ago my suitcase didn’t even have wheels, let alone spinners; and, there is an endless array of accessories to make your travel life easier. I have also learned that there are these places called ‘shops’, where you can invariably buy anything at your destination that you may have forgotten.

Here are some packing tips and tricks that I use time and again. My adage is: Pack once, pack light and discard as you go.


1. Packing Cells

– my number one must have. They help to create a ‘system’, which is the key to being able to lay your hand on anything at a moment’s notice. They keep your luggage neat so you’re not wasting your holiday packing and re-packing and help to make sure you don’t leave anything behind. Assign a cell to a particular item eg: 1 x mid cell for t-shirts, 1 x large cell for shorts/pants, 1 x small cell for underwear etc. They come in a range of shapes and sizes and a readily available in any luggage and outdoors shops.

Open suitcase with packing cells and a drawstring bag inside - packing tips

2. Drawstring Bags

– use these for items such as socks, tights, scarves and electrical cords and chargers. These can also double as bags to put dirty clothes in so they’re not roaming all over your bag, getting mixed in with clean. If you can’t lay your hands on a drawstring bag, lingerie bags that you use in the washing machine are a good substitute. This is my favourite packing tip.


3. Cardboard Packing Tubes

– sounds like a silly item to pack but I can’t tell you how many times this has come in handy. Fill it as you would a drawstring bag but use it whilst your travelling as a place to store posters or paper souvenirs you collect along the way. Also good for delicate items such as carvings and small ceramics – simply wrap in clothes for padding and replace back into the tube for sturdy protection.


4. Zip Lock Bags

– how did we ever exist without these? Put liquids such as shampoos into a bag before you put them into your toiletries bag. Zip locks stop jewellery and other small items going astray and can also be used to store souvenirs (use clothing or paper serviettes to wrap for extra protection). During your travels, zip locks are handy for carrying snacks for day trips. Put all of your loose coins in one and drop it off at the airport or on the plane to contribute to a ‘Change for Charity’ program.


5. Discard As You Go

– There comes a time when my clothes are a bit too tired to be presentable for the office. I set these aside and then pack them for travelling. As they are almost at the end of their useful life to me, I’m happy to discard them after a couple of wears or as space in my luggage becomes precious. The same goes for sandals, ballet flats and sandshoes at the end of their life. There are some distinct advantages to this approach. 1. You won’t be wearing the same outfit in every holiday snap or selfie. 2. Depending on the length of your trip and the number of changes of outfit you have, you may not need to do laundry 3. You may also be able to leave behind a pile of neat, serviceable clothes (clean them first!) for hotel staff or local community groups who can put them to good use. Leave a note saying you have left them behind deliberately so they don’t race to return them when you are checking out (as has happened to me).

Finally, make sure you have the 4 Everyday Items You Must Pack When Travelling to get you out of any jam or tricky situation!

Sarong, permanent marker, pegs, masking tape - packing tips

What are your packing tips? Are you a fan of packing cells? Leave a comment to share your own tips with readers or, even your packing failures.

*TIFFIN was asked to share her packing tips for travelling well by the Search Factory and Luggage Direct. TIFFIN received payment for this post using original content. Mr Tiffin continues to refuse to use packing cells and consequently, can never find what he is looking for in his luggage.

12 comments… add one
  • Glenda March 23, 2016, 12:24 am

    I am pretty good at packing light. Maus and I went to Thailand for 6 weeks and we only had a day pack each. Trouble was, we bought so much we had to buy a bag to carry our purchases.

    • Fiona Ryan March 24, 2016, 12:13 pm

      Wow Glenda – that is good! I went to Bali with only carry on and still think I had too much as I spent most of my time in the pool. Yes, bringing home the gear and yet another new suitcase is a problem!

  • sherry from sherrys pickings March 23, 2016, 11:18 am

    very good advice. i must look into those cells. i use alot of plastic bags to keep things separate, and dirty laundry goes in one of course. that’s my biggest tip – lots of plastic bags of various sizes!

    • Fiona Ryan March 24, 2016, 12:15 pm

      Plastic bags always come in handy – particularly for shoes. The packing cells are a must!

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime March 23, 2016, 2:00 pm

    I use packing cells for each days clothing when we spend a couple of nights or one night in a place, as well as for our change of clothes on the plane. I never do laundry while away either 😀

    • Fiona Ryan March 24, 2016, 12:15 pm

      Oh – I like the idea of packing cells for days rather than ‘type’. I must try that next time. Thanks for sharing your tip.

  • Jan Rhoades March 26, 2016, 5:01 pm

    Great tips Fiona…but two pegs would never be enough for me.
    One item I have found absolutely invaluable for travelling is blow-up/inflatable hangers. They are amazing for drying because once inflated, the wet clothes don’t touch each other on the hangers. And this is where the pegs come in. If you wish to wash pants – long or short, they are usually too heavy and fall from the edges of the hanger. So, the trick is to wash them and then peg them onto themselves at the waist on the inflatable hangers and they won’t fall off. I know you can buy these hangers in a two-pack from Zellows for approx $10 per pack.
    And you know how long I’ve been engaging in serious travel…so imagine just how many pairs of shoes, clothing and sundries I’ve left behind. I have always found it useful to learn the local language for ‘For you. Please take’ I write this on a note with the ubiquitous smiley face and leave it on top of the pile on the end of the bed.
    From Indonesia in the mid 70s to my most recent trip to the US in 2015…my unwanted clothes have been strewn behind (in neat piles) and left for posterity.

    • Fiona Ryan March 29, 2016, 9:41 am

      There are some good tips there – inflatable hangers in particular. This had never occurred to me. Thanks for sharing your tips with readers.

  • Liz (Good Things) March 29, 2016, 5:43 pm

    Great post Fiona, I LURV packing cells. One thing I think you might have added is a four point power board… that way you plug it into any adaptor and two people can charge phones, cameras and other devices at the same time. And YES to lightweight coat hangers… comes in handy when you need to turn the hotel room into a Chinese laundry… which I have mastered perfectly.

    • Fiona Ryan March 30, 2016, 11:35 am

      Great tip on the power board Liz. The true test of hotel is where it’s power points are placed and, as you have indicated, there are never enough.

  • JENNIFER September 22, 2016, 8:24 pm

    One of my sons has just gone to Japan and we (meaning I) used large zip lock bags to separate items (school uniforms, underwear, t-shirts) so that he doesn’t have to rifle through his bag every time he needs something. It’s my attempt to keep him organised, not that I have any expectation that he will have used “the system”. You can lead a horse to water… Definitely getting some packing cells for next time though. Great info.

    • Fiona Ryan September 23, 2016, 11:22 am

      Thanks Jennifer. I can’t live without my packing cells though perhaps the zip lock bags are better at keeping water from a typhoon out ; )

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