Guest Author: Maria Rainier – Travel Light: Tips for Efficient Packing

travel physical therapist trying to pack suitcaseIf you’re road tripping, you don’t want to fill your vehicle with suitcases – that extra weight decreases your fuel efficiency and it means you’ll have to roll, carry, and otherwise haul all of those suitcases around with you. That’s no way to travel. Things get even worse for the baggage-laden traveling physical therapist who’s flying to the next job since airlines now charge by the suitcase. No matter how you’re getting to your destination, the travel experience will be less of a headache and more of an adventure if you can pack efficiently. That means knowing what’s essential and packing it well. So if you’re interested in lightening your load and learning some professional travel skills, use these tips the next time you’re packing for a new job.

Learn from the Best

Why not get some packing tips from people who travel for a living? The New York Times interviewed seasoned flight attendants and pilots to get some professional packing advice for those of us who would appreciate a lighter suitcase. In addition to these tips, I’ve included a few of my own – most of which I learned the hard way when I flew overseas for the first time. I was literally repacking my suitcase in front of an agent who was telling me I had five minutes before I’d miss my flight. It wasn’t pretty, so avoid getting stuck in that situation and see if you can use some of these tips to start packing like a pro.

  • Pack your necessities first, from largest to smallest.
  • As you pack your necessities, try to fit smaller items inside larger ones. For example, you can put socks inside your shoes and roll small fragile items inside your clothing.
  • Roll your clothes instead of folding and stacking them. You can even place one shirt on top of another and roll them both at the same time.
  • When you travel, wear layers. This is a good way to bring extra clothing and ensure that you won’t be too hot or too cold on the way to and from your destination.
  • Wear your largest, heaviest shoes when you travel – but only if you need them. Try to leave larger shoes at home since they take up a lot of space, and if you must bring a pair, wear them instead of packing them. For example, if you want to go hiking at your destination, wear your boots when you travel.
  • Bring no more than three pairs of shoes. They take up a lot of space and contribute a significant amount of weight.
  • If you bring a lot of electronics, invest in a single charger that’s compatible with all of your items. You can easily find car chargers with interchangeable tips, but if you won’t be driving on your trip, you might consider finding a solar charger. Most of these are equipped to charge a wide variety of devices. By bringing a single charger, you’ll save space and you won’t have to worry about remembering to bring more than one.
  • Avoid bringing a heavy coat. Try wearing thermal tees and long underwear along with a light jacket instead.
  • Ladies, pack basic clothing in neutral solids so you can easily create outfits from just a few pieces. Examples of clothes that can do double duty include black pants, skirts, and tops; wrinkle-free items in a lighter neutral like beige; and a few white tank tops for layering. Add variety with small accessories like scarves and jewelry.
  • Take along an e-reader instead of books and magazines. If you need your laptop, you can even download free e-reader software and use it to read your e-books.

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, writing on online degrees and playing with the newly revealed online college degree calculator. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.