Packing Lists

The day-by-day approach to travel packing

A huge part of travelling is having a suitcase (or backpack) with you that has just the right amount of belongings. Not too many that you are lugging around 50kg of excess baggage and not too light that you are wearing the same shirt for 10 days in a row.

Photo by Tucker Good on Unsplash

I recently packed my suitcase for 4 nights in Sydney (you can read about that adventure here) so I thought I would run you through step-by-step of how I decide what to pack.

  1. Check the weather of where you are going. If you are travelling within the next week like I was, then you can pretty much see the exact weather that is predicted. The website I like to use for Australian weather is Weatherzone. However, if your trip is more than a few weeks away or you are going away for longer than a month then you need to get an idea of what the typical weather might be. You could find out from someone who has been before, read some online forums, or use a website like Accuweather which will give you average and historical temps to base your packing from.
  2. Grab your itinerary, or if you don’t have set plans then write a list of the activities you will be doing.
  3. Pick with any big or special events that you are going to. For my trip we were going to see a show at the Opera House so I wanted to have a semi-formal outfit for the evening. I decided to take a dress, a pair of black ballet flats and a small clutch. You might be going to a wedding and need a nice dress, or perhaps a conference and need a suit. The trick to this method is to plan out the whole outfit, so even consider what make-up and other accessories you might need to get ready for that event.
  4. Now let’s go back to the bookends of the trip and plan what to wear on the plane. You should wear a comfortable outfit but also consider wearing your more bulkier items to save space in your suitcase. I decided to wear jeans, a t-shirt, a hoodie and my sneakers.
  5. The next step is to go through each day/event and literally pick out a specific outfit you will wear. For example, we planned to go out for dinner when we first arrived, so I took a nicer top to change into but I’ll keep the jeans on and change to the flats I was already planning to take for the concert. The second day we planned to walk around and go to the markets so I picked a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and will wear my sneakers. Continue on for each day so you will have just the right amount of clothing and everything you are taking should work together for actual outfits! Again, for each outfit plan all toiletries such as sunscreen, make up remover wipes etc, and accessories like a hat, sunglasses or raincoat.
  6. Think about sleepwear. I like to take my favourite pjs as something comfortable from home, but do whatever suits you! In the past I have also taken shorts and a t-shirt to sleep in that could have doubled as a back-up outfit to wear during the day if I couldn’t get any laundry done.
  7. Double check if anything requires a belt or a camisole but otherwise you are good to go!

This type of packing is of course best if you are going on a short trip where you can plan out each day with a fair amount of detail. If you are going away for longer then I would recommend following this plan for an average week of activities and then assume that you can wash each week and re-wear items.

Now that I have returned home I found this worked pretty well. I only had one extra top on me that I didn’t use (mainly because our plans changed slightly so I just wore what I already had on to go to dinner). If you find yourself over-packing then give this method a go.

Back in March I asked the #TravelTribe how they like to pack their suitcase, and rolling everything up seems to be the clear winner! I personally like to roll things up too and I also group a few similar items in packing cubes.

How do you like to pack your suitcase?

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