Ah… packing! One of those activities that nobody -only experience, prepares you to. Packing is that last step before you go on an adventure. It’s the part many people dread the most and most of the times they leave it for the last minute. Which SHOULDN’T BE DONE. How to pack for any destination is a skill all of us should have!
The nerve-wracking thing about packing is that almost always you feel like you truly don’t know what you’ll find in the place you’re traveling to. Like all people that have traveled before know, anything can happen when you get to your destination! So, if you want to pack like a pro, preparation is key!
I learned the most when an image consultant friend helped me to pack for a trip. Now, every time I need to pack I think about all her advice and all the questions she made before we even started packing. Now, I’m gonna share her advice with you here. So read on this list of questions to know how to pack for any destination! (And, if you’re looking for more advice, read all our travel tips).
1) How much can you bring?
Can you travel with a carry-on and a documented suitcase? How heavy can those be? Are you planning on traveling with low-cost airlines? Will you be backpacking? Will you be traveling around with your suitcase? Confidently answer yourself these questions before you pack anything. You wouldn’t want to get to the airport and find out you could only carry 20 kg when you packed 25 kg.
My personal advice would be to just travel with a carry-on when possible. This will make traveling easier, especially if you’re going to be moving around. Most airlines let you have a carry-on, a small backpack, and a purse. From experience, this is more than enough even if you’ll be traveling for a month.
2) For how long are you traveling?
Obviously! You won’t pack the same for 2 days than for 1 month.
3) What suitcase will you use?
The right suitcase is crucial when packing. Some have different compartments so you can organize your belongings, others don’t. Also, check how heavy the suitcase in itself is, you wouldn’t want to travel with a super heavy suitcase that takes away from you “weight” you can pack.
Equally important is to know how resistant your suitcase is. Of course, it should be, but also, if you’re going to be walking around with your suitcase (Napoli taught me this), you’ll have to have a more resistant one. Hopefully, you’ll have a suitcase that won’t get destroyed in the middle of your trip.
Of course, you’re not going to spend your whole trip carting around massive luggage sets also. You’ll need a bag for your every day, too and this is where a cross body bag really come into their own. You can fit your valuables in, and have them securely across your body rather than behind you or loosely at your side.
4) What will be the weather at your destination?
This is a key point in how to pack for any destination. The first time I went to Europe I went there at the beginning of winter. Maybe if you live in cold weather, these seem like temperatures you can perfectly be ok with. But I come from a part of Mexico where it won’t get colder than 10°C during the winters. For that reason, I had to get thermal underwear and a really warm long jacket (also because I get cold super easily).
This obviously requires research. We all know the weather can be unpredictable nowadays but try to be as prepared as possible. Also, follow our advice on how to pack for a cold destination and how to pack for a hot Summer in Europe.
5) Will you travel to destinations with extremely different temperatures?
This is where things can get tricky. What if you’re planning for a trip where you’re going to several different destinations? My best advice: layers! Try, with as little clothes as possible, to have everything you’ll need for any kind of weather. For instance, what you can always need are a rain jacket and a warm jacket (in case of really cold temperatures). As mentioned before, thermal underwear is also a lifesaver if you’re trying to pack as less as possible.
You can also use online tools to know how the weather will be along your route if you’re traveling to different locations.
6) Will you attend special events or do any special activity?
Maybe you’re traveling because you want to attend a friend’s wedding or you’ll probably have a romantic dinner with your significant other. Have this in mind and make packing for these special events a priority. Here you can also consider the place in the world you’re traveling to. In some places, if you’re a woman, you’ll have to cover your hair. For example, when you go to temples in India, you’re expected to cover your shoulders and legs. Think about this before packing.
7) Is there anything in special, apart from garments, you need for the destination you’re visiting?
Depending on the place you’re going, you might need some special things. For example, you will probably need an adapter to charge your phone or camera. If you’re going to the beach, you’ll need a beach towel and mosquito repellent… and so on. Think about your destination and those specific things you can’t leave at home (or you need to buy). This is basic if you want to know how to pack for any destination.
8) What are the non-negotiable things you need in your day to day life even when traveling?
Even if you’re trying to travel light, you’ll probably want to bring things that are important to you although they might not be important for others. My top non-negotiables are books (yes, in plural and yes, I know they can be heavy), a notebook, and my DSLR camera. I have a friend that always travels with his own mug. Another one with his drone. Whatever it is that sparks joy in you, don’t leave it home, it might make you happier when you travel!
9) What are the basics in your wardrobe that you can also use for travel?
Bring the things you feel comfy in your travels. A big mistake is using something that you haven’t worn before, especially shoes. When you travel you do all sort of different activities from what you’re used to so it’s important to know that your clothes will work in the conditions you’re expecting to. Same applies to dresses, t-shirts, or whatever you want to bring. That’s the reason you should think about bringing the basics of your wardrobe. Besides feeling comfy, you’ll know how they work (and you’ll look like you!).
10) Do you really need to bring that?
Listen, I know that when you’re packing you’re tempted to bring that fancy dress you bought 2 years ago but haven’t worn yet. You might think that being in another place will finally give you the chance to use all those things. I’m telling you right now: YOU WON’T. And those things will take up valuable space in your suitcase. Abstain from bringing anything you wouldn’t wear in real life… except for those special things we talked about in point 6.
11) Final tips on how to pack for any destination
- Make laundry some days before packing. You’ll have clean clothes to pack right away and if you leave some clothes behind, you’ll have clean clothes when coming back
- Pack 2 days before your trip. This way, it’s close enough to remember what you’ve packed when you get to your destination but also gives you time to go shopping in case you need it
- Don’t bring more than 3 pairs of shoes unless you are completely sure you’ll need more. Trust me, in most cases… you won’t need more
- Wear the heaviest stuff you want to pack during your flight… but make sure they’re comfy enough to travel with them, of course!
- Small accessories like scarfs, necklaces, watches, sunglasses, belts, etc. can make a difference in an outfit so it makes sense to pack some of those if you want to look different in every photo of your trip hehe
Now, go to your wardrobe, start prepping everything and just get it done! Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll pack in a brim!
Tell us about your tips on how to pack for any destination in the comment section!