When it comes to packing for a trip, how many of you feel a little… um…. stressed out? You’re not the only ones.
‘Have I taken too much?’, ‘Should I bring that thing that I might need, even though I never use it at home?’, ‘Should I take my straighteners?’, ‘Are 12 pairs of shorts a little excessive?’, ‘My bag won’t shut!’ Sound familiar?
To try and answer a few of these frequently asked questions, below are 21 tips to help make the packing experience a little easier. We’ve already given you 20 Packing List Essentials so you know what to take, but now, here are 21 tips to help with how you pack it all together in your rucksack.
21 Tips for Packing the Perfect Rucksack
1. First thing’s first: don’t get a bag that’s too big
While it may seem tempting to buy a large one and fill it with things you ‘might’ need, don’t forget you’ll spend a lot of time carrying your backpack around. So the lighter it is, the better for you.
2. Do things by halves
When preparing for your trip, do a packing trial run. Pack your bag full of everything you think you’ll need, then unpack it all and half it. You’ll be very glad you did later.
3. Roll your clothes
You’ll be surprised how much space you save – and it helps to avoid creasing!
4. Bring Gaffer tape
The perfect tool for quickly fixing broken straps or holes in backpacks. And a million other things.
5. Pack some plastic bags
To keep wet swimwear, dirty shoes and leaky shower gels separate from the rest of your things. If you bring clear plastic bags, you’ll be able to stay super organised by separating out your clothes into categories (shorts/t-shorts/leggings etc) and packing them in separate bags. It will make things easier to find and will add another layer of waterproofing.
6. Bring a lock
Keep unwanted hands out of our backpack. A local will deter would-be thieves.
7. Bring a bike lock
…and attach your backpack to the post of your bed in your guesthouse or hostel.
8. Save weight
Don’t take an entire Boots store in your backpack. Take a few essentials like suncream, shampoo and toothpaste, but remember you will be able to buy these things in most of the world too, for a fraction of the UK price – you’re not falling off the end of the earth!
9. Don’t pack too many clothes
Here are 2 very good reasons why: 1) you will want to bring back souvenirs and buy more clothes when you’re away anyway so you need to make sure you have room and 2) you’ll probably end up wearing the same few pieces the whole time anyway!
10. Stand out from the crowd
Add a tie/belt/strap/scarf to your suitcase or backpack so you can easily identify it at the luggage carousel.
11. Think about your first night
Pack some essentials at the top of your bag so you don’t have to unpack everything when you get to your destination, and you can just to get to what you need at that time. For instance, if you’re arriving late at night, put your PJ’s, tooth brush and toothpaste near the top.
12. Stay fresh!
For long journeys or flights, pack a spare top and your toothbrush. You’ll feel instantly refreshed.
13. Suitcase bag
If you prefer the ease of a suitcase but also the comfort of a backpack, get a mix of both! It’s possible to get backpacks that unzip like a suitcase so you can find things easier.
14. Get a waterproof bag cover
Chances are you’ll meet all kinds of weather on the road, so a waterproof cover will help to keep your backpack and its contents in tip-top condition.
15. Layer up!
Consider packing lots of layers instead of a big, thick coat. That way you’re prepared for any type of weather and avoid taking up a lot of valuable packing space with an item you may barely need.
16. Keep your important things with you.
Bags can get lost – it’s an unfortunate fact of life that we just have to accept if we want to travel. So just in case, make sure anything important/special to you gets packed in your hand luggage, just in case.
17. Buddy up
If you’re travelling in a group or a pair, talk to your travel buddy about what you’re both packing so you don’t double up. For example, girls, if you’re travelling with a mate and can’t live without your straighteners, maybe one of you can bring a hair drier and one of you can bring the straighteners (although do consider going au-natural – it’s liberating!)
18. Make a list
Lists work for some and bring no benefit for others – personally, I can’t function without them. Make a list before packing so you can plainly see what you have, what you still need to get and what you have, but don’t really need.
Keep your final list with you so you can quickly refer to it when questioning whether you bought that thing you’re about to delve into your over-packed bag looking for… and then find that you didn’t even add in the first place.
19. Ease the strain
Pack heavy things in the middle of your rucksack, as close to your back as possible. This will put less strain on your back when you carry your rucksack. Roll up your clothes rather than folding, this should give you more room and also, hopefully, make them less creased when you want to wear them.
20. Buy the best backpack you can afford
During the weeks or months of your trip your rucksack is going to have to see you through the rough and the smooth and take a battering en route. Make sure you set off with a rucksack that is as sturdy as possible. It is worth getting ‘fitted’ for your rucksack in a specialist outdoor shop.
21. Ensure you’re insured
Sometimes however hard you try things can go wrong. Make sure you get insurance so that you can replace those essential items in case they get lost or stolen when you are away.
If you found this blog post useful, sign up to the blog now to make sure you never miss a post that’s relevant to you and your travels. And if you need to research your destination a little more – head to our selection of travel guides! Also, if we’ve missed out a tip that you think should have definitely made the list, add it in the comments box below and share your idea with other travellers.