I would call myself an experienced traveler. As early as 15, I was finding myself all alone in a different country around the world. What I've learned through my adventures is that planning the trip may be important, and if you arrive ill equipped you'll probably be spending an arm and a leg to replace what you may have forgotten! Here are my 5 secrets to packing a great suitcase:
1. Make a list! I know this sounds completely obvious, but you will be 1000x less likely to forget something. I like to use the regular notepad on my phone, but you can find a few apps that can help.
2. Give yourself time Do you need to make a last minute run to the drugstore for sunscreen, or to the bookstore for some beach-side reading? Give yourself more than enough time to do so. Please don't leave packing to the last minute, especially if you're going somewhere with a much different climate! You'll want to make sure you have the time to get the correct clothing for the weather if you need to order it, as well.
3. Jumbo Ziploc bags, space bags or packing cubes. I've used all three of these methods, and they all work well for keeping your clothes or other items contained and easier for storage. I currently have these little packing cubes I mentioned in my previous international travel post. I'm able to pack more than a weeks worth of clothes in this tiny square. If you use individual Ziploc bags to hold outfits, write what day you're going to wear the clothes on each bag! Packing by outfit will guarantee you won't miss a thing.
4. Money If you're headed somewhere with different currency, go to the airport or your bank ahead of time to exchange your money. This way you'll avoid bogus fees and lines after you arrive! Also, let them know where you're going and for how long--getting your card frozen is not a fun way end your vacation. *Note: You may need to alert your bank ahead of time so they can be ready for you.
5. Address Book Keep your home address, the addresses to all the known destinations and hotels you'll be staying in and any phone numbers you might need to know. If you lose your phone, are unable to use your phone, or just prefer writing everything down, you'll be able to keep track of the places you're supposed to be if you need directions.
All you need is a trip to go on! Look out for my post about planning a cruise on a budget coming soon!