Ten Travel Secrets for Efficient Packing, a Complete Wardrobe and a Carefree Vacation

How Not to Pack for Long Term Travel: What We Wish We Did/Didn't Pack
Ten Travel Secrets for Efficient Packing, a Complete Wardrobe and a Carefree Vacation, Recommend Article Article Comments Print ArticleShare this article on FacebookShare this article on TwitterShare this article on LinkedinShare this article on DeliciousShare this article on DiggShare this article on RedditShare this article on PinterestExpert Author Laura Butler
For most of us, vacation comes just once a year, especially when you're traveling to that faraway dream destination. Perhaps because we feel as though this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we tend to pack everything but the kitchen sink. The most common mistake made by travelers is to pack twice, or even three times as much as what we'll really need or use.

The result? You end up lugging an overstuffed suitcase over hill and dale, through airports, customs and train stations. By the time you arrive at your hotel, you're exhausted! To make matters worse, by the time you've shopped for souvenirs and gifts for family and friends, you might find you need to purchase another piece of luggage to accommodate these extras! No kidding! (I'm embarrassed to say this is exactly the position I found myself in - once!) So, here, we've compiled a list of travel secrets for the savvy traveler. The purpose of your vacation is to relax and enjoy every minute! Here's how our travel secrets can help you make the most of your dream vacation.

1. While you may tote a handbag en route, for most of your excursions, all you need is a money belt. A money belt is a lightweight, nylon pouch, with thin ribbon ties, which you tie around your waist. This handy invention thwarts pickpockets and holds everything you need for both money transactions and identification purposes. Put a copy of your passport, visa, travelers checks, bank cards and local currency in your money belt and you're free of the extra weight of a handbag. The money belt is an indispensable travel secret you won't want to be without.

2. Save a few bucks and avoid jet lag by packing a few bags of salted nuts and a litre of water for your flight. You lose about a quart of water for every hour you're in flight. Snack on nuts and drink plenty of water. You'll arrive feeling much better!

3. Here's a great space saving travel secret, one which will not only save you space in your single carry-on, but also time going through customs. In addition, you won't have to deal with an exploding bottle of shampoo or spray deodorant. When you pack, forget the toiletries. Such items are available, worldwide, unless you're traveling to the Amazon rain forest. Just pick up these necessaries when you arrive.

4. Do pack a personal first aid box, but only with essentials. If you have prescription medications you must take, use a plastic box with a snap-shut lid exclusively for these items. This strategy makes for an easy pass through inspection in customs and provides you with ready access to meds you really need.

5. This travel secret may seem mundane, but becomes important if you don't plan ahead. For some peculiar reason, washcloths are sometimes deemed unnecessary, even at a 2-star hotel. Pack a couple of those micro-fiber all purpose cloths, just in case.

6. Unless you're willing to pay for extra luggage, the space in your single carry-on is at a premium. Wear your favorite pieces of jewelry and have some fun shopping for some new pieces on your trip. If you bring everything you own, where will you pack those inevitable new purchases?

7. Buy a small plastic box with a snap-shut lid to contain items such as pens, a journal, post-its, mini-flashlight or an iPod. Compartmentalizing such travel items also makes it easy to whiz through customs.

8. As for clothing, the best travel secret here is to think 'lightweight'. Whether it's summer or winter, there are clothes to keep you cool or warm, while not taking up much room in your luggage. Check out the ISIS website for a smart collection of clothes that roll up into a tiny space and arrive wrinkle free.

9. Travel guides can quickly turn your luggage into a nightmare. Books are heavy! Once you've nailed down your itinerary, go through your travel guides and remove the relevant pages. Put these pages in a 3-ring binder. On each day of your travels, slip the day's pages in your money belt for ready reference. This travel secret is worth its weight in pounds you don't have to sift through and lug around.

10. Pack clothing as though you were going away for a weekend instead of two or three weeks. Depending on the weather, a pair of jeans, shorts, a few tees, one nice day and evening outfit, along with a couple of pairs of shoes is really all you need. Wear the bulkiest clothes in flight. In ten minutes each evening, you can wash undies and tees for a fresh start tomorrow.

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