Having the travel bug can be amazingly rewarding – and stressful. I’ve had the travel bug for most of my life – my family was always into travel. Since we’ve stopped our big vacations together, I find myself uneasy when stuck in one place for too long. Since coming to university, I started taking big trips on my own.
Traveling solo is a beautiful thing, but it can be difficult and anxiety-filled. Getting ready to go to Israel on my own for two months I got to thinking again on how I prepared for my past travels.
This past summer I traveled to Asia for three weeks with only a carry-on bag. As my first longer, out-of-country trip, packing three weeks worth of “necessities” in a carry-on was fairly difficult. After reading all the blogs and watching all the YouTube videos I could find, I finally felt ready to pack my tiny bag. In order to ensure as much smooth sailing as possible – because we know how life throws curve balls – I’ve mapped out some tips I’ve learned along the way.
- Finding the perfect bag – research! What I did in order to find the perfect carry-on and not break the bank was lots and lots of research, from where to buy to what airlines allow. It seemed to me that the bags you’ll find online are quite pricy so I took a drive to my local Ross and Marshalls. I found my perfect bag at Ross. My criteria was carry-on size, multiple handles, outside pockets, and wheels. I found it all in one. Walking out of the automatic sliding glass doors of Ross I felt superior and also a bit defeated. I took a lot of time out of my day researching bags when my perfect fit was a five-minute drive from my house. At least now I can tell you everything there is to know about what airlines require what dimensions as “carry-on” bags.
- Neutrals are your best friend. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer in a pop of color making an outfit. But when it comes to packing for a long trip you’re going to want a lot of neutral colored clothes that all go with one another. I packed a few white, black, and gray tops with a pair of jeans, black leggings, and a gray skirt. Just to name a few clothes I packed… The scarf I packed for the temples of Southeast Asia had color – to satisfy my need to not being a walking monochromatic picture. Also, everywhere you go you’ll be able to do some type of laundry, whether you’re going to a laundromat or scrubbing your clothes in your sink. So you don’t need to pack for the amount of time you’ll be there. I packed for a week and did laundry when I ran out of clean clothes.
- Toiletries can and will fit. You can squeeze a month of toiletries into the mini bottles you get from Target or any drug store. There’s no reason to ditch the toiletries you’re used to when you travel. Especially if you’re going out of the country where they might not have the brands you so adore. The mini bottles will save your time, wallet, and frustration. Just make sure to put them in a plastic baggie because a shampoo explosion is sometimes inevitable.
- Roll roll roll!! This is the most important thing I learned through my research. I tested this because I didn’t think it was legit. After laying out everything I wanted to bring, I first placed it all in my bag folded and it didn’t fit. Feeling discouraged, I took it all out and rolled it into little burritos. Shoving it in my bag rolled up it fit with room to spare. Finally some real news on the internet.
- Mini backpack – my favorite find. Perusing the camping section of Walmart I stumbled across something that could’ve so easily been overlooked. This was a backpack that shmooshed into a little ball of nothing when you weren’t using it. Having a backpack handy is helpful when traveling because you’re not going to take your carry-on everywhere you go. Also, having a backpack that folds into itself when you’re not using it is so important because of the lack of space our carry-on bags have. This backpack fit the perfect amount of necessities and was surprisingly durable, considering the source. Here’s a picture of one that I found on the Walmart website. For the low price of $14.99, this baby can be all yours. It isn’t the exact one I have but I’m interested in getting this one for my next trip because it’s bigger and better.
That should get your packing endeavors started. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks about preparing for travel in all different kinds of ways. There are endless things to do before hopping on your flight across the country or world. The trick is remembering them all. And that’s what I’m here for!