Whether for business or pleasure, traveling is usually an exciting experience. What’s less fun is the packing that precedes it. That’s why TravelInsurance.com put together this set of travel packing hacks, so you can spend less time staring at your suitcase like it’s some unsolvable puzzle!
As travel insurance professionals, we meet many people who travel even more extensively than ourselves (which is saying something!) Unsurprisingly, these intrepid souls have packing down to a fine art and will often share their insights with us. Here are six hacks to get you on the move:
1 – Check Your List(s)
Keep a checklist for different types of travel — international or domestic; personal or professional; short stay or extended time away. All have different requirements that will influence how and what you pack. Maintaining a dedicated list for each gives you a quick reference guide that will also steer you away from packing unnecessary items. Apps like Evernote or Google Keep are perfect for creating your travel checklist.
2 – Take a Picture
If you are more of a visual person, lay out all of the items you intend to pack on the bed before putting them in your case. Take a picture to serve as the reference for future trips and provide a visual record of the contents, just in case your luggage gets lost or stolen. This will be helpful if you have to make a claim.
3 – Double Check Your Documents
One of the most important categories to cover on your checklist is documentation. Getting every useful document down in list form will prompt you to organize them ahead of time, all in one place. Some emergency documents and contacts you might not have considered are:
- Telephone number and address of the nearest embassy. Visit the US State Department’s travel site for contact information, a handy traveler’s checklist and important travel alerts that may include your destination
- Multiple emergency family contacts while away,
- Your travel insurance policy’s confirmation of benefits–this will include the details of your coverage and also the contact information for any 24/7 emergency global assistance available with your policy.
Keep a dedicated folder for these items. You can also use it to file receipts for important purchases and for necessary documents (related to the insurance claims process), such as medical visit documentation/receipts and police reports for stolen items
Keep photocopies of important documents and store them separately from your wallet and actual travel documents. In the event you lose your passport or wallet, having copies will make it immeasurably easier to cancel your credit cards and to report your lost passport.
4 – Roll for Relaxing, Fold for Formal
When it comes to actually packing your bags, most travelers ask the same question: roll it or fold it?
The answer depends on what you are packing. For a beach vacation, rolling bathing suits, t-shirts, and shorts is a great way to keep your suitcase light. If your clothes need to be neat and as wrinkle-free as possible, stick to folding. On the other hand, folded clothes can be ironed more easily or hung in a steamy bathroom for five minutes.
As a rule of thumb, remember that rolling is mostly for clothes you can relax in, while formal attire prefers the fold.
5 – Maximize Your Miniatures
Not the alcoholic variety, although some security lines may make you crave a cocktail! The minis we recommend are travel toiletries like toothpaste, shampoo, gel, and any other essential bathroom product you’re going to need. Also, if you’re going with carry-ons only, anything larger than a mini will be taken away at security. Not only are these miniature versions lighter and space-saving, they’re much easier to slide into an accessible space if you want to quickly freshen up when you arrive.
6 – Review and Revise
When you get home from your trip, take a few minutes to look at what you used while away. Revisit your checklist when you get home and cross off any items that did not make it out of the bag. This helps to keep non-essential items out of your travel plans next time. If every item was essential, give yourself a pat on the back: you’ve become a travel packing hacker!
By Stan Sandberg, TravelInsurance.com Co-Founder.