Air travel packing tips – Sometimes less is more

When it comes to planning your journey you may consider going to your destinations by plane. Sometimes you will not only stay at one place either and you will travel to some other locations, in many cases also by plane. If you do so, a huge pile of luggage can be very bothersome at some point. Here we want to share with you some of our best air travel packing tips for improving your overall travel experience.

Finding the appropriate piece of luggage for your air travel

  • When you travel by plane you should try to avoid bulky luggage pieces as they might get damaged. For example, backpacks may be more comfortable to carry than a suitcase for you but it may happen (and happened to us as well) that – for example – straps or clasps of the backpack get ripped off or get damaged on the way from the bag-drop to the airplane or while loading or unloading to the airplane. It may also happen that non-standardised, bulky luggage pieces have to be carried on to a separate bag-drop for bulky items what may cause delays and inconvenience.
  • We would also advise you to use a waterproof solution. We have experienced that the content of your luggage can get really wet at some airports if it rains and the staff there doesn’t take too much care about that.
  • You should also consider not locking your luggage. It is very likely that the security staff at the airport will have a look at what’s inside your luggage and they will most likely not be very careful when doing so. My wife had to laugh about it but I was a bit annoyed about what happened to my luggage on a flight to Brisbane, Australia: When I opened my suitcase in our accommodation I found tons of crumbs and pieces of a papadum between my clothes and my other belongings. Obviously someone of the security staff at the airport opened my suitcase while having supper and forgot half of his meal in there!

What to take with you – and what you better leave at home

Once you have found the appropriate piece of luggage for your journey you have to start thinking about what you will take with you and what you want to leave at home. You have several restrictions in this respect – especially if you want travel by plane and want to avoid paying some extra for overweight luggage. Here are some of our air travel packing tips:

  • Depending on your travel destination avoid taking with you too many “big” pieces of clothes like long-sleeve sweaters, jackets etc. You will usually (at least we do) carry to many clothes with you. Better think of alternatives like doing your laundry during your journey. That can be fun as well: I remember walking with my wife through Singapore with our laundry bags and finally found a laundry service in China Town! It was pretty interesting there! And while we were waiting for our laundry we had the chance to get some really good food there as well in the meantime!
  • Despite the above advise still make sure that you have clothes with you for all possible destinations and weather conditions that might prevail there. At the beginning of your journey you may not always be 100% sure what locations you will visit. But probably you will not go from the Maldives to the Antarctica anyway.
  • Use one luggage piece only. You will probably not need any more. My wife and I have been traveling for over 4,5 months at one time and we didn’t need more than we had with us in one suitcase each.
  • Bulky items like skies or surfboards for example should be better left at home if possible. You can rent a skiing equipment anyway as long as you travel to a skiing resort and not the Caribbean! 😉
  • Shampoos and shower gel (as well as many other sanitary products) are also available in small packages or may even be available for free at your accommodation. Also, make sure that you pack them well (e.g. in a separate plastic bag). They will leak for sure at some time and you do not want to have your shampoo on your other belongings!
  • Read the airline’s guideline regarding what you are allowed to carry in your hand luggage and check-in luggage, especially regarding batteries, liquids and lighters as well as other “dangerous” stuff. You certainly do not want to have them removed!

What you may want to have with you in the cabin

  • Most modern aircraft offer more (or less) in-flight entertainment but you may want to have your own personal stuff with you like magazines, books, entertainment electronics, music player etc.
  • We have also noticed that more often than not the supply with drinking water can represent a problem during a (long) flight. As you should drink enough refreshments on board in order not to dehydrate make sure you have some extra water with you. As you may not be allowed to take any liquids with you past the security control a refillable water flask that you can fill up again before take off (or even on the plane) may be a good solution!
  • If you want to sleep during your flight (or want to try at least) a travel neck pillow might be of advantage.

Other air travel packing tips – what else you should consider

  • Put a name tag onto your luggage. I thought I’d have a unique suitcase but one time on a journey I came across someone else who had exactly the same!
  • If you forget something: Do not worry too much and do not let your good mood be ruined. You may end up noticing that you do not necessarily need what you forgot or you will most likely get it somewhere else – even a new camera, mobile phones or shoes (as long as you do not travel to an Asian country and have big feet as I do :-D).
  • Do not pack “sensible” items like cameras, computers, breakables in your check-in luggage. The staff at the airport will probably not handle it with care!
  • Avoid heavy items in your hand luggage as you will have to carry them all the time.

Start your holiday relaxed – at home already

Make it as easy as possible: Think first, if you want you can create a list of items you wish to take with you, do not overload, and consider guidelines regarding dangerous goods by your airline. Nearly everyone owns too much stuff and needs only a small percentage of it on a regular basis. What I want to say: If you do not wear clothes at home you will probably not wear them on your holiday as well. Many items you do not use at home you will probably not use on your journey, too (except for your action camera perhaps ;-)). Take only necessary stuff with you. It is as easy as that! Plan, pack, travel and enjoy!

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