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How to pack like a pro – from someone who knows.

Allianz
Thanks to our brand partner, Allianz

Packing was never one of my strengths.

I used to just throw stuff in, knowing that if I forgot anything I could just buy it later. I’m pretty sure I deliberately forgot things so I could go shopping, but that’s a confession for another time.

My deliberately-forgetting-to-pack-things strategy did prove costly. And adding a husband and three children to the mix meant that packing perfectly eventually became more important.

From forgotten phone chargers, medication, undies and other essentials, I’ve learned the hard way how to pack like a pro.

Here’s how…

1. Make a list.

How you pack is dependent on location, the weather at that location and the length of time you’ll be away.

A great first step is to sit down and make a list. You’ll need a list of general items everyone will need and then smaller lists for each of your travel companions.

packing tips
“You’ll need a list of general items everyone will need and then smaller lists for each of your travel companions.” Image via iStock.

2. Lay it all out.

Once you have your initial list, start laying it all out and surveying it. You’ll think of things you need to add and things you’ll need to buy.

Make any necessary adjustments to your list as you go so you can refer to it just before packing to make sure nothing has been forgotten.

3. Consult your itinerary.

Make sure you know exactly what sorts of activities are on offer at your destination and pack for the ones you’d like to participate in. If you like bushwalking, pack some good walking shoes. If you want to lie on the beach, pack all your good swimsuits.

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packing tips
“If you want to lie on the beach, pack all your good swimsuits.” Image via iStock.

Note down activities from your itinerary and make necessary additions.

4. Go shopping.

Yes, you get to go shopping before you even leave. You might want to purchase some small bottles of shampoo and conditioner in case your hotel doesn’t have enough, purchase proper containers for toothbrushes and the like.

Avoid buying clothes and anything you don’t need. You want to do some shopping when you get there, after all.

5. Be cold, be ruthless.

Once everything is laid out, conduct a cold and ruthless sweep of all items.

Do you need three bikinis or could you survive with just two? Do you need two kinds of toothpaste or can you all use one? Do you really need a hair straightener in humid climates, or can you let your hair go free-range?

packing tips
“Once everything is laid out, conduct a cold and ruthless sweep of all items.” Image via iStock.
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6. Pack before you pack.

Package everything you can to restrict as much movement as possible. Plastic sandwich bags work really well, as do the smaller snack bags.

Then start rolling all items of clothing, stuffing socks into shoes and basically reducing the amount of room it will take once packed.

7. Think jigsaw puzzle.

Think of it like a jigsaw puzzle as you place everything in. You’ll want to place anything delicate within clothing to avoid damage and then start rolling it all out and placing it in.

It’s so helpful to pack clothing as outfits. So roll things up together if you can. Put underwear near night clothes and so on and so forth.

packing tips
“It’s so helpful to pack clothing as outfits so roll things up together if you can. Put underwear near night clothes and so on and so forth.” Image via iStock.

8. Carry-on is key.

We’ve all heard stories of delayed, lost and stolen luggage. That’s why your carry-on luggage is key. You need to ensure you have all crucial items on you, just in case you don’t get access to the luggage you’ve checked in.

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Make sure you pack all your medications, some basic toiletries, a change of underwear, chargers and anything else you might need that you can’t buy easily.

9. Plan for weight restrictions.

Luggage weight restrictions can vary wildly, as much as seven kilos, depending on where you are travelling and which airline you are on. Ring ahead and ask what the weight restrictions are.

The most annoying variations have to do with carry-on luggage, so find out what the requirement is and pack to satisfy the lightest restrictions, otherwise you’ll find yourself repacking in the middle of the airport. You might also consider sending packages of items you don’t need home ahead of returning.

packing tips
“Ring ahead and ask what weight restrictions are.” Image via iStock.

10. Get travel insurance.

Good travel insurance is so important, because you never know what challenges you may face while travelling. Comprehensive cover is a great idea for travellers going overseas because it can cover unexpected medical expenses or cancellation costs if your travels are impacted by circumstances out of your control — like a sudden medical emergency or natural disaster. Allianz Travel Insurance has a range of policies for all types of travellers and any budget.

It also has access to a global medical network – so that means if you have a general question, need to make an insurance claim, or require emergency medical assistance, one phone call to their 24/7 Australia-based call centre is all it takes. Phew.

How do you prepare for a trip?

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