Following on from my post, How to Avoid Over Packing, I thought I’d share my packing process for my first White Christmas in Russia & Germany. Packing for new destinations and new climates can be overwhelming to say the least. So, I thought I’d share how I tackle packing in the hope that it can help one of you during your next trips.
If you haven’t already, I’d suggest reading my previous post linked above as I’ll be referring to it throughout this blog post.
Before I Pack
Before I even begin to pack, there are a number of things I consider. The small steps you take before packing can actually save you so much time AND MONEY in the end. So it’s important to set aside time to plan your packing – more so if you’re visiting a new destination.
Is my luggage in good, functioning condition? Is it big enough? Does it need to be aired out?
I ask myself all of the above before I start pulling clothes out of my wardrobe. Inspect your luggage thoroughly! There is nothing worse than realising the day before you leave for your trip that one of your wheels is not rolling or your strap is broken. Desired luggage size will vary greatly depending on person, location, duration, and season but it’s important to consider whether you have enough room, need more, or could perhaps downsize. Also, no matter who you are, where you go, or what you’ll be doing, it’s so important to air your luggage out – both before and after use. Odour will cling to you clothing. If you think you don’t need to air your luggage, you might as well skip washing your clothing before hand and maybe leave those clothes in there until your next holiday. You don’t want to be smelling like moth balls on your next adventure.
This is probably the most time consuming aspect of packing but the most important. I research my destination and climate thoroughly a few months/weeks out from leaving. Doing this will give me a rough idea of what I need to pack and plenty of time to purchase any new items if needed. I also make an effort to research what the locals are wearing. The following is a perfect example as to why you should too…
During my initial research for my trip to Russia and Germany over the Christmas/New Years period, I was almost led to the shops to buy a whole new winter wardrobe to get me through the snow, rain and average daily temperature of 0°. It would have cost me hundreds of dollars to do so, and that was money I didn’t want to spend. So I researched what the locals wear during the freezing cold winters, and I’m glad I did. Turns out, they wear light layers during winter. The reason – varying temperatures. Everywhere in Russia and Germany is heated during the winter season, which is why it’s not uncommon to see locals in some questionable outfits. One of the biggest complaints from tourists visiting these destinations during winter was that it was too warm. They’d wear the thickest blends they could get their hands on without taking into consideration how venues and locations accommodated people during the winter months. The lesson? Do your research.
I always ensure that I plan my itinerary ahead of departure, it makes the process of packing so much easier when I known what activities I’ll be doing. It creates a limit and reduces the likelihood of packing unnecessary items whilst allowing you to pack what you actually need. I have booked a ticket to see Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s, The Nutcracker Ballet, so I know I need to pack an outfit suitable for a night at thee theatre.
Like I mentioned in my previous blog post, How to Avoid Over Packing, I plan my outfits a head of time. There are so many ways to do this, and how you choose to do it will depend on the time, effort and facilities you have access to.
I used to be able to just lay my clothing out and try them on in the mirror, but I no longer own a full length mirror and I don’t really have the space to lay out multiple outfits in my room. So I’ve resorted to digital planning.
If I have the time I will search for an image of the exact item I own, but when I’m pressed for time or of it’s no longer available, I find similar styles. Cutting and pasting enables me to view my outfits as a whole rather than just individual pieces. It makes me feel like I’m not getting dressed blind.
Roll or Fold
When it comes to the great packing debate of whether you should roll or fold you clothing, the answer is neither one or the other, but both. Fabric type, care, and ability to compact are only a few of the factors that influence how you should pack your clothing. After doing research on every individual item of clothing I own (not a great deal), I use a combination of both folding and rolling.
Dividing and Sectioning
Whether you roll, fold, or both, I’d highly encourage you to invest in some quality packing cubes. No only do they allow you to organise your clothing within your luggage, the right ones can be reduced in size once filled to save space. Personally, I sort mine into clothing categories (tops, bottoms, intimates etc.) before packing them into the cubes, but I do know of people who prefer to pack as a whole outfit – when you think about it, this method would save you so much time when getting ready in the morning, but the thought of the disorganisation, especially if you mix and match items like I do, makes me highly uncomfortable. At the end of the day though, it’s about finding a system that works for you!
When it comes to putting everything in your case, it’s important to distribute the weight evenly across the bottom of your case or bag. Luggage that hasn’t been packed properly puts you, and others, at risk of injury – whether thats back/shoulder/neck injury for carrying too much weight on one side or injury to yourself or others from a falling case. Not packing properly also wears your luggage faster – straps and bags are best preserved when weight is evenly distributed rather that concentrated in one area and the same can be said for cases, too much pressure on one or more of the wheels can lead to damage. Always pack your heavier items towards to base of your luggage and your light weight items on top to avoid being squashed.
I always do a final check before I leave for the airport to make sure I’ve got everything, including any important documents and electronics.
Just remember though, that no matter how prepared you are, sometimes things get left behind. We are all human and we all forget things, especially when we have other things going on in our heads when packing. Enjoy the process of packing and learn from any challenges or mistakes along the way. Happy travels!
Take a Look Inside My Case. Head over to my Instagram later today and watch my stories to take a peek inside my case and see what exactly I’ve packed for my trip to Russia & Germany.