The holidays are coming up, everything is organized, but you are dreading the packing? Are you the kind of traveler who somehow never manages to pack the backpack without turning it into chaos? We have collected the five most common mistakes in packing and explain how to avoid them.
Mistake 1: Folded, not rolled
One of the easiest ways to drastically reduce the volume of your luggage is so obvious that it is often overlooked: Roll your clothes when packing. Nothing else saves more space in your backpack and at the same time protects your shirts and trousers from wrinkles.
Everything is rollable, from jeans to women’s underpants. You will be amazed how much space you will have for souvenirs in the future.
Mistake 2: Ignore the weight
To be able to carry your backpack as comfortably as possible, you should ideally pack your belongings systematically rather than at random. The following basic rules apply:
- Voluminous, light objects (sneakers, down jacket, travel pillow) belong in the bottom compartment.
- Carry heavy items close to your back (jeans, camera, laptop, toiletry bag).
- Things you need frequently are stored in the lid compartment or in your daypack.
You can spread the rest of your stuff in the rest of the backpack. To avoid having to rummage around constantly, it is clever to pack your underwear and pajamas at the top. If necessary, you can wear the same thing for two days in a row without unpacking the whole backpack.
Mistake 3: Wasted space
This trick is often used by business travelers, but it is also a great idea for backpackers: Stuff your rolled socks into your shoes to save space! Like this, you always know where your socks are and use the dead space within the shoes most efficiently.
Mistake 4: Confusing backpacking with a beach or wellness holiday
This happens mainly to inexperienced female backpackers: A trip of several weeks through South America, Australia or Southeast Asia isn’t a wellness trip. You will most likely live in hostels with shared bathrooms. In such establishments you don’t want to spend half an hour in front of the mirror, but as little time as possible. Guaranteed.
A good way to save weight and space is to only pack the most essential personal care products such as shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, deodorant, face cream and hair brush. This is absolutely sufficient while travelling and allows you to bring along some great beach dresses and souvenirs.
If you can’t help it and want to wear make-up, you should opt for a minimized version: Mascara, eyeliner, maximum one color eye shadow, powder and concealer should be enough. Exception: sun screen. It’s very expensive abroad, better take a big bottle from home.
You should buy a large microfiber travel towel for the beach. It is considerably lighter than an ordinary bath towel and has a very small packing volume. Additionally, it might be worthwhile to buy a small travel towel for the bathroom (although the ultralight traveler will omit it). This tip applies to both men and women.
If you are planning a beach holiday in a hotel – no problem, pack up what you need to relax. It is highly likely that they have fluffy towels on site, you can leave them at home. But don’t forget your bathrobe.
Mistake 5: Considering travel as a multimedia super event
Travelling without a smartphone or camera? Absolutely not possible in today’s times. There are countless useful travel apps to enrich your holiday. And of course, it’s the easiest way to stay in touch with friends and family.
However, there are many technical gadgets that you might consider leaving at home. If you travel with your laptop, GoPro, tablet, music box, smartwatch and other beloved accessories, you will always be afraid that your treasures will one day find a new owner involuntarily.
Therefore, think twice about what you really need (and what you don’t) on your journey. If you are travelling for several months or years, it is obvious that you should take a laptop or at least a tablet with you (sometimes, you just want to watch a series). If you want to earn money on your trip, it’s probably worth taking an expensive camera, GoPro or drone. All other backpackers will draw attention with the valuable equipment and might become a target for theft or robbery. So, leave what you don’t really need at home. Your smartphone can do just about anything anyway.
Do you have any more questions about packing? Our packing list for backpackers and world travelers will help you – you can find it here.