On Talk Travel Asia Episode 64, we offer the best packing tips from Scott, Trevor, and the Talk Travel Asia community. For this episode we decided to crowdsource, asking our friends and fans on Facebook to help us brainstorm a topic, Packing Tips. Packing is always a bit tricky: you never know exactly what the weather will be like, there are always items you’re never quite sure you’ll need, and it seems that no matter what, you’ll always either bring too much of something or not enough of another.
Trevor: My dad is a famously spare packer. He brings so little clothes on a trip, assuming that he can just buy t-shirts or whatever along the way (which is a great packing tip when traveling to the developed world where clothing is cheap) or actually brings clothes he doesn’t want any more and then leaves items behind as they get dirty. Once, we were coming back from Colombia and he didn’t have a checked bag, but I did and the customs asked me: What’s in the bag son? Thinking that he was using me as a drug mule!
Trevor’s top three packing tips:
- Always bring more underwear and socks than you think you will need: it’s always better to have too many socks than wear dirty ones. Lots of people agreed with me on this one, including Darren Scott, who says, “If you are going to a hot country or doing lots of physical activity you need good underwear, and lots of it, that won’t chafe. Nothing worse than swass!”
- Always bring a swimsuit: you can always use it as underwear or to exercise in, but really, its way better to have a swimsuit if you need one than the other way around: and it barely takes up any place.
- Never do laundry the night before your departure. If it doesn’t dry, you’re fucked.
Scott’s top four packing tips:
- Start early: this is really anal but for me it helps. Lay things out counting days you can use them and which ones you can hand wash. An early Start is key
- Use Google maps offline and star things.
- Carry the essentials – electronics, headphones but also a toothbrush and toothpaste, first aid and headlamp!!. Priceless.
- 100ml travel bottles to put booze in.
Now let’s go to our friend’s and fan’s tips:
Tara Dactyl and Gretchen Alther both recommend packing cubes, which I’d never heard of. I asked if they were like 21st century stuff sacks. Tara says they are key: that the cubes allow you to keep your things shaped like a square or rectangle so everything stacks and packs straighter than German soldiers standing in line.
Junita Calder, who gives a third vote for the cube concept but uses cloth drawstring bags instead of official “packing cubes” – which goes well with my stuff-sack opinion. Trevor mostly uses the stuff-sacks for socks and underwear and then use for dirty clothes. Rob McKerlie is on Trevor’s side of the stuff-sack debate.
Junita also had the clever idea of packing garments from the inside out, from the bottom up…so start with socks, then shoes, underwear, then trousers, skirts, bras, tops, warm tops, hats. So you don’t forget anything. Junita agrees with Max Horsley on the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy philosophy of bringing a towel, whether its an actual towel, scarf, loungyi, etc. I’m more of a sarong guy. Sometimes I bring two, because they’re so versatile: towel, clothing, blanket, etc. Junita doesn’t pack hers because she uses it as a blanket on the plane.
Jeff Wigmore says roll, don’t fold, which I agree to some degree. I also think stuff is great, but then things can get wrinkled. Matt Innes and Reid Ridgeway say bring a plastic bag for dirty clothes and shoes. I have oversized zip locks for my shoes: that helps keep smells and loose dirt contained.
Scott Angelmaier says don’t forget your flip flops, which can double as shower shoes in sketchy hotels. I think you should just always travel with slippers like that. They pack flat and are just so functional.
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