Monday, August 17, 2015

Travel light and keep it right!

Do you tend to get that feeling that you are forgetting something while 
you are stepping out for your trip? If the answer to that is a yes, then here are some tips that will make your packing nightmares go away. Let me get straight into it.

Prepare a list of things that you need
I have a list that I use for all my travel plans. There have been some trips which forced me to prepare this list. It’s a pretty exhaustive one and has been useful during the past ten+ years. After making this list, I have traveled both domestic and international without forgetting anything. You must start preparing this list a few days prior to your travel. Since all of us carry a mobile, use it to note any item(s) and keep updating it as and when you remember something. This list can be used as a starting point for all your future travels.
Tip: Remove 'just-in-case' kind of items from your list and remember to use this list while packing your stuff on your way back home.

Choice of luggage by size and type
This is the next thing that needs to be decided. Which bag should I use?
Will one big size suitcase be sufficient? Will the bag be sufficient to fir stuff that I would buy from the destination?
Another key aspect is to know the luggage (check-in and cabin) allowance that you have from the carrier you are travelling with. Answering these questions will get you started with the right size suitcase/bag. If you are travelling on business, choose a hard case suitcase with wheels for packing. This will keep your formal suit in ready-to-wear condition. And if you are travelling for leisure, choose something that can accommodate your stuff and still leave some room for shopping at the destination.
Tip: Do not over-engineer while packing

If you have to travel frequently on business
You need to have a ready suitcase with the basics all the time. In this, its OK if you forget your toothbrush and shaving kit as the hotel will provide you with such items. But it is important to have the formal suits, ties and shoes in ready to wear condition. So the choice of suitcase is critical. In case you have a connecting flight, you may want to keep some back-up clothes in the hand baggage as well. Once, my check-in baggage arrived two days after I landed in New Delhi. This may happen because of some fault in the baggage transfer especially during connecting flights. Also pack your handbag carefully. Ensure that objectionable items (based on the geographies you will be traveling) are not in your handbag.
Tip: If your (spending) capacity permits, you could have two such ready-to-go bags. This way you always will have a fresh bag ready for your next business trip. (other one can go for laundry :))

Keep a weighing machine at home
Ensure that the weight of your baggage does not exceed the prescribed limit of the flight. If you can't help exceeding the weight limit, transfer some stuff to your hand baggage. Note that these days the airlines have strict hand baggage size and weight restrictions. So, you may have to remove something to keep it light or be willing to pay for the extra weight.

Traveling with a back pack
This is the best way of traveling and also my favorite one. The mantra is "keep it light". Just place all your stuff in a back pack and you are ready to go. Some accessories such as a belt bag is also useful. It can contain important documents such as IDs, tickets, cash and may be some candies or chocolates.

Care for the environment 
There are many tourist destinations that have gone plastic bags free. While going completely green would be AMAZING, I won't say don't use plastic bags and stuff. I know that is not possible. With almost everything have a plastic component, it has become an important part of our lives. I would only request you to dispose your plastic waste at a properly and not dump it as per your convenience.

Final Questions
Prepare a check list 
Before you exist the door, this one is a must and is different from the first point listed at the beginning of this post. Ask your self the following questions.
  • Where are you going, do you have a necessary travel adaptor?
  • In case you are on your way back to home, have you packed everything that you brought?
  • Do you have the tickets for you and co-travellers?
  • Do you have sufficient cash/forex?
  • Do you have your debit card?
  • Do you have your photo ID (passport if traveling internationally)?
  • Are you having a copy of your travel insurance?
  • Are you carrying your prescribed medication?
  • Are you dressed as per the weather and packed for it?
Tip: Keep a copy of all documents on the cloud.

I hope these tips will help you while packing for your next vacation. Please share with me if you have some tricks that work for you or if you have any other thoughts.

Keep environment in your mind and enjoy your trip!

P.S. Leave on time and don't forget the camera