1. If organization is not your strong point, be sure to write a list of all the items you need to take with you. That way you’re guaranteed to remember to bring important everyday items such as hats, sunglasses, underwear and a toothbrush (they’re easy to forget).
2. Buy a suitcase in an unusual colour to set it apart from the pack. If you already own a suitcase in a common colour (black, blue or red), tie a piece of bright, patterned or unusually coloured ribbon to the handle. It’ll make it easier to spot your bag on the luggage carousel.
3. If you’re travelling with a spouse, partner or friend, don’t try to cram both of your belongings into one bag. You may think you’re being clever and “saving space”, but it doesn’t cost you anything extra for each of you to check in or each take a bag on the plane and the additional space in your luggage can be used to take gifts (if you’re visiting friends or family) or to bring back souvenirs. There’s also less chance of your clothing being creased and you don’t have to worry about your bag weighing over the recommended weight on the flight back home. Plus, if you have to live out of your suitcase for a few weeks, it’ll make it easier for you to access all your belongings when you have a little extra suitcase space to play with.
4. When packing, pick one basic colour and build your holiday wardrobe around it. This will give you plenty of mix-and-match options and outfits to choose from.
5. Always pack a pair of sneakers. There may be a museum, park or other sightseeing destination that you may want to visit and will need to do some walking.
6. Pack shoes that can be worn with multiple outfits and not just one. Once you’ve selected the shoes you’ll be taking with you, wear the bulkiest pair on the plane to save you luggage space.
7. Rolling your clothes instead of folding them is a much more economical use of the space in your luggage. Rolling your clothes can lead to far fewer wrinkles, especially in delicate fabrics like silk, linen and chiffon.
8. Wrap shoes in a plastic bag before packing them into your suitcase. They may not be dirty now, but you never know what they’ll look like once you’ve worn them and it will save your clothes from becoming dirty, especially if you’re travelling to multiple places on your holiday.
9. Pack a sarong. This simple piece of cotton fabric that can have multiple uses: a picnic blanket, a fast drying towel, a travel pillow, tied into a bag for carrying things, can be used for sun protection, as well as being a great beach accessory! This lightweight item is so versatile that it would be stupid not to pack it.
10. Take a few various sized clear Ziploc plastic bags with you. You can use them to store make-up or bottles of liquids that may leak, for keeping your dirty clothes separate, storing souvenirs and just generally keeping your bag neatly organized.
11. Be sure to weigh all your baggage before arriving at the airport, airlines love to charge for any bags that weigh over the recommended limit. It’s not worth the extra charge!
12. Use a soft bag or even a duffel as a carry-on luggage. You’ll be less likely to have it gate-checked because it can more easily squeezed into the overhead bins.
13. Keep lip balm into your hand luggage, preferably one with some SPF protection. You’ll need it to keep your lips hydrated on those air-conditioned, long haul flights and to provide some sun protection while you’re on holiday.
14. Use hand sanitizer. Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer as well. Because you’re exposed to so many germs while travelling, keep a small bottle in your hand luggage to kill germs without drying out your skin.
15. Pack a spare pair of underwear and a change of clothes in your carry-on just in case your luggage goes missing. That way you won’t be completely stuck without all your belongings for a couple of days.
16. Double-check the foreign documents you’ll need to travel with. Some countries require a visa for entry. Others, like South Africa, won’t allow entrance unless a traveler’s passport contains at least two blank, unstamped pages.
17. If you are traveling out of the country take a copy of your passport. You’ll probably never need it, but if you lose your passport, having a copy greatly expedites the process of getting a new one. A scanned copy that you e-mail to yourself works fine.
18. Learn the three-letter airport code for your final destination and make sure that your bag gets labeled properly when you’re checking it in. The codes aren’t always obvious abbreviations, so check the list at https://www.world-airport-codes.com
19. If possible, pay for your checked bags online. It’s often cheaper than at the airport.
20. Avoid wearing layered jewelry and boots or shoes with lots of buckles while you’re travelling through airports. If possible, wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off at security checkpoints.
21. If you’re travelling without children, never join the airport security line with kids in it. Go for the one with business travelers dressed in suits. It will move much quicker.
22. Long flights are dehydrating. Ask for water or fruit juice every chance you get and try to stay hydrated. Avoid drinking coffee or alcohol and only have minimal amounts of sugar until the flight is almost over.
23. Eat light meals offered on the plane, even if you don’t feel hungry. Eating small, light meals can help to prevent motion sickness.
24. To combat motion-sickness, take an anti-emetic an hour before you may need it and then every 6 hours while flying (driving or boating). If you’re not a fan of tablets, try using 1000mg of dried ginger root (available in most health food stores) before travelling and again four hours later, if necessary.
25. To help prevent jet lag, avoid doing the math to figure out what time it is back home. Immediately adjust your watch to the local time of your destination once you’re on the plane and plan your in-flight sleep so that you’re asleep while it’s nighttime at your destination and wake up when it’s morning there.
26. Avoid cramps or the possibility of suffering from DVT (a blood clot in your leg) during long flights by taking short walks every hour. While you’re seated, rotate your ankles, do seated calf raises and don’t cross your legs.
27. This one’s for the ladies. Use panty liners. This applies even if you’re no longer menstruating. Panty liners can easily be changed every 4 hours to keep you feeling fresh during a long-haul flight and it’ll save you from throwing away a perfectly decent pair of panties at the end of the flight.
28. If it is night when you arrive at your destination, do your best to sleep or at least rest. If it’s morning do everything you can to stay awake. If you find that you are totally exhausted, try to hold out for a short afternoon nap.
29. If you’re staying in one destination for a while and are provided with cupboard or shelf space, unpack when you arrive and then have a look at what freebies have been provided in the bathroom before heading out to buy any necessary essentials.
30. Did you forget to pack a toothbrush or deodorant? Before rushing out to the nearest pharmacy, try calling reception at your hotel or B&B. Most places will have a supply of basic essentials.
31. If you are in a country where it is unsafe to drink the water, keep your mouth shut in the shower, use bottled water when brushing your teeth and order all your drinks without ice.
32. Look for restaurants that are busy and filled with local residents. If the locals eat there, it’s generally a sure sign that the food is good.
33. If you’re traveling on a budget, look for free activities around your hotel or B&B. Look though websites for listings of parades, festivals, fairs, art shows, outdoor movie screenings, parks, museums that don’t charge admission.
34. Sprinkling some baby powder on your feet and legs will allow you to instantly brush off any sand that may be stuck to you.
35. Read your hotel bill carefully. If there’s something on it you don’t recognize, talk to a manager. Once you leave the hotel, fixing your bill gets much harder.
36. Finally, travel with an open mind. You’ll discover a lot more that way.