Packing Your Bags – Top 10 Tips

When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money. – Susan Heller

So you are off on your next big backpacking adventure? Great! By packing right your experience will be a lot smoother. Here are some practical advice on how to pack better. Start by taking a good hard look at the stuff you want to bring. Do you really need all of it? Remember that you will be the one having to carry all that stuff (unless you have a wussy boyfriend).

1. Do not leave packing your bag until two hours before your plane leaves, chances are you will forget something important.

2. If your backpack is full and you are unable to close it ask someone to hold the zippers together while you zip up.

3. Put shoes you pack in a plastic bag to keep them from making the rest of your stuff dirty.

4. If you move from a low altitude to a higher altitude take care when opening your bottles since the air inside the bottles expand and the contents can explode in your face. To avoid this, make sure you squeeze the bottles a little to get rid of the air before you close them. Don’t use full containers.

5. Seal containers with liquids using gaffer tape and put them in a plastic bag in case they leak.

6. Your choice of clothing depends on several factors such as temperature, weather, which parts of the country will you visit, what you will do, what is considered appropriate, etc.

7. Pick colors where dirt does not show easily (darker colors are better but they sometimes tend to lose their color from sun and laundry). Get fabrics which dry fast, cotton usually takes a long time to dry. It is often more convenient to use several thin layers of clothes instead of one big bulky item of clothing (e.g. a coat), especially if you only need the warm clothes a few times.

8. You can buy stuff when you get to your destination as well. Clothing may be a lot cheaper and also if you buy locally it will be suitable to the climate. As a bonus you blend in better with the locals.

9. While you have a look at all your stuff it can be a good idea to think of which clothes match and can be combined (if that is of a concern in the middle of Kalahari).

10. When you are on the road a little creativity goes a long way when you find out that you did not pack that particular item. As an example, we have on occasion used dental floss for the following purposes:

* Belt* Shoelace* Clothes line* Attaching a fake spider to one end and the other end to a stick. Then using this contraption to scare girls while the were sitting around a campfire in the jungles of Borneo* Apparently you can even use it to clean your teeth!