My Top 10 Air Travel Packing Tips
For some people, packing for a trip is a breeze and not too much to think about. For others it can feel quite daunting:do you have everything, does it all fit, do I have all my travel papers together? Now add a kid or two (or three) in the mix, and you’re very likely cranking up that worry-dial to the max! Lord knows we pack up the entire house and the kitchen sink when we’re just heading to the grocery store with kids in tow. But if you put these few simple tips and tricks into play, you may just be able to bring that stress-dial down quite a few notches. At least for the packing bits.
For all the other stresses like the “are we there yets“, well, that’s another blog post all on it’s own. In fact, if you’re reading this, you may just also need to check out my “Survival Tips for air travel with baby and toddler” over here.
But for now, here, in no particular order, are my top 10 Air Travel Packing Tips:
No1. Roll, don’t fold. This was something I figured out myself. Why I feel so chuffed about that, I’m not exactly sure, but I do. And soon learnt from other real travelling experts that I was, in fact, doing it right. Travel expert:”Here let me show you how to pack *flings open my suitcase* oh…I see you’ve already done it.” 🙂
It takes up far less space and is wayyy quicker than neatly folding all your items, bit by bit. That goes for both yours and kids’ packing. And with kids in tow, we could all do with some extra space. In fact, once, I managed to pack enough clothes for four months in one suitcase using this method. Totally didnt need all those clothes, but it fitted in comfortably. #Justsaying.
Also, maybe I was not much of a casual shirt wearer before,or maybe most of my goods are of the “no-crease” kind, but if you are and already thinking of the crease factor with a “that’s not going to work for me“, then here is packing hack number two:
No 2.Pack your travelling iron in a bottle: A spritzer that removes creases? Yes, please! Let me introduce you to Downy wrinkle releaser! Never heard of it before? Me neither, that is until I swopped some packing hacks with other U.S travellers on my previous trips. Granted, it’s not available in South Africa (I think), you can still try and get it here on Amazon. It comes in a travel size too, so its perfect for airport security.
No 3. Shower cap for shoes: So, yeah, that shower cap is not so sexy for travelling with yo’ man, but they do have their uses!Like keeping grubby shoes seperated from your clothes in a compact way.
No 4.Shoe shield: Pack shoes( flats and tackies, not your precious heels)around your clothes and other less “sturdy” luggage items to act as a protective shield against airport luggage handlers’ well-known gentle touch.
No 5. No space for blanket or lack the krag to schlep around your own blanket? Over sized scarf to the rescue! This worked brilliantly for both my baby when she refused a heavy blanket on the airplane, as well for myself when on the airport itself has it’s aircon permenantly set to deep-freeze mode. It also made an awesome makeshift pillow for long stop overs and on the plane.
No 6.Hanging toiletry bag. There is no space to breathe in your extra large king size aeroplane bathroom, darlings, let alone roll out your beauty kit…And with all the puddles left behind by the previous highly considerate travellers, trust me, you’re not going to want to put your toiletry bag down anywhere most times. You could wipe up, yes…and most likely, you will have to in any case – ’cause you’re cool like that – but keeping your bag safe from that to begin with, is a super win.
You could also have one just for baby’s diaper goodies. That way you have everything still at hand, in an easy and compact way, making diaper changes a breeze in those tiny tunnels they call aeroplane bathrooms.
No7. Copies of all your documents everywhere. May seem a bit OCD-like, but when your shit gets lost in a foreign country, you’ll be grateful you did! Put copies into all the bags of each member of the family that’s travelling. Scan in copies and email it to yourself/spouse and another trusted party, and get them into the cloud – think Dropbox. That way you never truly are stranded without your papers should you ever lose the originals.
No 8. Get snap-happy. Of your luggage that is.Take a photo of your luggage contents. Ok, so I may seem like doom ‘n gloom spreader what with all the lost baggage talk, but rather be prepared than not. And if you do take a photo of it ,you’ll have photographic evidence as such, as well be able to truly recall all that was in your bag and get the more accurate estimate of the value of all that was lost. Making a list of it all can also help – although won’t stand up as well for evidence for insurance though.
No 9.Wrap it up. Having your bag wrapped up in double duty clingwrap at the airport doesn’t ensure it wont be tampered with, but it does make it very noticeable if there was any. I had mine pad-locked and wrapped, only to find the wrapping removed and padlock cut, and could immediately check if anything was missing (this was where my snap/list from the previous point came in handy)…I was a little sorry to disappoint those guys – nothing in there to steal, unless they were interested in some old jeans and skirts that I could just about fit into…
No 10. Get yourself some small travel sized bottles for decanting your beauty products to take with in your carry-on luggage. Do not be caught off guard, like me… (I still can’t believe I had such a brain fart that day) It was my first time doing air travel with my man who was nervous as heck(no matter how many times he has flown, he has a fear of being late and that fear is multiplied to the bajillionth degree when in airport setting) After talking him through the whole vibe of keeping calm, and reassuring him that we’re early and in no rush, I was slapped with the reality of airport security by being told (just as we’re about to board) that my giant-size-just-bought-Dermalogica bottles are too big! Shock. Horror. Fail.
Obviously, there was simply no way I was going to part with my entire facial regime product pack. Although, to be honest, there was a fleeting few seconds where I thought, “for the sake of your husband’s nerves, just dump it. Just dump that small fortune…” But I had only just bought it, and knew I could make it work. So back we raced to the check-in counter, much to my hubby’s anxiety-filled horror…We both ran back to check-in counter, all the while still assuring hubby in my breathless running huffs, “don’t worry, we’ll make it..just run a little faster, maybe?Yes?Faster!” He’s belief in my words was fading as his phobia started coming to life. I saw beads of anxiety sweat started forming on his brow…
However, long story short and needless to say, we made it. Well in time, with face products safely checked in. Not to mention, a proper cardio session in the bag as well. Although hubby’s nerves were a little frayed. My bad. But he’s really got to learn to trust me when I say,”we’ll make it“) But on the flipside, I had no facewash onboard. Oh goody. So,learn from my mistakes and instead get some of those travel size bottles. They go for R24 for a pack of four at Diskem in the travel isle and are of airport standard.
And there you go! Now don’t forget to check out the “Survival Guide for air travel with baby and toddler” for even more tips and hacks!