The Art of Packing

I wish it were possible to click your fingers and POOF! Packing magically done. Unfortunately this is not the case and often many extra useless items make their way into my backpack. Only to be carried around all trip and never see the light of day.

My last big overseas trip (2010) I packed three hours before I had to be at the airport. Anything I didn’t have I bought along the way, but there were a few things, that a week into my trip, I stared at wondering what I’d been thinking when I threw them into my bag. With three weeks left before I head off to Africa for six weeks, I’ve decided to take packing a little more seriously this time.  For starters I’ll possibly be spending time in climates ranging from cold winter mornings in Kruger National Park to hot and humid summer Equatorial weather of Kenya and any other variations in between. To avoid carrying around excessive amounts of clothing, shoes and scarves, I’ve devised a system that works for me. To cull the unnecessary crap from the pile of things to take. It’s as simple as 4 easy steps:

1. Assemble everything you think you need and want to take on your trip on to a bed or floor space (where you can leave it for a long period of time). Leave for a week.

2. Come back to pile with anything extra you have thought of through out the week and add to the pile.  Walk away for another week.

3. Come in and start culling. Do you really need 4 scarves? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy another book over there if you actually have time to get through the first book let alone the other six you already have in the pile? Leave the culled pile in a corner separate to the packing pile. Do a mock bag pack. Does everything fit? Do you have space for toiletries and electronics items that you will add at the last minute? Walk away for a day or two.

4. Do a final cull. Being a day out or the day you are flying you will probably be adding all your gadgets now.  Power cords, electricity adapters, cameras, laptops or anything else. There will be a few more items culled for sure. Remember your passport, itineraries, plane tickets and any other important documentation (it’s surprising how easy it is to forget these things).

Method to the madness


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. frugalfirstclasstravel
    May 19, 2012 @ 01:47:30

    These are really good tips! I’m the queen of one bag travel and this is exactly how I do it. Enjoy your trip! Make sure you do a follow up post on how your strategy worked once you got on the road – I’d love to read about it! 🙂


    • Emma
      May 19, 2012 @ 03:32:23

      Thanks for checking out my post. Glad to hear someone else has a bag packing strategy similar to mine. It seems so pedantic, but after spending many weeks away from home and also carting around a backpack, I’ve realised it’s the only way to pack. The less the better!! Plus then there is more room for treasures bought overseas 🙂


  2. survivingtheenduringrace
    May 19, 2012 @ 06:31:10

    Awesome post, my family and I are getting ready to head out with our backpacks and the packing idea’s are quite similar. It’s good to hear other people with the one bag traveling technique


    • Emma
      May 19, 2012 @ 09:25:43

      Backpacking is such a fun way to travel! Knowing that you can survive without all the comforts of home and still have a wonderful time. For me travel is all about meeting new people, learning languages and about the culture. You don’t need to have a new outfit everyday to do these things. Safe journeys for you and your family on your backpacking adventure 🙂


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