FFE Magazine

How to pack for the holidays – Part 1

Photo from africaexpatwivesclub/blogspotDuring the Christmas season millions of people worldwide travel back home or abroad for a holiday retreat. Although the idea of spending Christmas with our families, eating bibingka and drinking hot tsokolate sounds so comforting, a sudden frustration comes to mind – packing. Even seasoned travelers will tell us that the process of packing can be so tedious especially when baggage allowances are limited. At the risk of paying extortive airline baggage fees, most opt to ship their items or, worse, leave their favourite things behind.

To help all those traveling this season, here are a few essential tips and packing techniques to help you get rid of excess baggage worries.

1. Think Multipurpose. The general rule of any smart traveler is, of course, to bring only the essentials. However, it also pays off if the clothes or items you bring are multi-purpose. For example, instead of bringing a lightweight coat, bring a Pashmina or long scarf. This either can warm you up in the cold weather or cover your head at a sunny beach.

2. Roll them like a burrito. Lay one shirt over the other and just roll into tight bundles (like a burrito!). This is a tried and tested method on how to save space inside your luggage. Surprisingly, it will also make your clothes wrinkle resistant because you are just bending your clothes. Shaking them out will eventually bring them back into their original form. Do not bother rolling denim jeans or any thick apparel though, as it will just make the rolls bulky and eat more space.

3. Fold them together. For clothes that are more difficult to roll, like trousers or business shirts you can fold them together. By folding together, you will have to take two garments and start by laying half of it on top of the other. Then you will take the bottom part of one garment, and put it on top of the other. Then repeat with the other side.

4. Use refillable travel bottles for liquid toiletries. Bringing your big shampoo bottles, shower gels, etc. can bulk up your luggage. Replace them with smaller refillable travel bottles. These are great in saving space. Anyway, you can always go buy your shampoo, shower gels, etc. when you arrive at your destination if you need refilling.

5. Put toiletries in the outside pocket of the luggage. Assuming your luggage has an outside pocket and zipper, place your pack of toiletries there. In doing so, you are making more space inside your luggage for other items. It will also make it easier for you to take them out in case of security inspection.

6. Shoe it. Do remember that enclosed shoes have a lot of space inside them. Take advantage of this by inserting socks to save space. You can also insert ties or small towels inside the shoe – but make sure you put and seal them in a plastic first!

7. Compress. Compression sacks or bags are readily available in hardware or department stores. These sacks may cost you a few euros but they are worthy investments. All you have to do is place your clothes inside the sack and roll it. These bags were designed to expel or push air out of the bag so you will be left with a tight bundle of clothes. Using these will save you as much as 80% of space! They are also reusable!

8. Remove boxes. For fragile items, you can remove them from their boxes and wrap them in paper or plastic instead. Then wrap them again a thick piece of clothing, like a wool jacket, or put them in between other articles of clothing to secure in place. Keeping their boxes will only eat tons of space.

9. Layer correctly. Put any folded items on the bottom of your luggage. Then place the rolled clothing on top or use them to fill any gaps in the luggage. Put all fragile or breakable items in the middle. Place shoes on the sides or edges of the luggage to secure everything else. Do not stack any books, food, etc. but spread them on top of the rolled pieces of clothing. 

Photo from aboutphilippines

No matter how well you pack, excess baggage issues will continue to be a problem if you choose to bring your entire wardrobe with you! Always remember to bring only the essentials! If you are bringing gifts or pasalubongs back home, shipping them ahead is a morereliable and more convenient options. You will not be hassled to carry heavy items or worry about luggage fees.

To help you with packing your balikbayan or shipping boxes, here are a few tips and tricks of the trade.

1. Tape it. The first thing you have to do is make sure you have a durable box. Tape the bottom flaps of the box with heavy duty packing tape to make sure no tears can occur.

2. Put a garbage bag. Place a garbage bag inside the box. This will serve as a liner to keep the opening of the box on top. This will also help keep leaks inside the box from spilling out.

3. Folded items first. Place all folded items like shirts, jackets, blankets, etc. inside the box first.

4. Tape it again. For liquid items like shampoos, perfumes, etc. tape the caps of the bottles or any opening to secure them from leaking out. Then place them in individual plastic bags before putting them in the box.

5. Wrap all fragile items. Wrap all fragile items with bubble wraps or paper to protect them from breaking and getting scratches. If you want to save space, wrap these items with some of the shirts, blankets, or towels you also have in your box.

6. Tape it for the third time.  If you are sending home canned goods or bottles, tape the cans and bottles together. This will give you more space not to mention keep things in order.

7. Chocolates on top. Place food items like chocolates and biscuits on top of the box so they are not crushed by the other items.

8. Padding. Place light padded materials on the sides of the box as well as on top to secure the items.

9. Pack in small plastic bags. When sending gifts to multiple recipients, label and pack the items in small plastic bags to avoid confusion.

Whether it is a luggage or a box, the basic step is research. You have to check your airline or couriers responding weight limits and allowances for travel. This would include researching about the allowed number of items, size, and weight. You should also inquire about their excess baggage fees or for any other miscellaneous fees regarding your luggage. Researching beforehand will enable you to prepare better for the holiday travels ahead.




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