Packing Tips & Tricks for Travel

Packing Tips & Tricks for Travel

Looking for packing tips & tricks for travel?

Are you about to book a trip?

Have no idea on what to pack?

“Some journeys in life can only be traveled alone.”
– Ken Poirot

Knowing what to pack for the next travelling adventure can be a hassle and even a stress for many.

Having taken more flights than I would have liked in the last year, I can say that some were comfortable, but many were not.

When flying routes I’ve travelled a lot, such as Manchester to Bangkok, regular players like Singapore Airlines, Etihad, and Emirates, offer economy passengers like me a wide selection of entertainment, a couple of meals and beverages. Plus other comforts such as a blanket and pillow.

The main difference between these ‘regular’ airlines and their budget counterparts is what services the passengers receive.

Characteristically budget airlines advertise the seat price only, with anything and everything extra costing an additional charge. This means checked-in baggage, meals, in-flight entertainment, even blankets and pillows will cost extra.

Budget carriers around Asia and Europe will typically fly shorter routes. Normally anything from 20 minutes to a few hours and they sometimes land at smaller airports that aren’t as busy, thus avoiding higher fees to keep costs down. Flying budget offers the perfect solution for those looking to fly on the cheap and just want to book a seat with the extras removed, sometimes the customer service too!

The items that you throw in your backpack pack or suitcase may be as individual as your personality, but packing smart will make even the most tedious flight, boat, train or bus journey bearable.

Here’s a few packing tips that will hopefully help add a little extra comfort to your journey.

Packing Tips

Packing Tips & Tricks for Travel

Co-produced by: Rebateszone & Tools of Travel


Rember to pack the essentials (because you’re not going anywhere without them) such as:

Passport – it’s needed and strongly recommended!

Tickets – either a printout or save an electronic copy on your phone. Check with the airline first to see what’s accepted as some airlines like Air Asia require you to check in online yourself, or pay and extra $40 fee.

Drivers Licence – for renting a car or providing ID.

Currency – even just taking enough cash for a bus/taxi ride from the airport can help get out of a tight spot. When I’m home in the UK I usually use Post Office Travel Money for the best exchange rates.

Credit/debit card – packing a credit or debit card is a safer way to avoid carrying large amounts of cash around and I make my money work for me by using rewards credit card. Cards such as Chase Rewards are perfect for travellers as they allow earned points to be exchanged for discounted flights, upgrades and free hotel stays.

Keys – handy if you plan on returning home one day.

Clothing – wear the heavy stuff on the flight to keep baggage weight down. My personal favourites are brands like Exofficio, Craghoppers, and Under Armour as they make lightweight clothing that’s perfect for travelling in.

Smartphone – once upon a time it was recommended not pack electronics due to the risk of theft. These days everyone has a smartphone and the GPS function, plus the camera are invaluable. The Here Maps App on my Nokia makes it possible to download maps beforehand, meaning you can still use navigation feature without an internet connection.

Adaptor – there’s no point bringing smartphone or Ultrabook cables if they won’t work at your final destination. My all in one adapter recommendation that I use daily is the Skross World Travel Adapter.

Glasses / Contacts – those who are half blind like me will know the score on this one.

Snacks – always handy to pack some snacks for long trips to avoid getting grumpy. I like cashew nuts and dried mangos.

Fluid – stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Nalgene bottles offer a great reusable option.

Everything Else

Backpack – I’ve been accompanied by the Osprey 46 litre Porter Backpack for a while and never once got questioned over its size while flying on numerous budget airlines.

Not only is a carry-on backpack necessary for storing items for the flight, but it’s also a travel daypack for exploring cities, workout bag for stashing those sweaty gym clothes, and a mobile office for the Ultrabook, cables and paperwork.

A separate laptop/iPad compartment, storable rain cover, back ventilation and external bottle holders, are all features that may come in handy when choosing the perfect carry-on backpack for travelling.

Packing Tips & Tricks for Travel

Ultrabook / Tablet – there was an article recently on how airlines might get rid of video screens on flights due to how many customers now bring along their own devices onto flights.

It’s true that like smartphones, portable PCs such as laptops, ultrabooks and tablets, are part of our daily lives. I have tried a few models over the years, including Macs, HP, Acers and Kindles. At the moment, I travel with the 1.4 kg Lenovo X1 Carbon,

Tablets are handy for the basics, but Ultrabook’s are still more versatile and great to watch a movie on. Most important features  to consider when choosing a device for travel are the size, weight and battery life.

Noise Cancelling Headphones – it can be quite frustrating trying to watch a good movie when there’s lots of noise in the background. After using noise cancelling headphones, it can be a shock sometimes to hear how noisy flights and trains can be.

From the old big old school over your head designs to lightweight sports style options, there’s plenty of choices to choose. I purchased my first pair Audio Technica in 2012 and still use them today. The more compact model suits my simple travel style and even possible to sleep while wearing them.

Neck Pillow – one of the worst things about flying is trying to sleep.

Every time I would nod off, 20-30 minutes later I would wake up with the biggest neck pain ever. This near useless bunch of naps would leave me more frustrated than rested. I even tried sleeping on the food tray, but always evened up slobbering worse than an overweight dog!

While I would never suggest sleeping on a flight equals the comfort of sleeping in bed, a simple neck pillow allowed me to doze off and get a half decent kip.

I find the traditional horse shape pillows a good cheap choice, but now use the neck scarf and find it the most comfortable I’ve tried to date.

Sleeping Mask – when seated on a night flight they usually dim the lights, but what if you’re trying to get some shut-eye in the middle of the afternoon? A sleeping mask will help.

Face Wipes & deodorant – always good to freshen up in humid climates.

Fleece or Hoodie – just because some airlines like to crank the air-conditioning on cold.

Rain Jacket / Poncho / Umbrella – a single layer rain jacket often is all you need. They roll up to the size of first and are invaluable for the rainy season in Asia. I’ve been using the same Under Armour jacket for the past four years now.

Electronics / Valuables – I once had to carry a $12,000 thermal imaging camera and 11 x IPads as carry-on. Now this isn’t a typical travel event for me as I was on the way to a trade show in Melbourne, but the last thing you want is for any of these shiny toys to go missing or get damaged.

If you have an expensive camera for taking those perfect travel photos and insist on packing it – I don’t blame you. Just make sure you pack expensive electronics as carry on.

Basic First Aid – some headache tablets, bandages and plasters can come in handy when you’re miles from a pharmacy. Sure most of the time you won’t need them, but when you do give me an imaginary high five.

That’s it; these are my packing tips & tricks for travel based on a standard trip without any special requirements.

Everything Else – this will be determined on how you travel. Some backpackers I’ve met carry a full travel survival kit that includes a Jetboil, sleeping bag, tent and hammock.

How about you, do you have any packing tips & tricks for travel?

Barry Sproston

Barry is a traveller and expat who spends most of his time between Asia and Australia. He has spent 12 months training at a Gung Fu school learning Wing Chun. Explored the island of Taiwan by scooter more than once. Been tricked into eating raw horse meat sushi in Japan. Even tried to overcome the fear of heights by bungee jumping in Thailand. One day he plans to open a guesthouse.

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4 thoughts on “Packing Tips & Tricks for Travel

  1. Cassie

    This is a detailed list that took some thought. I need to rethink some things concerning our trip overseas this year. Thanks for putting this list together.

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