A Bison Abroad | How To Become a Master Packer

Often, one of the most difficult aspects of traveling is figuring out what to pack and how to pack it.

Imagine, you’ve just booked your flight and you are off on a new adventure. The anticipation has begun as you begin researching your intriguing new destination, but then the anxiety kicks in. It’s the day before you leave and you realize that you have no idea what to pack.

Since arriving in England one month ago, I have traveled to Wales, Edinburgh, Scotland, London, Milan and Verona so far. I have learned through experience that you have to do your research on the weather, the type of accommodation you will be staying in and the regulations regarding suitcases prior to your trip.

Surprisingly, I have been able to successfully pack everything I need into my standard school backpack for three long weekend trips. Although it is rather difficult, there are some tips and tricks that will allow even the most notorious over-packer to successfully pack everything they need into one carry-on/backpack.

Next week’s adventures will bring me to Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona, thus inspiring me to really take a look at the do’s and don’ts of successful packing.

Emily Wotzka | THE SPECTRUM
Minimalism is key to becoming a successful packer.

Make a list; run through your routine

The very best way to only pack what you absolutely need is to run through a day of traveling in your head before you leave.

The key is to mentally teleport yourself to the destination and walk through your daily routine. By doing this, you won’t forget your toothbrush, socks or belt because you will have mentally made a note of them before you left.

Although this method may be tedious, it is a foolproof process that has worked for me every single time.

Roll, roll and roll your clothes

This may be a no-brainer for some of you, but it is seriously one of the best packing hacks on the market. Not only does it allow for more room in your carry-on, it also keeps your clothing looking fresh and non-creased upon arrival.

In case you have bulky items that can’t be rolled, I suggest wearing your heaviest garments on the flight or train ride. This will save you some room in your carry-on for potential souvenirs and unforeseen items that you may want to take back with you.

Only pack versatile neutrals

Although it may sound easy to simply throw in a number of neutral shirts and pants, you must be conscious not to overdo it. It can be easy to overestimate the number of garments you will actually be wearing, so it is important to stick to a strict number of garments.

It is human nature to want to have unlimited options; however, this is just not feasible when traveling. My advice is to physically write down each outfit by mixing and matching a lesser amount of neutral garments.

Only pack what you feel comfortable in

“If you didn’t Instagram it, were you really there?” This is a common, yet sadly relatable phrase in today’s society. We place so much emphasis on how we look, where we’ve been and how many likes we can muster on social media.

When it comes to traveling, it is important to pack clothes that not only make you feel empowered, but comfortable. If you pack something solely on the basis that it will make you look attractive, you may end up feeling uncomfortable and irritated.

Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love expressing myself through my personal style. However, in the context of travel, when we start to sacrifice looking good over feeling comfortable, this can lead to unhappy times.

Traveling is both exhilarating and exhausting, and it is important to remember that what really matters is not what you bring with you, but rather the experiences, friendships and memories you take away.

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