TravelTraveler Magazine

Readers’ Rules of Packing

Last Friday’s “The 10 Rules of Packing” post got our readers (and our staffers) talking — on the blog, Facebook and Twitter — so we thought we’d publish a few additions to Aric S. Queen‘s original list. If you have anything to add (or beg to differ), toss in your two cents in the comments section below.

1. Start early: Keep a box in your bedroom so you can drop in items you’ll need as you think of them. This passive activity is easy and painless. (Norie Quintos, executive editor at National Geographic Traveler. Check out Norie’s blog post on how to pack for a big trip.)
2. Always bring a 30 gal. or larger trash bag for dirty clothes. This way you can pack them back in the same suitcase without getting your clean clothes smelly. (Lisa M.)
3. Have 2 ziplocs w/ extra cash and IDs in separate spots! (@TheScenicRte)
4. Refill hotel-issued shampoo, conditioner, and lotion bottles with your own products. They’re already labeled correctly, small enough not to be checked, and the environment will thank you for recycling. (Carolyn Fox, senior producer for travel, National Geographic)
5. 3 pairs shoes only=pack 2+wear 1 that takes up most space. (@FoodWineFinder)
6. Download movies on your smart phone or tablet before your flight so you’re not stranded on the plane watching a movie you’ve already seen (or never want to). (Zain Habboo, director of digital content at National Geographic)
7. Put the big stuff in first, then the little stuff on top or squished in between. (Kimberly C.)
8. Always pack swimsuit & LBD. (@michellepestano)
9. Pack an empty duffel bag. I always end up with more as my trip goes on. (Bernard R.)
10. Don’t bring anything you’re not willing to lose/get stolen! (@DCaroNY)

Here are a few bonus rules from Aric, who just finished sailing through the fjords in Patagonia, and is getting ready to head off to Buenos Aires:

1. Always, always, always carry a “dummy” wallet around with you [keep $20-$30 and a few business cards in there so it doesn’t seem fake] and hide the bulk of your money and your passport somewhere else. If you’re mugged, quickly throw it to the mugger. I’ve been mugged many times, and no one’s ever waited around to go through the wallet. They’ll take it and run.
2. There’s no need to keep a copy of your passport on you. Scan it, save it in your email, and you’re good.
3. Wet wipes should be issued with passports. Take them everywhere.

Our more rugged travelers should be sure to check out 2007 Adventurer of the Year Andrew Skurka’s advice on how to pack light on our Adventure blog. He’s so hardcore he uses a cat-food can for a stove!

Homepage photo: Mary Baxter/My Shot