I'm counting down the hours before my flight to Australia and New Zealand. Packing this time around was a lot more fun thanks to some new discoveries. Here's a list of what I'm packing to help me save room in my luggage. Every thing is meant to cut down on space by either:
a) being as slim as possible
b) serving multiple uses
Since I'm trying most of these out for the first time, I'll write road tested reviews upon my return.
1 - Packing Cubes
It used to be all about rolling over folding to save space, but packing cubes seem to be the flavour of the moment for most. When it comes to travelling with rolling suitcases, or new travel backpacks that opens completely flat, packing cubes is the way to go. There's no need to dig through anything when it's already organized in a cube. You could still roll your clothes into the packing cubes or fold it neatly to prevent wrinkles.
Since I'm travelling during Australian winter and checking out the hot, humid coast up north, I'm packing clothes for the different regions with different cubes. When I'm in Melbourne and Sydney, my clothes for Cairns can stay neatly packed away.
A whole bunch of companies make their own. Minaal and Tortuga are priced at the higher end at $49US for a set of 3. Being frugal, I found mine at IKEA ($9.99CAN for a set of 4).
2 - PackTowl
While hotels and hostels supply plenty of towels for guests to use, I have had more than one nasty experience to share. Now a whole new breed of travel towels are available for campers and travellers. These thin towels make the following claims:
- absorbency (X times its weight in water)
- fast drying
I bought a large (25 X 54) PackTowl from Mountain Equipment Co-op for $28CAN. It comes with its own bag and when the towel is folded into it, it's about the size of a book with an inch in depth.
3 - Foldable Rain Jacket
This Cole Haan Double Faced Travel Packable Rain Jacket is priced at $338US, but I got it for a steal at Costco a while back. It's easily foldable into a bag that's included. I love the look of it, but I'm not convinced it will keep me as warm as my regular rain jacket.
4 - Secret Pocket Infinity Scarf
Quite a few different companies make these infinity scarves that has an extra layer of fabric that serves as a pocket for small items. Infinity scarves are excellent for cold airplanes and instant hoodies for a nap.
It's actually way more economical to buy it off eBay, Aliexpress or even to make your own.
5 - Poncho/Oversized Scarf
There was a stall in a mall that sold these quasi-poncho looking tops. I'm not exactly sure what to call them. It's basically one big piece of fabric with a slit down the middle to the middle. This opening is for the neck. I bought one made of thicker fabric, which should be perfect for the cooler temperatures.
Again, it's probably cheaper to buy this off eBay or Aliexpress.
6 - MEC Dry Sleeve
My favourite discovery is the MEC Dry Sleeve (in small) for my cellphone. There were other varieties, but this one fits my phone perfectly. I missed the opportunity to take a lot of photos in Iceland because I didn't want to bring my phone near the hot springs. To avoid this from happening again, I bought this.
The waterproof protection includes a roll-top velco seal along with double zipper seal (see picture below). It's made with 75-denier polyester with TPU lamination. If I'm a klutz and drop the whole thing in water, it is submersible for 30 minutes at 1 meter.
The best part? While the phone is sitting snugly in the case, I can still use the phone through the sleeve. Touchscreen features will work, which means I can take all the pictures that I want. The bottom inch of the sleeve is clear on both sides for such purpose.
While I have tried some of these things on shorter business trips, this will be a longer, more heavy-duty test to see if all of this is up to par. Can't wait to start packing now!