1. Put your clothes in zip lock bags before packing them
- Your clothes will take up less room in your case.
- The bags will protect the contents of your case if it happens to get wet (ie: in heavy rain while it's being transported to the plane or if it falls off the wharf as your lugagge is being loaded onto your cruise ship).
- If customs want to see the contents of your case it'll be much easier to pack and unpack for them than individual items.
2. Pack a length of bubble wrap and a spare fold-down bag inside your case
- You'll probably buy a few things while you're away. Having bubble wrap on hand gives you added protection for getting more delicate items home.
- And the spare bag will come in useful when you realise you've bought too much to fit into your main case! The bag I use folds completely flat but is robust enough to stand up to being checked in, and cost me less than $30. And because it takes up so little room, it's no dramas if I don't need to use it on the return trip...
3. Take a small roll of duct tapeIt doesn't take up much space and can be a life-saver. Use it to:
- Tape up that bubble-wrapped parcel!
- Temporarily fix your case/ shoes/ glasses if they break while you're away.
- Hold together the curtains in your hotel room or cabin so that annoying gap at the top doesn't let the morning light in to wake you up before you're ready...
4. Instead of locking your checked luggage, use cable ties to secure itAlthough locks are permitted on luggage, you need to be aware that airlines are allowed to break the lock if they need to access your case: which means your case is unsecured until you buy a new lock.
Cable ties are cheap, lightweight and you can keep spares in the outside pocket of your case: so if your bag is inspected, you can replace the tie easily. (They're also a great way to identify your bag and are less likely to get ripped off than luggage tags.)
5. Pop a small pair of scissors in the outside pocket of your checked caseYou can cut the tie when you arrive. (I usually keep my keys on a Swiss army knife: once I've removed it from my keys for flights, I add it to the outside pocket so I know where it is when I arrive and can reattach my keys).
6. For long flights with stopovers, pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, pack of baby wipes in your carry-on bag, along with socks, underwear and a spare top
Trust me, there's nothing more wonderful that being able to clean your teeth, 'wash' your face and underarms, refresh your deodorant and change your underwear after being in the air for hours on end. And the baby wipes can be used to clean your tray table too, if you're concerned with what's been on it before you met it...The spare clothes can also be life savers if your checked luggage doesn't arrive at the same time as you do: you've got the basics so won't need to race out and find replacements immediately.
7. Don't put your home address on your luggage tagsBurglars are known to patrol airports, looking out for addresses of premises that might be empty. Use your email address or mobile phone number (especially if you'll have access to them while you're away), or a PO Box number or work address. Also remember to include contact details inside your case in case it gets lost and the luggage tags have come off...
8. If you're travelling with someone else, pack half your clothes in their luggage (and vice-versa)
You'll thank me if one of the cases goes missing...
9. Plan to send postcards while you're away?
Before you leave, print sticker sheets with the names and addresses of the people you want to send cards to. It'll save time writing them out, and will also make it clear if you forgot to send one. For long trips, take two or three sheets.
10. Take a folding water bottleIt packs down to nothing. Which means you can start your day's sightseeing and shopping with a full bottle and end it with an empty bottle and room in your bag for all those souvenirs you've picked up!
And just in case you're wondering why this post is titled 'Ten tiny travel tips', all the photos are of 1/12 scale miniature scenes...