Good day Million Dollar Hustlers!
I hope the first month of 2018 has treated you well. If you follow my journey, you’ll know I was Hong Kong bound for the second half of 2017 because of my nephew. BUT that has all changed now! He and my sis are back in New York, which means I can travel again. Yay! Well, boo, because I miss the crying pooping fella a lot. However, I am excited about having new adventures again.
It’s been more than half a year since I’ve been anywhere and I don’t know about you, but whenever there’s a big gap of not travelling I almost forget how to. I know. It sounds stupid, but I’m very serious. It’s no longer an effortless affair, where I don’t need to think about it. Before, it was an effortless breeze where I could get it altogether within a day or two. Now, I need to actually sit down and think, and one of the big pain points is packing. So I was just mentally going over how to pack for my next trip to China.
I like packing light and the key to packing light is to be efficient in what you bring. The catch is you need to be travel savvy to really do this right. So without further ado, here are my travels hacks to packing easy, stress free and still have everything you need.
Research the temperature
Do a quick google search and figure out the temperatures or the likely weather you’re going to be greeted to. I probably look at one or two sights that give statistical data and skim over it to get my head around it. And then I look for more personal reviews written by travellers who went at the same time of the year. This shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes if you’re good at google searching, which I’m pretty sure everyone is good at in 2018.
The things you need to pay attention to is the humidity levels. Humidity can change how the temperature feels on your skin. So that 25 C day could easily feel 30C+ or that 10C autumn day could easily feel like 5C. Humidity makes a difference.
Another thing you should know are seasonal patterns. Different places can have seasonal weather events. Some months are prone to thunderstorms, heatwaves, monsoon rain, and the like. It’s always good to know if any of these are likely to occur while you’re there. I remember one year I was in Taiwan and I experienced monsoon rains, which caused major flooding. We’re talking about entire roads gushing with high speed water…great holiday story, but rather chaotic at the time.
It pays to know what to expect, weather wise.
Have a good idea of the local culture
So its 30C+ and all you want to wear is the bare minimum. I get it, but the bare minimum can mean different things to different people. For the most part, a tourist can and will get away with under-dressing, but why would you want to be that tourist. You never want to be that obnoxious tourist that’s too arrogant about their own ignorance. Find out what is acceptable. I don’t really search this part since I guess I always make accurate guesses, but here’s my rough guide to dressing respectfully.
If you’re not in a big major city somewhere in Asia, Africa and East Europe:
- Nothing too short or too tight
- Shoulders should be covered if possible
- Nothing that goes above the knee
The above also applies to men as well. Of course you can completely disregard the above and still have no problems while travelling, but it’s always nice to be respectful if you plan to visit any temples, or places of importance. I’ve lost count on how many spaghetti tops or short shorts I’ve seen at Buddhist temples while on my travels. Just because the locals are being tolerant and understanding, doesn’t mean you don’t need to take the time to educate yourself.
Know what you’ll be doing
Apart from understanding the local culture on dress code, you also want to know what you’ll be doing when you’re there. If I was going to Dubai, I wouldn’t really worry about the scorching temperatures at all since I know I’ll be indoors most of the time. I would probably need to bring a light jacket for all the air-con, and that applies to any place that are heavy air-con users.
Knowing what kind of activities you are likely to do will help you pack only what you need. If you’re planning on a more outdoor intensive adventure trip then you know you’ll need a few extra shirts to change into to stay dry and clean. But apart from clothes, it also helps you pack tools that will help make your trip as comfortable as possible. I always bring a fan of some sort if I go somewhere I know that doesn’t have air conditioning, and I always pack a thermal undershirt just incase it get’s too cold when I travel somewhere in winter. These little things count and make a big difference when you need them but don’t take much room at all in your suitcase.
Capsule pack it!
Capsule wardrobe. Need I say more.
Ok, I do.
Once you’ve armed yourself with knowledge you can begin to translate that into your clothes, but don’t end up with a mountain of clothes or that would defeat the whole purpose of this post. You need a capsule wardrobe.
I always start with my feet. What are you wearing on your feet. Are they flip flops, sneakers, hiking boots, loafers? What’s the most appropriate foot wear for your trip? Maybe you need 2, or 3 MAX. Maximum 3 pairs of some sort for your feet and they shouldn’t be 3 pairs of the same kind, type or style. By the way, if you’re bringing 3 pairs of foot wear for one trip, your trip must be really long like more than a month long and you must be doing a whole lot of things like trekking a mountain and going to fancy dinner parties.
Pack light guys!
Figure out what’s going on your feet and then work your way up with what you’re wearing on the bottom and then the top. Ideally you want everything to be interchangeable so everything works and you don’t need to think about it at all. Also, it means you pack a lot less.
Extra tip: layers work the best. Think in layers so you can easily add on or strip off to fit the weather.
Ok, so this depends on where you’re going and for how long, but sometimes buying it instead of bringing it is worth it. Though no matter if it’s worth it or not, it will take a bit of your time to go out and buy it, so I don’t recommend using this strategy for things you need instantly whenever you DO actually need it.
South East Asian countries tend to have very small packaging and sizes for everyday toiletries. It’s cheap, it works and it’s super convenient. Now, I normally wouldn’t even need to buy it or bring it since I’m happy to use whatever they give me at the hotel for free. However my girlfriend is very careful with what she puts on her face and on her hair, which means she’s bringing entire bottles of stuff. Heavy. Bottles. and I just couldn’t take it anymore so I had to figure out some travel hacks for her. To make MY life easier.
Or you can get all savvy and use travel bottles so you don’t end up having a few kgs worth of toiletries in your suitcase.
Pack with purpose
While I’m still talking about my girlfriend.
Make-up is something I know nothing about, but I do know my girlfriend brings almost ALL her cosmetics with her but is most likely not going to use ANY of it during the trip…She will also leave the destination with a luggage full of unworn clean clothes…
Only bring things you know you need and will use. I understand your luggage allowance is 25kg, but that’s an allowance. Not a challenge. I repeat. It’s. not. a. challenge.
What is a challenge is dragging 25kg around while finding your hotel.
This has got to be the biggest and most useful hack. It doesn’t matter if it’s a rucksack, backpack, duffle bag or suitcase; use one that can expand. This use to be pretty popular when I was a kid if I remember correctly, but I don’t see it as much now. A lot of people love using the hard cases, but they give zero leeway on how you can pack or how much you can bring back.
I pack really light so I use small suitcases, but I do like to buy souvenirs or weird snacks and that takes up a bit of room. So I always use cases that can expand a good 2 more inches for me to use on my way back.
Time to play Tetris
Once you have all of the above it’s time to actually pack your suitcase. I like to start with filling in any empty dips at the bottom of the suitcase. A lot of suitcases have the metal bars sticking up at the bottom and I like to fill these gaps until the whole bottom is level. The best things to use are socks and underwear laid out flat.
Then it’s time for Tetris.
Whatever way you fold your clothes at home, is not the way you want to do it for your suitcase. Instead try to either, roll or lay your cloths flat along the edges and then fold in whatever is hanging out. These ways ensures you don’t have small pockets of unused space in your suitcase.
Here’s a video example to show you what I mean, he is using both the rolling and flat laying technique in this video.