The number-one rule in packing for a trip is to pack lightly because we often forget how frequently we'll have to lift or carry our luggage during our travels. Consider how, you'll be dragging your luggage into the trunk of your car and out again, through the airport, off of the luggage carousel, through another airport, back into the trunk of your rental car and out again until finally you get to the hotel where hopefully they'll have a porter.
On top of having to lug your bags around, your airline will have strict rules on the size, weight and the number of bags you can travel with-for both carry-on and checked baggage. Make sure you check your airline's website for current information on restrictions and don't assume that what you took last time will be allowed this time-especially if you are travelling on a different airline. Luggage size and weight restrictions can vary by airline or travel destination.
Money-saving travel tip
Packing lightly for your travels can save you money. Many airlines are now charging fees for overweight bags, oversized bags, and for checking more than the allowed number of bags per passenger.
Other great reasons for packing lightly: shorter waits around the luggage carousel, less need for porters (and tips!) and easier Customs inspections (after all, if you had to force your bags closed, imagine how happy the Customs agents will be!)
Travel tips for packing your carry-on
Your carry-on should contain all your most valuable items and must-have documentation like:
- Your wallet
- Your passport
- Your tickets
- Your traveller's cheques
- Your emergency medical travel insurance
- Your medications (be sure to keep them in their original bottles)
- Phone numbers and addresses of where you'll be staying
- A small amount of local currency for immediate use when you arrive
- The maps you'll need to get where you are staying once you've arrived
- If you must bring valuables like jewellery with you, your carry-on is your safest bet - but leave them at home if you can
Travel tips for packing your checked luggage
The following tips should help you keep your luggage light and leave enough room so you can pack souvenirs when you return:
- Find out if where you are staying offers laundry services or has facilities you can use. This is one of the major secrets of packing lightly.
- Coordinate your outfits around a central color so you'll be able to mix and match.
- Plan your outfits so you can layer instead of bringing lots of coats.
- Take a solid color sweater that will match any outfit to use to keep you warm
- Why pack the rain gear if rain is nowhere in the forecast? Check the weather online, so you can pack weather-appropriate clothing without wasting space on things you won't need.
- Rolling clothes rather than folding them will help prevent wrinkles and optimize your limited space.
- Take small sample sizes of toiletries that will last just long enough instead of huge bottles.
- Don't waste an inch of your luggage space, pack underwear and socks inside your shoes. This will also help your shoes keep their shape. Pack your belts around the edge of the luggage.
A final travel tip
Although already mentioned as one of the items you should keep in your carry-on so it doesn't get lost, emergency medical travel insurance is a must-have for all Canadians. Even Canada's Consular Affairs don't mince words when they say on their website "DO NOT leave Canada without supplementary medical insurance."
Even for the smallest of accidents, or the most common illnesses, emergency medical travel insurance offers you protection by ensuring you get the attention you need, when you need it while not having to worry about how your emergency treatment will get paid.
Before you leave, get emergency medical travel insurance quotes from competing insurers online and get the coverage you need. And don't forget to pack it with your other must-have documentation!