Welcome to Day 2 of 30 Days to Packing a Better Bag.
Before you start planning your trip, picking destinations and deciding what to pack, you first have to define your trip style. It will factor into everything that you do, from your budget to your itinerary. What types of activities do you enjoy? How much money are you prepared to spend? All of these questions must first be answered.
What’s your budget?
Are you staying in luxury hotels or saving on hostels? This will determine whether you need to bring your own towels, hairdryers and sheets. Do you prefer to keep it thrifty, enjoying as many free activities as possible or do you splurge for unique experiences? If you’ll be going scuba diving, you’ll need to pack your certification book and dive log. If you’re trying to save money, you might want to bring items to help you cook meals.
What are your interests?
Your interests will determine what type of itinerary to create and thereby what you need to pack. Which of these categories do you fall into?
Culture Vulture: You enjoy soaking up music and the arts of your destination, spending the afternoon wandering museums and looking for local bookstores. Pack books on the art and architecture of the places you’ll be visiting.
Adventure Junkie: You thrive off of adrenaline, whether it be bungy jumping or rock climbing at your location of choice. Pack the phone number of your travel insurance provider!
List Checker: You want to see all the “top” sites in each city, from the Eiffel Tower to the Spanish Steps. Pack some comfortable walking shoes.
Nature Nut: Your biggest goal for the day is to make it outside, and potentially somewhere far, far away. You love hiking and camping, so you better pack a compass and some hiking boots.
Party Girl: When others are going to bed, you’re waking up, getting to know a city by its nightlife, from the pub crawls to the wine tastings. Pack some aspirin.
Beach Bum: You want nothing more than to soak up some rays while getting a golden tan. You live for ocean and the sound of crashing waves. Pack a bikini and some sunscreen.
Foodie Finder: You live for authentic cuisine of every culture and want to know where the locals eat. Pack an electronic translator so you’ll know what you’re eating, whether it be haggis or fried cockroaches.
What’s your itinerary?
As a traveler, it is absolutely possible to pick the right itinerary and travel in nothing but summer and warm weather. As a packer, that generally means you can carry less with a need to bring only shorts and tank tops. If going to cold countries for a large portion of your trip, you will probably have to pack more of that bigger and heavier clothing. You must take weather and trip length into consideration when packing because, like we said in day 1, packing better is also about packing smarter and being better prepared.
Take Action: Write it Down
Write down what destinations you’ll be visiting with the average weather for the time you’ll be there. Make a list of big activities you plan to do on your trip (climb a mountain, scuba dive, ski, etc.). Note your overall trip style, such as whether or not you’ll be hosteling, couchsurfing or indulging in lavish hotels. People on a budget will also tend to do more walking, which means good walking shoes are a must. Plan a budget in advance.
Keep this page for future reference.
If you’re currently planning a trip, what is your trip style? What interests are you into? Let us know in the comments below.