Travel Essentials – How to Pack Peace of Mind
It’s exhilarating to see new places and experience new cultures. While you’re focused on enjoying the people, food, sights, and even ordinary street life be sure to always be aware of your surroundings. Being aware means making a mental picture of the street names, if you’re exploring the city. Being aware on public transportation means not keeping your gaze on your phone, but looking at the other riders and keeping your bag in front of you to discourage pickpockets. And perhaps the best advice is to make sure you have a confident and strong demeanor. One way to boost your personal confidence is to take steps to protect yourself even before you pack your bag.
Security and Safety on the Go
A few small gadgets can help keep you safe and give you peace of mind.
Location: Hotel, hostel, dorm
You don’t know who has a passkey to the room, or if the key is an old style metal key, who has a copy of it. Would you want an uninvited visitor to come into the room while showering or sleeping? You can have peace of mind that the door will remain locked while you’re inside by traveling with a device that prevents your door from opening even with a key. It’s low cost too.
Location: Walking alone, or anywhere you may need to call attention to your situation
As the saying goes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And so it is with your safety. A personal safety alarm is useful in many situations if you have a medical emergency and can’t scream if you want to just scare off someone before they get too close or is making you uncomfortable, or if you need to draw attention to your situation. Another option is an alarm app for your phone.
Location: Crowds, public places
The security of your identity is as important as your personal safety. Your personal information is stored on tiny chips embedded in credit cards, passports and even ID card such as drivers licenses. You need to shield your cards and passport from e-thieves who with the help of a hand-held device can read your information stored on the chips as they stand next to you or walk past you in a crowd. The scanners can work up to a distance of 10 feet away! The solution is carrying your cards and passport in RFID shielding, sleeves, wallets or bags.
Some Bonus Tips
Whether you’re packing, going out for a day of sightseeing, or going out at night, you will want to keep it light. Our advice, plan ahead on what you will carry in your bag and on your person. A few moments of planning before you go are worth it, take it from a woman who has over packed. Your top two concerns should be function and security. We have a few finds or must have travel essentials that help you keep your valuables secure and your hand free.
Packing Light – Packing Strategies
Seasoned travelers advise they maximize the space in their bags with packing organizers. There are different styles for different needs. Our favorite type of packers are Compression Packers to reduce wrinkling in your bag to maximize space with their compression technology. Waterproof styles help separate dirty and sweaty clothes from clean and keep toiletries in your checked bag from leaking.
- Select Clothes Which Layer and Mix and Match – Wear layers, short-sleeved shirts can go under long sleeve ones. A long scarf is decorative and can double as an evening wrap. Jeans or khakis go from day to night with the change of an athletic to a dress shoe or sandal.
- Choose Knits, Wool, and Cotton Blends – These fabrics tend to resist wrinkles and are versatile and stick to a few colors which mix and match.
- Roll Softer Garments and Fold Stiffer Ones – Underwear, T-shirts, jeans, cotton pants, and knitwear won’t wrinkle when rolled tightly. Stiffer fabrics, such as starched cotton shirts, blazers, dressy pants, and skirts, should be carefully folded.
- Place Rolled Items in the Bottom of the Bag – Think of your suitcase as a three-layer cake. The suitcase is the icing; the rolled items make up the first layer.
- Place Folded Garments Next – For your middle layer, start with the longest items, like skirts and slacks. Stack the garments on top of each other, alternating waists with hems. Position the pile flush with the suitcase, draping leftover fabric over the opposite end. (This conserves space since thick waistbands won’t be piled on top of one another.) Wrap the draping ends of the pile into the center. Next, lay collars of shorter items, like shirts, at the hinge with the ends over the handles. Fold the collars and ends over once and fold the arms in.
- Cover the Pile with a Dry-Cleaning Bag – Because of the bag’s slippery surface; folded clothes don’t stay in one place long enough for creases to set. Easy upgrade: Place a bag between each layer of clothing. To get to a certain layer easily, simply pull the ends of the bag up on either side.
- Wash Your Clothes on the Road – Vacation rentals often have laundry facilities, however, if you’re staying in a hotel, or taking a cruise wash clothes in a sink and hang them to dry, a blow dryer or iron can help get rid of any lingering dampness. Pack laundry soap sheets and a portable laundry-drying line. Carry a stain stick in your bag to remove stains right when they happen.
Keep your hands free to snap photos or to read guidebooks. Sure you’ll look like a tourist, but then again you are a tourist. Local thieves who prey on tourists know that the best time to zip open your backpack or bag is when you’re distracted. The distraction can be real or staged by one of their accomplices, either way, your focus is momentarily not on your gear, and that is when they strike.
Guard against being a victim by selecting an anti-theft bag and wearing it cross-body style. If you must travel with a bag that is not anti-theft, then use a body pouch to protect your valuables such as your passport, money and credit cards.