Flight attendants travel for a living, so when it comes to packing for a trip, they’re the packing experts. Take some tips from the flight attendants to learn what to pack, how to pack efficiently, and what to avoid when packing for a flight.
What To Pack
Whatever the weather at your destination, pack a pair of flip-flops. You can wear them as shower shoes, like slippers in your hotel room, or to throw on quickly for walking around the hotel. Flip-flops are light, so they’re easy to pack without taking up much room in your suitcase.
Always fly with moisturizer. When you fly, your skin gets drier than usual, due to the cabin pressure. A change in climate can have an impact on your skin too when you travel somewhere with very different weather to home. Moisturizing is essential to look after your skin. Slather it on before you fly.
Pack some essentials in your bag for every trip. Good essentials to have are an umbrella, sunglasses, a black dress, a swimsuit, a change of underwear and sunscreen. That way, if your luggage gets lost (as in my case when I went to Cuba), you can still hit the beach, go to dinner, get around in the rain, and avoid getting sunburnt while you wait for your case to catch up with you. Get prescription sunglasses on this website to protect your eyes.
How To Pack
Depending on the size of your suitcase or bag, and whether you’re checking a bag or only taking carry-on luggage, getting everything you need to fit can be like a game of Tetris.
Pack the way flight attendants do to get everything to fit and keep everything safe. Packing cubes are a life saver, start with your shoes at the bottom of the case. This keeps the weight at the bottom and any dirty soles off your clothes. Next, assemble complete outfits by day. Roll them up together and put these in next. Rolling instead of folding is a classic flight attendant trick, to stop clothes from wrinkling and to take up less space. Finally, tuck your toiletries bag into a corner. The main key to packing efficiently is to only pack what you need.
It can help to pack clothes that are in similar colors, so you can get away with packing fewer pairs of shoes, and other accessories. Everything will go together, so you can pack less and still have plenty of outfit options.
Shoe bags are a good idea for packing, to keep your clothes clean and safe from your shoes. You could save the packaging they came, or just use plastic bags. If you know you tend to overpack, don’t try to pack an outfit for every day. Instead, try to wear the same clothes a few times. Obviously, pack enough socks and underwear for every day, but keep your other clothes simple. Choose simple outfits that you can easily layer up. Wear the heaviest items to the airport, so you don’t have bulky items taking up room in your suitcase. Wear layers, and wrap a sweater around your waist so you don’t have to pack it.
Adhering to the airport security rules limiting gels and liquids to small containers (100ml sized) can be frustrating. What helps me streamline this process is substituting liquid shower gels for a bar of soap for example. Remember toiletries are easily replaceable from any drugstore around the world.
What Not To Do
Flight attendants have a few pet peeves when it comes to passengers. If you know what they are, you can be a dream passenger, and be more likely to get the best service and maybe even some extras or an upgrade.
Don’t pack things that you know you will want in a bag that you’ve put away in the overhead bin. Instead, put what you’ll want during the flight into the personal bag that you can keep under the seat. If you can’t have a personal item, take out what you’ll need in the boarding area, so you aren’t holding up other passengers by digging for your belongings when they’re trying to get into their seat.
Checked bags can make you feel as though you ought to pack as much as you can squeeze in. This is a bad idea, as you’re bound to buy something while you’re away. Leave a bit of spare space, so you can fit in souvenirs or other items you buy while you’re away. Clear some space by packing overnight items in your carry-on, in case your checked luggage goes astray.
In summary pack savvy, avoid the checked luggage fees were necessary and minimize the stresses that come with travel.
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