Kate Russell’s Traveller’s Web – Packing perfect
Check airlines baggage allowances
You’ve been looking forward to your holiday for months and when the day finally arrives there is just one last obstacle standing between you and an awesome trip; remembering to pack the essentials and finding a way to fit them all in your bag. The first task is to check your airline’s baggage policies and weight limits – especially if you’re on a budget airline as those operators will often charge incredibly high fees for excess baggage if you come in over-weight. For general information about what is allowed to be taken on board a commercial jet you can read-up on the latest airport security restrictions on the UK government advisory site here: https://www.gov.uk/hand-luggage-restrictions/overview
PackPoint is a free app which will build your perfect packing list
Let PackPoint pack for you
OK, bag at the ready, what to put in it? You could hand write a list (I usually put an empty box in my bedroom and start dropping those little things you always forget into it for a week or two leading up to P-Day), but a high tech solution exists in the form of a free app for iOS and Android; Pack Point. Just tell it where you’re going, for how long and what you expect to do and it will build your perfect packing list, delivered complete with a weather forecast for your destination.
Get free labels from belon.gs to protect your valuables.
Keep your belongings safe with Belon.gs smart labels
I mentioned this website a few months back but it is worth flagging up again here as it’s a great way to keep track of your belongings and hopefully get them back if you happen to lose them. Send off for a free sheet of Belon.gs QR labels (it took about two weeks for my last lot to arrive so make sure you do it in plenty of time) then stick them on everything you’re packing. This counts particularly for smartphones as once locked they are really hard to return to the rightful owner without some form of identification on the case (and you obviously don’t want to stick your address on it as this could reveal to a criminal that your home is potentially empty and ripe to be burgled!). Make sure you register the labels on the website and if someone does recover an item belonging to you, you will be connected anonymously to organise the return.
Leave folding behind and learn to flat pack
Now you’ve decided what is going in your case it’s time to try and fit it all in. Lay out everything you plan to take on your bed and then get ruthless about what you really need and eliminate anything you can. Remember to leave some space if you’re planning on doing any shopping while you’re away. Pavia Rosati from Fathom recommends the ‘flat pack’ style, which flies in the face of folding tradition and has garments laid flat in the case to save space and hopefully arrive at your destination with fewer creases. There is a video demonstration on the website to guide you through the process. (http://youtu.be/zq7XOqGMohQ)
Trace your lost bags with MyLostBags.com
Keep track of your luggage
Another website mentioned some time ago is also worth a quick nod here; if your bag does go missing on a flight you can use http://MyLostBag.com to try and trace exactly where it ended up, and how long it might take the catch up with you.
Sakoos can help with insurance claims
It’s always a good idea to know what was in your bag in case it does go missing permanently so you know what to claim on your insurance. Sakoos is an interesting app for iOS that could be a real help here as it allows users to photograph and share the contents of their bag. It might seem like a strange thing to do, but the craze was born out of an interest in what photography equipment enthusiasts carry in their camera bag, and has blossomed into a much broader community of bag-curious posters. Before you pack take an aerial snap of everything laid out on your bed then use the app to list and tag each item before sharing with the community. It’s also quite interesting having a nosy through other people’s posts – and might just trigger a reminder of something you haven’t put in your own bag. Even if you don’t want to post your bag contents through this app, taking a snap of your laid-out luggage on any camera could help you settle an insurance claim if you need to.
Kate Humble’s website helps adventurous travellers make a difference.
Use spare luggage allowance to take resources to communities in need
Finally, if there is any room left in your bag why not put it to good use in the name of charitable giving? StuffYourRucksack is an amazingly simple idea that aims to help adventurous travellers make a difference to the lives of the people they meet by bringing along certain sought-after commodities that will really be valued where they are going; items like school books and stationary for rural schools, or toys for impoverished orphanages. Even the smallest thing can make a huge difference in these places – I took pop-up pencils, paper and a handful of rubber bouncing balls with me into rural Kenya and the slums of Nairobi recently and it was incredible to see how much joy they brought to the kids who live in such devastating poverty. Just check the map to see what’s most needed where you are going and make a connection with community leaders. No middle men. No bureaucracy. Just you and a rucksack full of life changing donations for a community in need.