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Packing Like a Pro: Essential Tips for International Travel

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Whenever I’m getting ready to travel internationally, I have two main goals for packing: pack light and pack essentials. I can’t carry around a heavy suitcase, but it’s also difficult to get by without some basics. I’ve learned how to get the most from every inch and pound of my bag and you can too.

Choose Your Bag
Unless I’m going to be traveling more than a week, I manage to get by with a carry-on size bag. I have a lot of walking with my luggage in other countries, so the small size makes it easy. If you can stick with a smaller bag. Wheeled luggage may be easier to go a little larger, but many international destinations have cobblestone streets or bumpy pavement.

Pack or Buy?
Before you pack, lay out all of the items you plan to pack and ask yourself if you need it and if you can buy it where you’re going. Shampoo and conditioner can weigh you down, and you can likely purchase these at your location. Basic toiletries are best purchased at your location. Check the weather forecast where you’re going and avoid packing for every potential case scenario. If you run into some bad weather, you can always buy an umbrella or even a light jacket. I always bring clothes I can layer to stay warm. <

Use Packing Cubes
I love packing cubes and airless baggies to get the most space possible. You’ll be surprised at how much space you can save with these packing tools. You’ll only need a few, so they’re well worth the investment. Small mesh bags are also a good idea to keep your clothing and accessories organized which can also save space and time.

Consider Doing Laundry
Since I don’t want to pack seven pairs of socks or other items, I always bring laundry soap and wash in my hotel sink. This can save your packing needs by at least 30% and most of my items dry overnight. Jeans and heavy clothes you probably won’t want to bother washing by hand, but socks, underwear, and light clothes are easily washed in just a few minutes every few days.

Make Smart Fashion Choices
I don’t want to look sloppy when I travel so I choose a lot of pieces that can be mixed and matched. Basic colors with a few colorful accessories like jewelry and scarves allow you to have fun with fashion without packing too many clothes. If you want to know how to pack like a pro for an international trip, then follow this advice. You’ll be surprised at how much space you save.

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Hilda Wong

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I'm a doctor, traveler, foodoe, and a startup junkie. I have two adorable dogs that I can't live without.

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