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So you’ve picked the destination, the travel tickets are bought, the hostel is booked and all you’re all set for your trip… except you still have to pack. Packing is the one horror we all have to endure before travelling—it’s time-consuming, stress-inducing and a totally necessary evil, especially when it comes to backpacking.
If you’re about to head out on one of your first big trips, we’re here to advocate for a minimalist approach to packing. It doesn’t matter where your travels take you—you’ll always need less than you think. Reduce the weight on your shoulders—literally and figuratively—by checking out our essential hacks that will make packing for your next adventure a breeze.
No one wants to be struggling to pull a massive suitcase through the cobblestone streets of Quebec City or try to portage a canoe with a 100-pound backpack through Algonquin Park. The right case is the key to a great adventure that won’t leave you needing chiropractor.
You can check out our guide for some of the best backpacks here, but the best way to choosing the right pack is to consider your final destination and travel method. A medium-sized backpack is great for allowing you to keep your hands free, especially if you’re spending a lot of time walking with your pack on. If you plan to fly, check carry-on limits as many airlines require packs to be under 45 litres—which is the perfect size for the majority of trips.
You may be tempted to bring that expensive blazer or a pair of heels just in case, but if there’s a chance you might not wear something, leave it out. You’re better off with a machine-washable button-down or a small pair of flats that you’ll get tonnes of use out of than something you only wear once. We recommend packing lots of basics and bringing jewellery and other chic accessories, like hats, to dress up for a night on the town.
You’ve narrowed down your packing list to only the most crucial of items, but now you have to actually fit it all in. Packing a backpack is very different than packing a hard case, so a practice pack first to ensure you’re not scrambling to fit everything in at the last minute. Take advantage of your backpacks flexibility and special pockets to pack efficiently and effectively.
Packing cubes can help you organize your clothes so you don’t end up with a bundle of wrinkled fabrics at the bottom of your case. Try and experiment with rolling instead of folding certain items to keep everything organized and fit it in neatly. Pro tip: when using a soft case or backpack, pack everything the night before. The air will release slowly overnight, so you’ll be able to squeeze in a few extra items like your pyjamas and toothbrush in the morning.
Organization is the key to a stress-free holiday that doesn’t break the bank. When you’re booking your trip, check to see if your transportation has any baggage requirements. This is key for airlines as they’ll often charge extra for bags that are too large or heavy to be taken as carry-ons. You can save a lot of money and airport stress by knowing the rules. If you do have to check a bag, look online to see if you can pay the fee in advance since it’s often cheaper to do so.
When you’re in transit, grab a small purse or waist pack, where you can keep all your quick-grab items like your passport, phone, headphones, wallet and maps. This way you won’t have to keep opening and closing your main bag and everything will stay secure and organized.