How to pack for that budget trip and still stay sane

If you are like myself and are not a millionaire, you will want to save as much as possible on a trip. Cheap flight airlines are popping up like flies on dung all over the place. For the user this means severe limitations on what and how you carry stuff. The smaller your pack, the better

Roll it all up

For those who are ex-military, you'll know what to do. For the rest, rethink how you pack that small bag—learn to roll. Pushing stuff down is not the answer, but most people probably do that.

The rolling technique is quite simple. What you are doing is creating an envelope, then rolling the piece of clothing up into it.

Let's use socks as an example
  1. Put the socks on top of each other.
  2. Turn about 2 inches inside out, over the top.
  3. Roll up, as tight as you can so that the roll is over the 3 layer part , with the single layer showing as seen, on the outside. Hold the roll tight in your hand.
  4. Slip the single layer back over the whole roll, so that you end up with something like this.

Practice this a few times. Once you get the hang of it, this method will apply to all clothing worn under coats or hats . It really comes into play when you have several changes of clothing (yes, even your bra's and handkerchiefs) and not a lot of room in your pack. Unpacked, the clothing will be wrinkled. You'll have to leave it hang for a bit and some of the wrinkles will sort themselves out. Press with hands or an iron to finalize for wear. Not recommended for wool sweaters.

This could save you as much as 40 percent of the room in your pack and it is much more manageable (no clothes flopping all over the place when you pull them out). Put all the clothing in a stuff bag and place it at the bottom of your pack. You now have a nice solid base and it will act also as a bit of padding for your camera/electronic stuff as well. Since I only take one change of clothing, I don't see a lot of space saved, but there is a little bit extra—it's when you have a lot more that you'll notice the savings.

Another alternative is the Hobo-Roll (available in/from USA only). See Greg's take on this at:—it compresses your clothing (like rolling) and also saves a lot of space.

Everything has a place

You know about the zip bags to put lotions, etc., in. The rest should be bagged as well. All your clothing in one bag, your hardware (laptop, camera and anything that sets the alarm off) in another, etc. Stuff sacks and the like are fine. But from what I hear, some airports want to see it all. So you may need transparent zip lock bags for everything. Situations change, so keep an eye on the news and be prepared to alter what you carry and how it is packed.
July 07, 2013