An expat's guide to packing for a short trip

  • Short trip
Published 9 months ago

There is nothing worse than packing an oversized and heavy suitcase during a trip. Whether you are trying unsuccessfully to fit your luggage into the overhead compartment on your 30-minute flight, pulling a clunker of a suitcase with broken wheels through the hotel lobby, or trying to carry that same suitcase in your hands as if it were an outsized toddler, not packing correctly can lead to some serious discomfort.

Scott and dog Bennie

Scott Moses

World traveler, remote worker, expat. Scott takes his dog Bennie on all his adventures.

At the same time, on any trip, it is important to have some of the essentials for travel that will make life on the road a little bit easier and smoother. For expats who have accustomed to life away from home, travel might seem almost like second nature. Nonetheless, here are some simple tips that every expat needs to know for a quick trip away from your home away from home.

First and foremost: The bag

sac a dos

Before you start deciding what you want or need to bring with you for a trip, you need to think about how you are going to carry these items. Suitcases might be a good option if you are headed out for a several week vacation to the other side of the world. For short trips and weekend getaways, however, you would do well to leave your suitcase at home and opt instead for a quality travel backpack.

A good travel backpack will allow you to avoid the inevitable hassles of lost luggage on airlines since you will be able to take it as a carry-on. Furthermore, whether you are touring a city or hiking through the mountains, a travel backpack makes it easier on your back and shoulders to get your stuff from point A to point B.

Wear the same outfit on both flights

Travel days are usually down days. Other than sitting in airport lounges and on boring flights, you usually don´t do a whole lot of exercise nor dirty your clothes. To save space in your bag, consider wearing the same (nice) pair of clothes on your return flight as on your outbound flight. The little extra room in your bag can go a long way, and most people will never know the difference.

Don´t forget the essentials

a bag with the essentials

For a short trip, you probably won´t suffer any serious consequences if you left behind the toothbrush or your black cocktail dress that you wanted to show off during a dinner date. As long as you have your passport, credit card, phone, and wallet/purse, you should be able to survive no matter where you are. Make sure to carry these essentials with you at all times so that if your bag does get lost, a quick trip to a department store will allow you to find a change of clothes and saline solution for your contacts.

Don't look down on the plastic bags

plastic bags for shampoo

Almost every traveller has had the unfortunate experience of opening up their bag after a long flight to find everything from their underwear to their reading glasses caked in a thick coat of shampoo. Bottles with liquids or gels of any type should always be placed in plastic bags to save you from smelling like flowers the entire weekend. Larger plastic bags can also double as “hampers” for your dirty clothes that you can conveniently pack for your return trip home.

Don't leave behind the universal charger

While a weekend getaway might be a perfect excuse to “disconnect” from the rat race of job life, most of us do enjoy having a way to stay at least somewhat connected to the happenings back at home. A universal charger is a good way to charge up the battery for any electronic device you might have without having to carry around several different types of cords and cables that clutter up your bag.

Do you have an extra memory card?

appareil photo

Imagine sitting on the balcony of your hotel watching a beautiful sunset overlooking the city. Just as the sun is about to disappear over the horizon, you try and click that once-in-a-lifetime shot only for your camera to tell you that your memory is full. By the time you delete a few pictures, the sun is gone and the moment has disappeared. To never miss a great photo opportunity, make sure to bring along an extra memory card (or two). They weigh less than an ounce but can go a long way in helping to preserve the memories and moments from a fantastic trip.

Above all else, don´t fret the small stuff

On any trip, the things you bring (or forget to bring) should never determine how much fun you have. Whether you packed too much or too little, you can always learn to make due for the time being. That is having been said, following these simple packing tips will allow you to get the most out of every quick getaway.