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How does one pack for a year? Part 2

The first post I wrote on packing simply wasn’t enough and I simply didn’t go into full detail of the ins/outs of packing, so dive right here with me on what I pack and how I pack my belongings.

The Luggage

So what’s nice about international flights is that with most airlines, you can check in 2 bags for free under 50lbs (23kilos) so I always take advantage of that when I know I will be traveling for a long duration of time. In addition with that, you can carry on 2 bags essentially so, for example, a small carry on like a small roll-on suitcase along with a personal bag like a backpack or a purse. These bags must weigh no more than 20lbs each and must meet the size requirements to fit in the overhead bin.

In terms of the type suitcases, I prefer to buy hard side luggage bags for they typically last longer and if you place something delicate inside them, the item is least likely to be damaged. And I also avoid buying any black suitcases for over 90% of the people you fly with will have a black bag. Going into baggage claim is an eyesore trying to find it like a needle in a haystack. I had a nasty encounter with someone who had the exact same bag as me, but the only difference between mine and his was my bag was cracked in the corner. Ever since then, I will never buy a black bag. I like to get colors that pop. Something bright and something that no one will have. I have these two bags from American Tourister, in which I recommend to buy from them for its a good brand. Also, I highly recommend for people who travel often should invest in good quality luggage. It is easier in the long run for they tend to last longer, giving you less anxiety or stress over your items that are important to you in that bag. Worst case scenario, your suitcase breaks after the first trip (like myself) and you have to deal with that while on the go. I had a suitcase break on me 3 hours before my flight to California so I ran to the store real quick, bought a bag and was out. It was hot, and I was frustrated, but it had to be done.

If you live in the states, I recommend you check out TJ Max, Ross, or Marshalls for they all have really nice and affordable suitcases. I’ve bought some of my bags from there in the past. Or skip the trip and buy one on Amazon. They have great deals for a set of 3 and they also provide 2-year insurance for your bags if they break for $14 more.

My dream suitcase is this from away. Comes at a hefty price starting at $225 yikes, but its an investment and so worth it. Their brand itself is very minimal and simple and comes with a lifetime warranty. If you buy the carryon suitcase, it comes embedded with a portable charger (say what) and inside the suitcase, they have it set up where you place specific items in particular compartments to avoid people from overpacking.

The Contents

Suitcase 1

Clothes, clothes and more clothes. This is where 90% of my clothes go. I place them all on one side where it’s zipped. I only pack the most important clothes, the clothes that I know I will wear, and the ones most appropriate for the weather for the places I plan to visit. If I haven’t worn it, then I probably won’t when I go abroad. I try to balance it out where I have a good amount of tops, bottoms and dresses. Everything is neatly rolled and placed neatly side by side.

On the other side, I have my rucksack with other smaller bags inside it along with other miscellaneous things like my shower caddy, socks, etc.

Suitcase 2

Hair and Skincare take 3/4 of the weight of this bag but only fill up 1/4 of the bag space. I bought a cheap reusable bag from Daiso awhile back that has a zipper for security. Some of the items spill easily when packed (damn you baby oil) so those items are placed in a separate Ziploc inside the bag. Even if anything smashes open, It happens in the bag and not in my suitcase. Surrounding the bag itself are my shoes. I limited myself to 5 pairs for the last time I went abroad this long, I brought 15…and I didn’t wear them all. But my thing is, I need variety so I may buy another pair or two after I settle in Taiwan. As you can see, there’s def more than 5 pairs in here, (some are sandals) Those don’t count, right?) I may have to reconsider some of my choices…

On the opposite side, we have the coats, shorts and the jeans. These also take up a lot of weight and from weighing this bag, its 5 pounds over the limit. For times like this, I wear layers while flying just so I can take more items with me.

Carry On Suitcase

The most important items typically go in this bag like my medicine, electronics (cameras, spectacles etc.) and anything that didn’t fit in my suitcase. On one side I have my Dr. Martens. For shoes to save space, I like to stuff them with smaller items for example socks or thin shirts and random things here and there. I always pack a pair of clothes in this bag just in case my luggage gets lost. It has yet to happen, thank god, but always prepare and expect the worst.

The Backpack

My laptop is going in here along with all the cables I need for the trip along with, important documents, ID passport wallet and once again, things that didn’t make it into the suitcase. I try to keep it light and avoid adding liquids due to carry on procedures (3oz bottles max), but I somehow always overpack.

Misc Items

Sewing kit: Something always rips or falls off and these come to the rescue when those times come about.

Hanging Luggage Scale: I don’t know what I would do without this! I weigh my bags wherever I go. Without them, I am pretty sure I would’ve been way over the limit one too many times. I’m flying with Air Canada on my next trip, and they’re quite anal when it comes to their baggage policy. If it is over the 50 lbs, expect to pay an additional $100+ per bag. No ma’am, not today.    

Neck Pillow: I don’t know how anyone travels anywhere without a neck pillow. I can barely sleep on the plane, but with this, it adds a good 3 hours of sleep for me on that flight. And what’s nice about this one particularly, it has a pocket on the side and flat in the back. Particularly for seats, it is comfier for when you lean back. Best $40 I have ever spent, and I am never going back. Plus, it is in my favorite color, orange.

Microfiber Towel: These are amazing. I feel like everyone should invest in one for they are super thin, dry very fast, and it doesn’t shed your hair as much. These are also perfect for the pool and beach too. I bought mine from Decathlon, which only exists abroad and in European and Asian countries and in California, but check out your local store for a similar item.

Plug Converter: These are very essential when traveling abroad. Each country has different types of plugs and even if we share the same plug, a lot of times, the volts are different. In most European countries, their volts are at 220v while in the US, it is typically 110-120v. So, it is important even if the plug is the same to use a converter for it can damage the battery in your devices over time. I’m pretty sure that because I never used a converter in China that my MacBook only lasts one hour off the charger. Luckily Taiwan carries the same plug and volts as the US so I won’t have trouble with this of the latter.

Portable Battery Charger: Great for traveling when you’re using your phone all day. I have the Xiaomi Power Bank. Only works for iPhones and Xiaomi Phones, but check out many other types here.

Also, don’t even bother bringing home appliances to countries that have higher voltages like China (they use 220 volts). I brought an iron with me and it blew out a minute after I started using it. Don’t do it.

Last tip: Never place valuable electronics in a checked bag. You would think it is a no-brainer, but more people do it than you think. It can easily break if the bag is mishandled poorly and most importantly, it can be stolen! Even if you have

I hope these tips give you a good idea of how I pack and possibly give you an idea of how to pack for your next trip. Until next time 😉

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