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Three Tricks to Packing Light

Taking it one bag at a time.

Packing. You would think it gets easier the more you do it. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try (or do I?), this is not the case for me. I remember my best friend scolding me for wanting to pack the entirety of my closet when I moved away for the first time, making me face the harsh reality that it simply would not fit and I would have to leave things behind.

Although my packing efforts have been streamlined into bringing only the essentials, I occasionally still have challenges in determining what these essentials are. I will soon be leaving for Slovenia, which means the dreaded activity has found its way to me again. I tend to leave it to the last minute, and too many times have I found myself struggling to get it all together, while my boarding time gets nearer and nearer. You would think that I would learn from past mistakes, but sadly, improvements have yet to be made.

Regardless of habit, I have made progress in packing when it comes to travel. People are often impressed at how little I am able to bring and still get by. The key for travel is to find multiple uses for items, but when it comes to moving, this is something I am still trying to figure out.

Lately, I have been on the move every four to five months, yet I don’t want to pack for travel; I want to pack for everyday life. Easier said than done. How does one manage to bring clothes for different seasons, both casual and professional, both comfortable and classy? And don’t even get me started on shoes. I haven’t been blessed with the tiniest of feet and find it unfair that my large shoes take up most of my packing space.

Then, there’s technology. While I don’t travel with my laptop, it is challenging to live the life of a student without said item. This means I must carry it with me wherever I go, along with my camera, iPod and other necessary electronics.

So, how do I fit it all in? Believe it or not, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve that have helped me with this daunting organizational task. Here are some of my packing essentials, for both travel and everyday life abroad:

1. Packing cubes: I used to laugh at my aunt’s reliance on these items until I used them myself. In fact, I just bought more. Who knew compartmentalizing your items into perfect little cubes could allow you to pack and re-pack as many times as you want, without the hassle of having to take it all apart? (I swear they make my bag lighter, but that’s just me.)

2. Quick dry towels: These super awesome, compact and quick drying items have left me amazed after stepping out of the shower at how quickly I have dried off. Whether you need it for a hostel or you have fallen behind in your laundry, this item is a must.

3. A scarf: You should have at least one. Preferably one that opens up wide enough to be doubled as a blanket on planes, air-conditioned busses, trains—everywhere. Stylish and practical? Double-duty qualified.

A useful website I have come across is Her Packing List. While mostly directed to women, many useful tips are to be found.

What are your essentials?

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Melissa Gagne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Melissa Gagne has always had a knack for finding adventure. After completing her undergrad in Toronto, Melissa ventured off to South Korea for a year to teach English. She is now on her way to Europe to begin her Masters in Tourism through the Erasmus Programme, which will take her to Denmark, Slovenia and Spain.

Website: hereandtherelocally.wordpress.com/

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