The more I travel, the more I learn the value of ease of use products, baggage weight and gear functionality. Each time I pack my bag, I begin to ask myself the all important question:
“Do I really need this item?”
When I have the right answer, it ends up in one of two piles:
“Go or No-Go”
It's not like I am launching the Space Shuttle…so whether you are on the road for a few days or twenty days – the same rules still apply.
For my last mission trip, I was on the road for twenty days in all kinds of weather. I had to pack for everything from snow to sunny 70 degree weather. Let me just say, that was tough. As I prepped for my most recent mission trip, I knew that the weather would be much better and so I have decided to try a little experiment – pack for nine days and wash clothes on the road. Shocker, I know!
Here are four tips to help short-term missionaries make the most of their travel experience:
- Choose the right travel bag. I cannot emphasize enough that the right suitcase will make all the difference in the world. Almost every suitcase or duffle now has wheels – take advantage of that. My current bag of choice is the Eagle Creek ORV Trunk 25. I got this bag because of its ruggedized wheels, ability to put dirty shoes in another compartment and its ease of packing using the Pack-It system (that's my next tip). I have used traditional suitcases in the past, but the wheels often don't hold up well in tougher conditions.
- Organize items for quick access. On my last trip, I exclusively used Eagle Creek's Pack-It System. If you have not seen these products, you are missing out. This line of products comes in all shapes and forms for every possible use.
Here's how I use them:
- Shirts / Pants get folded and put in a flat folder
- Socks / Workout Clothes / Essentials are put in various size cubes. Typically I put them in their own cubes so that I can grab and go.
- Cords for Electronics – I put all of my non-carry on cords in a cube and throw it my duffle. I only need a few power cords or travel adapters with me.
Once I have packed my cubes (that's the longest part), it takes me about 5 minutesto throw them in my duffle and I am good to go!
- Know the baggage restrictions (or be prepared to pay). Most international travlers are allowed up to 50 pounds for their primary checked luggage before the fees start to rack up. In some cases, if you state that the luggage is supporting humanitarian efforts or mission trips, they will waive the excess baggage cost or might even allow extra bags at no cost. (I just heard that tip from Barbara Liljegren). For this trip, I targeted my bag weight of about 35 pounds simply because I will be taking some inter-continental flights within Europe and they have tighter restrictions. In most cases, you do not wear about one-third of the clothes you bring…so why should you have to carry all that extra weight around – I have plenty of other gear that I bring that will break my back!
- Toss that toothbrush aside. I am not suggesting you throw away your toothbrush or worse not bring one at all. Here's what I am suggesting – pack it in your suitcase or duffle. Instead, buy these cool little throw away brush/pic combo sets. You can use it after a meal on the plane or in the airport or wherever, and the best part is…you can just throw it away when you are done. Simple as that!
Well…that's all the travel tips for now. I hope that these tips will help you be better prepared for your next great adventure!
What travel tips would you suggest? You can leave a comment here.
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