Solo Travel Safety: Packing light is a key component. Safety is built into every phase of your trip, including what you bring. Long before you step out of the house, we’ve talked about:
Using our analogy of building a house, now it’s time to add the walls and roof. This is when you can see everything coming together! Your trip is really going to happen!
Time to tackle packing…light, of course!
How does packing impact solo travel safety? You’d be surprised. First, when you pack light, you’re able to manage your luggage–and yourself–without stress. Second, you’re prepared for just about anything on your trip…so you’re less worried and more able to engage with your destination.
Start with a packing list. There are some excellent travel-pros who understand that solo travelers, especially women, may need to pack differently from those who travel in pairs or groups. Solo travelers are responsible for everything, all the time. There’s no one to watch your belongings while you go to the restroom or grab a snack. If anything, solo folks need to pack extra-light.
Solo travel safety: Packing light starts with a list
Depending on your itinerary, here are some helpful links to get you started:
- HerPackingList.com has lists for just about any place or activity you can dream up.
- Nomadic Matt: The Ultimate Packing List for Female Travelers
- Packing List for Women by Joan Robinson, a Rick Steves guide
- Follow the Yellow Arrows: Planning and Packing for the Camino de Santiago…Yes, this is my book. I packed everything for a 7-week trip into a backpack. Some cool tips here, no matter where you go!
Packing lists keep you from going astray and suddenly deciding that the pink frothy bridesmaid dress that hasn’t been worn since 1995 might suddenly be perfect for that Alaska cruise. Still, each person is unique. If the packing list says to bring a skirt and you don’t even own one, there’s no need to rush out and buy one. Be true to your style.
Got your stuff? Get it in the suitcase!
Once you have acquired the items on your list, it’s time to fit them into your suitcase. It’s not hard to learn how to pack light. Without re-inventing the wheel today, here are some good sources:
- How to pack light and never check in luggage: A YouTube lesson by Farnoosh Brock.
- How to pack light for women (rolling suitcase): Another good YouTube video by Farnoosh.
- Lonely Planet knows a thing or two: Tips from a master packer
Rolling clothing is best for saving space, although there are many fans of packing cubes. Use every square centimeter. Loren Bell, the Lonely Planet writer, says, “Fill [your suitcase] with as much as you can with moderate shoving. Leave behind the rest. Tough decisions on your living-room floor will pay big dividends on the road.”
As someone who is in a constant battle with my impulse to toss in just one more top/sweater/jacket, I know how challenging it is to pack light. It doesn’t come naturally to me. But I am learning.
Bonus packing tips for solo travel safety:
A few more packing tips for today:
- Make sure you know your airline’s baggage regulations and fees. This may be a motivator in packing light.
- No valuables! It’s not smart–and certainly not safe–to bring anything expensive on a trip. You don’t want to tempt thieves. Buy a cheap watch. Bring costume jewelry. If something goes astray, you may be disappointed, but not devastated.
- What to keep in your personal carry-on: Passport, identification, money, credit cards, and electronics (depending on current regulations) should stay with you. Sometimes carry-on luggage gets tagged and put in the belly of the plane, whether you like it or not. Keep the important stuff with you.
- No locks unless they are TSA-approved. If TSA decides to inspect your luggage, they have the right to break locks, or do whatever they need, to get inside. A TSA-approved lock can be opened with no damage.
- Place a copy of your first destination hotel inside the luggage before you close it. Include your name, the hotel, address, and phone number. If luggage gets lost, airlines will do their best to get it to you. Make the job easier by letting them know where to deliver the bag.
- Personalize your luggage! Keep it safe by making it distinctive. Ribbons, marks, colorful tags–anything that will make someone else think twice before walking off with it.
Thoughtful packing will make an enormous difference in your travel experience. You and your bags will be safer when you take time to pack properly. Next? Travel to your destination!
More helpful links: