Have you ever had to go somewhere either for holiday or work and had a nightmare about how to get your packing done, or spent ages with your luggage wondering how to get everything packed?
It can be a real challenge for sisters to pack because we want to pack everything that is in our wardrobe, or we just don’t have enough time to make sure we’ve packed everything we need! As a frequent traveller, I have picked up a few useful hacks to ensure that I save time and be prepared for all circumstances. There’s a saying that you should ‘travel light’ and this in turn can make your mind lighter too. As a seasoned traveller, I live by this motto and it usually leads to a more productive trip without the stress of having to carry around unnecessary baggage.
In this article, I will be sharing tips on how to pack in an organised manner, and ensure you have packed the essentials for both short and long trips, whether you are travelling for business or leisure.
1. Buy good luggage and compartmentalised bags
A weekend bag
Sisters have a tendency to want to pack everything, from their best hijabs to the nicest abayas. Depending on where you are going and how long you are going for, it is always useful to invest in a weekend bag. I bought one many years ago from Trip, which has been very useful for packing the essentials I need on a plane and is also exceptionally helpful if (Allah forbid!) your luggage goes missing. A weekend bag is usually cabin sized so you can take with you onto the plane and is big enough to fit in useful items like documents, laptops and tablets, along with spare clothing. It will also be big enough to take with you if you are travelling within the country you are visiting. It is also big enough for short weekend trips – smaller luggage will force you to pack less! This specific super lightweight cabin bag is easy to carry and pull along, and has been a life-saver for me, I take it on short trips and it actually allows me to fit in enough clothes for four days (yes, I’ve done it!). Another quick tip: get yourself a luggage tag holder to make it easy to spot your luggage when it comes to collecting your luggage at the end of a journey.
Many sisters spend time packing their toiletries and are then not able to find what they need when they need it most, for example when using the bathroom on a plane or at the airport. Compartmentalised travel bags are essential as you have separate areas for all your essentials like shampoo, sanitary items, moisturisers and makeup. These are especially handy as you can fit in items like sanitary items with discretion. Opt for one which has a transparent inlay and use these to store safety pins and hijab accessories safely. You can now find toiletries bags that are designed to help you pass through security easily as they allow only a certain amount of liquid to fit inside.
2. Get a multi-country adapter
Recently whilst travelling to the States, I had a few trips planned, so when I went to buy an adapter, I discovered a multi-country adapter. This multi-country travel adapter will allow you to charge your gadgets by using one single adapter in different countries. This is a good investment as you are saving on buying new chargers every time you travel. It is also useful to get a portable charger, so you will never be without a charged phone.
3. Buy essentials ‘in-country’ and use the Triplist app
To go even lighter when you travel, buy full-sized toiletries in the country you are visiting, though I do recommend buying travel-size products to take with you to use on the go. Alternatively, you can buy most essentials in airports after security. It is important to also pack emergency medication like painkillers, as well as hand sanitisers and first aid items like plasters. Although pharmacies may be available in the country or city you are going to, it is better to be prepared in case they are not easy to reach. If you are like me and don’t want to forget to pack anything, use the Triplist app. This allows you to make a list of things to pack and usefully reminds you before you travel, what to pack or buy when you’re at the airport.
4. Pack the essential five
There are a few things I could not travel without, but these are the essential five I always have in my bag when travelling:
a) a book (or iPad or Kindle)
b) a pen
c) a notebook/journal
d) a passport holder
e) a travel prayer mat.
I usually have a book I like to read as waiting times at airports can be very long and time-consuming; this could also be on your tablet or iPad as I do tend to read books on Kindle to keep the load light! The pen and journal are useful to write your reflections, or on capturing things that you come across whilst travelling, as well as, writing down important information you may need to remember, like directions to a new place when you arrive in the city. It is also essential to get yourself a passport holder or have a separate small bag to hold your boarding pass, tickets and passport in. Too often, we find that we are looking everywhere in our handbag to find the passport or boarding pass – and you don’t want to miss the flight if you can’t find it!
The travel prayer mat is invaluable to me when travelling, especially for long journeys. Alhamdulillah, we are fortunate that many airports and train stations have multi-faith spaces, however, it is essential to carry one so that we don’t miss salah. Mini travel mats are so inexpensive, and usually come with a case and a compass. It is also good to have a travel sized mushaf. Alternatively, Qur’an apps are so accessible, so you can listen to, recite or reflect on verses of the Qur’an whilst travelling.
I hope the above practical tips are helpful, so next time you won’t need to pack too many hijabs, and instead focus on only packing the most important items in an organised and stress-free manner! Share with us your other tips on how to pack productively!