If it’s your first time solo travelling on a budget, the last thing you want is to have a packing panic attack when you’re going to be 10 minutes late for your train, or to start freaking out when your luggage doesn’t turn up on the baggage carousel in a foreign airport.

Here’s a small guide on how to save space, organise and keep your packing headaches to a minimum.

Minimize Bulk

You’re going to be able to save yourself on both time and stress at the baggage carousel if you can make sure that all your luggage fits into a carry-on. Always try to wear bulkier pieces of clothing, such as coats, jeans and boots, instead of packing them. Try to avoid redundancies, such as extra shoes or clothes that you don’t need. A good rule of thumb is to bring three sets of clothes so that you can wash one, dry one and wear one, and to make sure that each of your clothes match with everything else. Extra shoes take up a significant amount of space; your best option is to wear a good pair of waterproof boots.


Always try to roll clothes instead of folding to maximise space, and make sure that the rolled items are placed at the bottom of your luggage. Top the pile with any clothes that you may need first, such as additional layers if you’re travelling to countries with a colder climate. If you’re backpacking and weight is more of a concern than space, make sure that your lighter items are at the bottom of your backpack; it’ll feel lighter, as most of the load will be on your lower back.


If you’ve the money to spend, use packing cubes to make sure that you don’t have to rummage through your entire luggage to find the one outfit you’re looking for. A more affordable option would be to use vacuum bags and using coloured stickers as an easy way to help you to differentiate between them.

Spend Strategically
If you’re going on a fairly long trip, you may want to research into the general cost of a basket of goods that you’ll be able to afford in that location, and pack accordingly. Depending on exchange rates, you may be able to forego packing bulkier items and toiletries, and buy them at your destination.

If you really must bring both a checked bag together with a carry-on, make sure to pack the heavier stuff into your carry-on. Most ticket agents won’t bother to enforce weight limits.

Separate Your Cash, passport and credit cards
This is more of a security tip than a space-saving one: Make sure not to keep all your cash in your wallet. Instead, spread it out among your luggage, person and clothes pockets. As an added security measure, send a scanned copy of your passport, identity card and emergency numbers to your own email.



Raphael Lim

about Raphael

Raphael has interviewed Superman, gotten choked out by mixed martial artists, and sworn off food for a week without ending up looking like Gandhi. Yes, truth can be stranger than fiction. You can read his scribblings primarily in the Disrupter and Storyteller sections. He can be reached at raphael@departuremag.com.

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