3 packing tips you may not have thought of!

Welcome to the third instalment of our Interview with an Expert series!

Now, this is not your usual packing tip article, today we’re focussing on the little things that are easy to forget. Often it’s the small details that can make or break a holiday, so we’re glad Ann is here to teach us!

Ann’s trips usually last for 3 weeks. Most of her luggage goes into a check-in suitcase and she has a mobile office in her carry-on, which consists of a laptop, tablet, documents and chargers. Here are 3 of her favourite packing tips:

1. Bring all the adapters!

Sure, we all know that power plug adapters are a travel must-have. But Ann says that you should also be mindful that some countries do not have access to the same tech that we do at home.

Ann’s issues are mainly work-related, like connecting to printers and projectors, but it is still applicable to the recreational traveller. For example, many Apple and Google products use USB-C which is not available in some countries. This means that they can’t be replaced if they are lost or left behind. So take extra special care of your dongles!

packing tips

2. Spare clothing might save your holiday…

If you’re checking in your luggage, Ann says that you should put some spare clothes in a carry-on. You don’t need much, just a t-shirt, a pair of socks and underwear, to cover your luggage gets lost.  

“Because I travel to unusual places, I tend to fly with smaller airlines. If they lose my luggage, it can often take at least a week to find it. Having some spare clothes means I don’t have to spend the next few days in the shirt I stunk up on the flight over!” – Ann

Theoretically, you could travel indefinitely with 2 sets of clothes…just as long as you’re okay with sink washing every night.

packing tips

3. Know your size limits!

“Carry-on size limits vary from airline to airline so it’s best to research what you’re allowed before you get to the airport. I carry a lot of stuff in my carry-on that can’t be checked in, like power banks, laptops and tablets. If my carry-on bag is too big, I won’t have the option to check it in, which means my trip is over before it has begun!” – Ann

We’ve all seen that person at the airport. They’re screaming at the top of their lungs because airport staff won’t let them take a comically large suitcase, that is definitely over the carry-on weight limit, through the security checkpoint. Their excuse is always the same…” but I used this bag last time and it was fine!!”

Different airlines have different rules. Don’t be that person. Know the rules, Google is your friend.

Excess luggage

If you’re interested in the pros and cons of travelling with a carry-on, we explore it further in our previous blog post on one-bag travel.

What are some of the little things you do to make sure your trip goes smoothly? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re hungry for some more travel tips, have a look at part 1 and part 2 of our interview series where we cover jet lag and hotels. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but they’re a great read.

hotel experience

3 Ways to Make the Most of Your Hotel

We are continuing our Interview with an Expert series with some more travel tips from Ann! This time we’ll be learning how to get the most out of your hotel experience.

Regardless of what you like to do on your travels, you will spend a very large proportion of your time at your hotel. Even if you only use your accommodation as a place to rest after a long day of sightseeing, it’s still the first place you see when you wake up and the last place you see before you go to sleep. As a result, an uncomfortable or unsatisfactory hotel experience can be a massive dampener on an otherwise wonderful holiday.

Luckily for us, Ann spends a lot of time in hotel rooms while away on business. Here are some of her tips to help make any hotel experience the best that it can be:

#1 Check to make sure you have the right room.

I know this seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it happens. Accommodation is one of the bigger travel expenses you’re going to incur, so it’s very important to make sure that you’re getting what you paid for.

“You should make sure to check your room as soon as you arrive. It is very tempting to sit back and relax after a long flight, but if you do, you’ll be more likely to settle for a sub-par room.”

– Ann

Also, if the hotel has made a mistake, you’ll often get free stuff as an apology… and there’s no better way to celebrate the start of your holiday than with free wine!

hotel room experience

#2 Don’t live out of a suitcase if you don’t have to.

If Ann’s staying in one place for a while, she always unpacks her suitcase.

It may seem easier to just live out of your bag, but Ann swears by this technique.

“Living out of a suitcase is fine in most cases, but if you’re staying a while it helps to unpack. When I initially pack for my trips, everything is really well organised. But after a couple of days of taking things in and out, my suitcase looks like a bomb hit! Unpacking keeps everything neat and organised.”

– Ann

Not only will your stuff remain organised, but your clothes will be less wrinkled. This helps Ann look more professional and will keep you looking crisp in your Instagram posts (or on the trail, you’ll be creating in Trails Travel App!).

Unpacking hotel

#3 Steal from the hotel buffet!

I know this sounds bad, but stick with me on this. 

Holidays usually involve a lot of eating out. While I believe that exploring a new cuisine is a quintessential part of travel, it can be very hard to stay healthy. Taking some fruit from the buffet will help you keep your nutrition in check.

Most hotels do not have a problem with guests taking a few items from the buffet for later, provided it’s not excessive. Although some of Ann’s colleagues push the limits on this…

“I have a friend who constantly craves home-cooked meals while he’s away. He hates eating out so much that he has devised all these weird ways to cook food in his hotel room. He makes ramen noodles in the kettle with vegetables he’s taken from the buffet. I’ve even seen him make a toasted cheese sandwich using an iron!”

– Ann

Okay, so that’s a bit ridiculous. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious about an iron-toasted cheese sandwich…maybe this can be the subject of another interview series?

Also, I think this goes without saying, but Ann and I are only referring to the stealing of small snack items and fruit from the breakfast buffet, please do not resort to a life of crime to fund your travel habits.

With these tips, you’ll be sure to make sure your next hotel experience is a comfortable, homey and, if you’re anything like Ann’s mate, a delicious one!

How do you make a hotel feel more like home? Let us know in the comments!

If you missed part 1 of our interview with Ann, where she teaches us how to beat jet lag, you can find it here.