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Packing for your journey

Packing for your journey


Does packing for your trip especially short travels come easy to you or does it give you sleepless nights like me?

I am that person who never leaves anything I consider essential on a journey because I don’t want to wish I had taken it. I could pack two bags for a weekend; Too much right? Trust me I won’t be bothering my host for lot things besides water, a room to sleep in and food perhaps.


The last time I wanted to make a 30-day journey, I think I developed a migraine trying to figure out what and what not to take. At some point I had to call a friend to come help repack my already packed bags and still, the amount of luggage I had made it look like I was relocating or something of that nature. I wanted all my essentials because I believe in having more than having less; I love being self sufficient but then dragging excess luggage will cost you more money and equal stress.

Packing light is a universal rule and I am sure you have noticed how transport and logistics companies are always concerned about the weight of luggage a passenger has. For air travels, you have to check the maximum permissible weight and pack accordingly. Most people wear their heavier clothing to reduce weight and put the lighter ones in their travel bags. This also applies to road transport companies that weigh passenger luggage before boarding. With extra luggage, incurring extra charge for every extra kg above the allowable limit is unavoidable. Then again, you go through the arduous task of carrying this heavy luggage and risk having a back or general body ache by the time you arrive your destination.

I know you would be wondering why I have decided to talk about something as trivial as packing but I will make bold to tell you that it is not always that simple/easy. Wait till you have to pack for a weekend, conference or business trip or even a vacation or relocation, especially out of Nigeria then you’d understand better.


Packing is a common activity to all of us and totally unavoidable but how efficient are we at it? And then again, the season is upon us if you know what I mean.

It’s that that time of the year when we travel to see our relatives and friends, attend events and go on vacations in a bid to cool off after a long year of work, toil and struggle.

In this edition, we will be talking about a few tips that can help you put only vital and necessary items together for your journey. Here are a few tips:

Make a list of items: This is a crucial step and your list should be as exhaustive and elaborate as possible. This is to enable you sort out/put together all you will need. It will also help you avoid leaving anything behind. I learnt this very tip from my younger sister when I was about going for my NYSC camping.


Check and recheck every item before you pack them: This can help eliminate unnecessary items and create space for what is really needed.

Avoid large suitcases or travel bags: The bigger the bag, the more things you’d like to take along with you because extra space gives more room for stuffs that may not be needed.

If you are second guessing it, drop it! Remove items you are second guessing i.e. any ‘in case’ item should be dropped. Most of us are prone to over packing for every journey, especially ladies. Avoid any item that you take “just in case” because most of those items will neither leave your bags nor be used throughout your trip/stay. Most of those items are what occupy viable spaces that could have been taken up by things you actually needed or at least made your load lighter.


Wears: Pack for the occasion you are attending and the weather. For instance, if you are packing for a week, take a change of about 5-6 shirts/tops should the need arise and you have no time to wash before wearing it again. However, if you can wash at your destination, by all means, take less.

Pack neutral colored clothing if possible because they are easier to work with. Bright colored clothes give you a lot of options with over packing. Do not forget to pick a nightie and a possible event cloth if you are sure you’d be attending one.

Underwears should be packed with the duration/length of the travel in mind and this is the one of the items that should have a “should in case” i.e an extra underwear is advised. Also make sure all underwears are packed together to conserve space easy to pick without scattering your bag.

For men, socks should be enough for the number of days you will be away. Take a pair of shoes and slippers, a belt and a bag that can easily match your outfits.

Take a swimwear only if you know you will use it. If you don’t need a cardigan, leave it behind.

Rolling of clothes tend to help you conserve more space than plainly folding them but exceptions should be made for clothes that may need ironing especially if you are not sure of getting a pressing iron at your destination or even finding the time to iron your clothes before use.

Fill up every space: Your shoes can help hold your socks at least. You can also opt for using smaller bags to partition and itemize your belongings as well as protect and hold them in place.

Pack versatile footwears i.e., footwears that are comfortable and suitable for various occasions and can easily match other attires.

Toiletries: These are soaps especially liquid, body lotions, shampoos, hair care products, deodorants and perfumes. All liquid items should preferably go into a Ziploc bag first before putting it in the main travel bag and take only what is needed. This is to avoid spillage and also aid accessibility. You can also use smaller containers to take the quantity required for the time you will be away so that the big containers don’t take up spaces that can be used for other things.

Some ladies have a lot of liquid toiletries ranging from liquid soaps, body lotions and perfumes.

Your oral care kit should go here too.

Another option to make packing these items easier is by getting smaller bottles/containers of/for them or getting solid toiletries.

Gadgets: Laptops, chargers, tablets, phones, headphones, extension boxes and power banks should be carefully packed to avoid manhandling as these devices have become part of our everyday lives that we can barely do without them.

If you are traveling to a place with unstable power supply, it would be nice to travel with a power bank for your phone and maybe an extra battery for your laptop especially if you are travelling within your motherland.

For safety purposes, put them all in one place, preferably, a hand luggage which will not leave your sight throughout your journey. That same bag can also hold your wallet/purse/passports/cardholder etc or you might want to put it in a smaller bag that will be accessible to you at all times too. Avoid putting this bag amongst other luggage or in a car trunk.

Finally, maintain situational awareness at all times. Pay attention to your luggage to avoid stories that touch the heart and the pain of being stranded in a strange land for a journey you took extra time to prepare for. Limit your screen time, reduce your audio volumes if you have a headset or an earpiece or earbuds on; this helps you to be mindful of your environment and also keep an eye out most importantly if you are on the road.

Please be careful out there and stay safe. I wish you safe travels!

Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

See you in 2023! Salud!


All pictures above were sourced from the internet. I have no rights to them. They were all used for the purpose of illustration only.


Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.

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1 Comment

  1. Onwuka Nnenna Helen

    Very helpful piece.
    I am that one person that carries lots of luggages just because I don’t want to regret forgetting anything 😅

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