Packing for a holiday when you know you’ll be staying in the same accommodation for the whole trip is easy-peasy. You can unpack, hide your suitcase under the bed and not see it again until you’re frantically re-packing an hour before your airport transfer arrives to take you home. With a multi-destination trip, there’s no such luxury. Organisation is absolutely key, and the type of luggage you carry around with you will make or break your sanity.
Here’s some questions to ask yourself when you’re packing for a multi-destination trip:
What transport am I going to be taking?
If you are planning on hopping across various buses and trains, you need the simplest luggage combination possible. I always opt for a backpack as my main piece of luggage because it is so much less hassle carting it on and off transport, up and down stairs, and in and out of accommodation, than a big heavy suitcase that I can hardly lift.
A wheelie suitcase for hand luggage is simple to roll along next to you when you’re wearing a backpack, and never too heavy to lift up onto luggage racks or too big to tuck under a seat, PLUS it fits so much more in than the bag you’d be carrying if you had a giant suitcase to drag behind you.
How long am I going away for?
Roughly translated: how much do I need to pack? You can wash and re-wear clothes, of course, but what about cosmetics? If you’re going for months at a time, you might need enough of certain items for your entire trip (noted after I once spent an entire day in Beijing trying to find tampons to no avail. NEVER AGAIN).
Really, you need a bag with TARDIS like qualities. My super awesome, amazing Osprey Transporter backpack* from Ellis Brigham, has secret compartments everywhere, meaning I have the main area for my clothes and shoes, but additional areas to hide plug adaptors, cosmetics, travel itineraries, guide books, and chargers of every sort. Separate your things into luggage cubes as well and you are going to be SO ORGANISED.
What weather am I going to be in?
When I went on my Big Trip last year, I started in Kuala Lumpur in 38 degree heat, and ended in winter in New Zealand. For my trip to Japan, there’s every chance I will experience muggy sunshine followed by thunderstorms, so what’s the answer? LAYERS.
Plenty of vest tops that can be covered with thin jumpers. Shorts but also jeans. A rain coat and a denim jacket. Trainers, trainers, trainers (nice ones, grotty ones, ones sturdy enough for rough terrain). Use your luggage cubes so you know where every weather-appropriate item is, and when that gloriously sunny day suddenly turns grey, you’ll be prepped and ready.
How long am I spending in each destination?
If you’re not going to have enough time to unpack and re-pack your bag at each destination, you need to be able to find everything in your bag with no hassle. My Osprey backpack doesn’t open at the top like a typical travelling backpack, but instead has a duffel bag-type opening on the back; essentially this means I have access to my ENTIRE bag, without removing everything to find that one pair of shoes at the very bottom.
Planning to do washing at certain destinations will mean you won’t have to pack for every single day, too. Hotels will have a laundry service and hostels have washing machines; as long as you’re somewhere for minimum of three days, you’ll have time for things to dry, and even to iron stuff – if you’re that way inclined!
And remember: pack half as much as you think you need, and leave some room for shopping!
I take the following with me on a multi-destination trip:
|Osprey Transporter 130L backpack / Fjallraven Kanken backpack / Antler wheelie case
Packing cubes / Tatty Devine Wash Bag