Spring Break will be upon us soon and that means vacationing and traveling for many people. Wherever you decide to go, you’ll unfortunately have to do some packing. This year, I’ll be going to Kuala Lumpur and I thought I would let you all in on what I’m packing for my week-long journey to Malaysia.
Read any travel blog or watch any travel Youtuber, they’ll tell you the same thing: TRAVEL WITH ONLY A CARRY-ON! There are many many reasons for this but the most important is to prevent lost luggage. Airlines losing luggage happens more often than you think, and it’s only a matter of time before it happens to you (especially if you’re traveling internationally with multiple stops)!! I don’t want to deal with the possible HUGE headache of trying to recover my luggage, so everything I pack will be traveling right beside me in a carry-on or personal item.
- I decided to purchase a new CALPAK Tustin carry-on that I found at my local TJ Maxx for $50 (normally retails for >$100). If you’re looking for luggage, I would recommend only looking at outlet stores or stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Ross, or Burlington. Buying luggage anywhere else will be a ripoff.
- There are a few things to consider when searching for a carry-on besides price.
- First thing you should think about is the size. I wanted to find a carry-on that meets the requirements of almost all major domestic and international airlines. My CALPAK measures 19 in x 14.5 in x 9.5 in which is pretty standard. Here are references for carry-on size restrictions for some airlines you may travel with: American Airlines (and most major US airlines), Ryanair, Air Asia, and Spirit but please don’t fly with Spirit unless you HAVE to (they only allow ONE free personal item!). Also note that budget airlines may also weigh your carry-on because they are bloodsucking vampires that want to get every penny you have!
- Second thing you have to decide between is hard-shell, soft-shell, or backpack. Hard shell luggage is good for those who want to have the ability to roll their things around LIGHTLY and they are ideal for protecting your belongings from getting wet. Soft shell bags usually have multiple inner/outer compartments for flexible packing and are usually more durable. Backpacks are for those who are traveling to areas where the terrain may not be best for rolling around luggage. It really depends on where you’re going, how long you’re traveling for, and your needs. I have to say that if you are going to get a rolling carry-on, then it would be best to get one with 4 or 8 wheels for ease of movement. Also, make sure to do some research on the materials of the luggage. For example, polycarbonate hard shell luggages will be better than ones made of ABS.
- Lastly, you should consider what kind of features the bag comes with. My CALPAK has multiple compartments inside the hard shell where I can store dirty laundry and hold cables or other small items! It also has a TSA approved lock just in case I decide that I want to check my bag but don’t want weirdos pilfering through my stuff.
- It’s also wise to bring a daypack. I purchased an $18 hiking backpack from Walmart awhile ago (for a Spirit flight bleh) and it’s waterproof, holds a good amount of stuff, and has many compartments. Daypacks can be used when you actually arrive at your destination for holding snacks, drinks, and camera gear when you’re out and about. They can also be used as extra storage on airplanes as an under-the-seat “personal item” to go along with a carry-on (check airline regulations).
- Now let’s move onto the contents of these bags and I’ll start off with clothing. Since I’ll be in KL for 5.5 days, I decided to pack 5 pairs of underwear, 6 shirts, 2 casual shorts, 2 athletic shorts, 1 pair of joggers, a lightweight rain jacket, and a swimsuit. Wow, after typing that I feel like I packed too much… Anyways, Malaysia is a hot country so I will be sweating a lot. I decided to bring clothes that are breathable, light-weight, and can easily be washed in my hotel room. To meet those requirements, I mainly try to stay away from cotton and instead find clothing made of polyester, nylon, and/or spandex. Also, you can see that my wardrobe consists mainly of solid colors that don’t really stick out. This makes it easier to mix and match outfits. Whatever you do, don’t overpack your clothes! Like I said, laundry made of synthetic material can easily be washed in the sink or done cheaply at a laundromat (depending on where you are). So pack lightly now, and buy more clothes in your destination if you need to. That way, it gives you more room in your suitcase to buy souvies and other cool things!
I packed 3 different pairs of footwear.
- The first is a tan canvas Mossimo shoe that I will be wearing with me to the airport lounges or if I need to look more presentable. I got these from Target for under $20 and they are pretty comfortable if you don’t walk around all day in them.
- My second set of shoes is a fresh pair of 2016 Nike Flexes which I’ll be using for exercising and long walks. I got these shoes from Finish Line for $50 when they were on sale but you could probably find similar shoes at your local Marshall’s for a better price. These Nikes fold almost completely flat (making it easy to pack) and are extremely comfortable for everyday wear.
- Lastly, since I’m traveling to a tropical climate, I decided to bring a pair of flip flops. These Mush flip flops are some of the most comfortable flip flops that I have ever owned and the fiancee got it for me from TJ Maxx for just under $10. Don’t waste your time with cheap/flimsy flip flops when traveling. You’ll never know when it’ll start raining, and you may have to walk long distances in said flip flops.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this packing series to see what medications, other miscellaneous essentials, and camera gear I’ll be bringing with me. Thanks for reading, I hope everyone has an awesome and safe Spring Break!