So the past couple have weeks have been quite crazy! From leaving my old job to booking holiday flights, saying bye to friends and sorting visa applications, life has definitely been busy. I moved back to Manchester a couple of weeks ago and it was a bit of a wild trip but I’m so glad to be back. As much as I enjoyed being home and I know it has been the right decision for my physical and mental health, I thought it was about time I return to the city I love so much!
I don’t actually start back at university until September but I have an internship over summer which is fortunately based in the same area, so it’s very convenient. On the flip side though, my uni house won’t be ready until September(!!). Therefore for July and August I’m going to be living out of suitcases, trying to live a (kind of) minimalist lifestyle and moving about quite a lot.
I have now done quite a few moves where I have had to travel with a very limited amount of things (normally 1 or 2 suitcases) in order to live somewhere for a couple of months or move somewhere to set up a new life. I have also become quite good at packing light for travelling. These are just a couple of tips I have picked up on the way!
1 – Think about weight
How heavy a suitcase or backpack is, definitely effects your mood. I know from experience that having a weighty bag can cause you to strain your muscles, give you back ache and generally make you very aggravated! So don’t give yourself more than you can carry easily. Just because a bag may fit 40kg or your luggage allowance is 23kg for a flight, doesn’t mean you have to be close to that weight. Likewise you don’t need to fill a bag all the way to the top, if you have everything and there is still room then great, leave it! Some easy swaps are travel sized toiletries (buy full sized ones upon arrival at destination), multipurpose items (e.g. co wash instead of conditioner and shampoo), and wear your heaviest items of clothing (if weather permits!).
2 – Rationalise
My packing technique may seem stressful to others but I always, ALWAYS over pack – yet still manage to forget things?! So, my solution is to lay everything out on a bed or on the floor and organise it into sets e.g. gym kit, trousers, skirts, shirts etc. Then I go through everything and rationalise it, looking at items and seeing if there are multiple ways I can wear them. For example, if there are two shirts, one of them goes with 2 skirts and a pair of trousers, and the other only goes with one skirt, then of course I will pick the one that goes with more. I normally end up reducing my clothing and toiletries by about 1/3-1/2 by doing this.
3 – Check the weather
This seems silly but even if you’re travelling or moving within your own country you want to know what the weather is going to be doing. For example for me, I knew I would be back home to pick up the rest of my stuff before it starts to get too cold in Manchester. Therefore I knew that I only needed to take perhaps 1 or 2 jumpers and a waterproof coat. All of my other bulky winter clothing could stay at home until I move into my permanent Manchester house in September.
4 – List essentials
A few weeks before the trip or move I tend to start making lists. Often you’ll think of something random you really want to take and forget about them the night before you pack. I currently have a few lists including “Manchester Clothes”, “Toiletries”, “Holiday Hand Luggage”, “Holiday clothes” and “Electronics”. A few examples of things on my lists include my brothers go pro (I’m borrowing it for my holiday), 2 x power banks, a few new items of clothing, an old pair of sandals I need to find, specific books, tablets etc.
5 – You won’t remember everything
I think my biggest packing revelation was when I finally accepted that I will not remember everything.
I don’t remember the last time I went on a trip and thought to myself “oh my gosh, amazing, I have EVERYTHING I could possibly ever need”. It’s just impractical. In my eyes, so long as you have the essentials (i.e. passport, money, phone & charger, debit cards, and a change of clean clothes) then you’ll be okay.
Normally if I have forgotten something I either realise, actually, it’s not as important as I thought it was going to be and I just do without. Or I go out and buy something that will do the job. There are very few things that will actually ruin your trip if you forget them, so make a list of the absolute necessities (I’m talking paperwork and money basically!) and everything else can be bought or borrowed.
I hope some of these tips will help you with your travels this year. Let me know where you’re going!