9:47 PM

I'm almost done printing all the documents I need for my Schengen visa application. It's my third time to apply and the first two have been approved but I still feel the same nervous feeling that I felt the first time I handed over my documents to the Norwegian embassy consul. This time, I am going to submit my documents to a third-party visa processing center (VFS) which the Denmark government hired to process visa applications here in the Philippines. I've also yet to buy new luggage sets for me and the hubby because his luggage wheel got damaged on his last flight. I also need to keep in mind to pack light so we don't incur a staggering $500 expense on excess on baggage again. Que horror!
If you’re not prepared or at least used to it, the hours leading up to an out-of-town or overseas trip can be an exercise in frustration. You have to review your itinerary, make sure you do everything you can, not to get stuck in traffic on the way to the airport (sometimes an exercise in futility all by itself!), and get some rest so you don’t end up irritable when you finally land.

That’s not all. Of course, there’s also that common conundrum travelers end up face to face with all too often: packing all your essentials without ending up going to the airport with three giant suitcases and a full mountaineering pack.

Knowing how to properly pack for a trip can make the difference between an enjoyable vacation and a nightmare trip to hell. Not just psychologically and logistically, either -- it can also affect you financially. In a blog post detailing the top ten common hidden costs associated with budget airlines, UK parking service Parking4Less lists baggage fees at number 3. Fail to pack light and you stand to spend more than you expected at the check-in counter. I have my own story to tell about this and that experience left me dumb-founded. It was such a travel faux pas. 

Now, knowing how to pack efficiently is both a science and an art. Useful tutorials and how-tos from experts such as Rick Steves online that show you the most efficient ways to fill any given bag with as much as you possibly can. That’s the science part. 

Here are a few tips that should help you get started:
  1. Don’t fold your clothes. That takes too much space. Instead, roll them up.
  2. Ball up socks and underwear to save space.
  3. Limit yourself. Never use a bag that’s bigger than the maximum carry-on size.
  4. Need to bring a bulky jacket? Don’t pack it - just wear it instead.
  5. Minimize toiletries. Just buy them as needed.
As for the art part? That’s knowing instinctively which items to bring and which to leave behind. That’s something that can only be learned through trial and error, however. Go plan your next trip and practice your packing skills! Let's all wander the world one country at a time. In the meantime, I'll practice packing light. Let me know if you have a tip or two to share.

I'm not sure if I could ever personally pack light or even learn how to do it in my lifetime but hey I gotta do what I got to do. Read about my Denmark travel chronicles HERE

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