ASTA has provided some helpful packing tips to assist travelers that will make packing a breeze as part of its ongoing consumer advisory series. “There are two kinds of travelers in the world: those who packed light and those who wish they had,"ASTA notes, urging consumers to use a professional travel agent and to visit ASTA’s consumer website:
. "With the now ubiquitous checked-baggage fees charged by most airlines, getting everything into as little space as possible is more important than ever."
"ASTA members know the techniques of efficient packing and packing tips for all types of travel," said Chris Russo, ASTA president and chair. “Travel agents really are there for their clients before, during and after their trip."
Here are a few techniques ASTA offers for efficient packing for all types of travel.
* Make a plan and stick to it. A packing list eliminates the panic of last-second packing, serves as a handy guide for repacking at the end of the trip, and can be beneficial in the unfortunate event of lost or stolen luggage.
* Check and check again. Cross-check your packing list to determine if one piece can cover multiple occasions. Pick clothes that coordinate well together, based around complimentary colors.
* Leave it behind. When it comes to jewelry don't take what you don't want to lose, and leave behind the flashy pieces that could attract thieves. Leave the perfume behind when scented lotions will work just as well.
* Ready, set, go. Keep a travel kit perpetually stocked in a waterproof case -- it saves packing time before the trip and aggravation after arrival. And don't fill bottles up to the very top--pressure inside the plane may force the contents to expand and overflow. Also, be careful when it comes to checking aerosols in your checked luggage as they also can explode under pressure.
* Smooth operator. Iron everything before placing it in the suitcase. If it goes in crisp and clean, odds are more in its favor of coming out the same. Button all buttons and zip all zippers.
* Fold it like you mean it. Practice folding like they do in clothing stores - they use that method for a reason. The better the fold, the fewer the creases. The interlocking method of folding clothes is ideal for suitcases. Overlap two pieces of clothing flat and then fold them into each other so that each piece cushions the other to aid in defying wrinkles.
* Pack backwards. Pack what you plan to wear or will need first, last. This will prevent rooting around the suitcase for a specific item while disrupting the rest.
* Pack it in. Packing loosely wastes precious space and causes clothes to wrinkle. Eliminate wasted space, such as the insides of shoes, which are perfect for socks or underwear. And when repacking, remember that balled-up, dirty laundry takes more space than carefully folded clothes, so repack your used clothing identically to your original packing method.
* Pack it out. Always carry travel documents, medication, jewelry, traveler's checks, keys and other valuables in your carry-on luggage. Items such as these should never be packed in checked luggage.
* Signed and delivered. Label each piece of luggage, both inside and out, with your name and telephone number, but not your home address. If an address is needed, then put your office address.
With a little TravelSense, a few packing guidelines and some helpful packing tips, traveling light will be an easy plan to follow, ASTA says. ASTA’s consumer website makes packing easy with a customizable packing list based upon a traveler’s destination, accommodations, weather at their destination, tour activities and number of travelers. Travelers can print off a checklist or e-mail it to themselves.