What to stuff into your suitcase: A novice’s guide to packing


I used to be terrible at packing stuff for trips. I remember one time during a student internship that we (student nurses) had to travel to another hospital that is hours away from the city. My mum and dad suggested that I should pack light. I did. Very light. I only packed my uniform and a couple of undies but I didn’t pack anything for over night stay. I had to travel back to the city the next morning (such a waste on my allowance) and pack more stuff.

I don’t travel often and it took me a few tries to get used to packing and knowing what to pack. And I had recently discovered that I am not comfortable with lugging a huge trolley unless it would be an international flight/trip.

So, enough of the backstory.

It’s your first trip and you are at loss on what to pack. You have purchased an extra 15 Kg of baggage allowance. You don’t want to exceed more than 10 kg, because the rest would be for gifts and souvenirs. You stare at the mess you created: an open luggage, several toiletries, stack of clothes, shoes, lingerie, etc. You ask yourself: WHAT THE HECK AM I SUPPOSED TO BRING?

Here are my suggestions on what to put in your luggage:


Obviously! But what clothes exactly?

  • Bring 2 pairs of jeans (your choice of skinny jeans, bootleg, straight cut, whatever)– Jeans are versatile and if you pack a pair that is darker in color, no one would notice that you have worn it several times without washing it.
  • Black Leggings– Only one pair would do and the color would go with anything you put on.
  • Cardigan/Pullovers– 1 or 2 would suffice. They would keep you warm on chilly days.
  • Camisole– a staple. It is a must to bring one or 2.
  • Basic tee– I suggest to choose colors that would compliment what you are wearing for bottoms. I usually bring one or two since I’m wearing a shirt to the airport.
  • Disposable underwear– Tons of it. HAHA! But if you aren’t comfy with disposables, then you may bring in at least 3 or 4. That would suffice for a 1 week trip. Note: you must wash them, of course!
  • Towelette– its smaller than a regular towel but bigger than a face towel. It dries easily and there is a towel provided at the hotel.
But what if I wanted to bring a dress for the trip?

Then I suggest you bring one that doesn’t wrinkle easily and would fold into a small roll when you start packing.


Sandals and slip-ons are easier to pack since they take little space inside your bag. Flats are best to pack since heels take more room. Pick the ones that are most comfy for those inevitable walk-a-thon days!


Bring a small make-up bag if you need make-up for the trip. The bag must/may include the ff:

  • BB/CC cream with SPF– They’re a life-saver and they’re very versatile. It’s like foundation, concealer, powder all rolled into one!
  • Make-up kit– These are pretty small, travel sized kits that include several shades of lipstick, blush, foundation, and eye shadow.
  • Lip/cheek tint– two uses in one!
  • Make-up brushes– so these are tricky. Pack the ones that are most versatile like having a brush with several uses. Personally, I don’t use them much. I have my phalanges for spreading out the BB cream and concealer. HEHE
  • Perfume– bring a small bottle of perfume which scent would last a maximum of 12 hours. Eau de Parfums scent last longer than Eau de Colognes and Eau de Toilettes because the formulation is much more concentrated. This minimizes the need to spray on fragrance frequently.
  • Sanitary pads and liners– just a couple would do. Chances are that you’ll be buying these at the nearest convenience store during your vacation.
  • Toothbrush!


The kit must include the ff: band-aids, cotton buds (small pack), small bottle of betadine, pain medications, flu medications, and plaster.


  • Powerbanks– These are awesome in an emergency! You have to get them fully charged the night before you go though. Place it next to your luggage when you charge it so you won’t forget it by the time you leave for the airport.
  • Neck pillow– to rest your weary neck and head!
  • A darn good book– chances are that you’ll be bored while waiting for your plane to arrive.
  • Phone/Tablet– to keep you amused while waiting.
But wait! Why didn’t you mention shampoo and toothpaste and lotion and other stuff we girls need?

The point is traveling light in order to save more space for gifts and presents and the like for you to bring home once vacation is over.

For the bathroom essentials, these are all located at the nearest convenience store once you’ve settled into your hotel room. You could make use of the soaps provided for by the hotel. Or if you really wanted to bring your own, transfer them to a 50ml bottle (as per airport regulations) and label each bottle carefully so you wont be confused which is which.

How to stuff it in

There are a few techniques to maximize space in your bag in order for you to pack in more stuff that you wanted to bring.

  1. Folding (conventional)- it is where you fold your stuff like you normally would
  2. Rolling- I prefer this method since it doesn’t take a lot of space and fitting it in is like playing Tetris. Doing this may take a bit of practice to get it right.
  3. Vacuum packing- if you have the available equipment, why not? This saves more space so you can be able to bring more things you need/want. You have to bring the machine itself though.

Prior to departure

Before leaving the house, check the contents of your bag to see if you’ve got everything packed. It is also safe to check it the night before departing for the airport. Chances are that you might forget something so it is imperative to inspect your bags.

Side Note

It helps when you make a list on what to bring for the planned holiday. The list would be, at first, long. But you will be able to learn how to narrow it down the more you travel.

The type clothes you pack would depend on where you’re headed for your holiday. If you’re headed to somewhere chilly, bring thicker jackets, a scarf, and boots (without the pesky 3+ inch heels).

If it is a tropical country, ditch a pair of jeans and exchange it for shorts instead. Leave the pullovers and cardigans behind and stuff in a bolero.

So there you have it! You are now ready for your first holiday out of town! Have a safe and wonderful trip!


This post was inspired by the LDRBN prompt: Packing


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