Pilkington's Top 8 Pro Packing Tips (During or After COVID)

As we all know the Coronavirus pandemic has changed everything in the world. It is has changed who travels, how we choose a destination, and how we should pack, among other things! With or without COVID, I have learned some valuable packing lessons from my travel experiences, and while there are some general rules, different types of travel have different needs. In this post, I'm focusing on travel that requires flying to a resort (or cruise) and spending most of your time there. Regardless of the destination, I believe in packing light, so that is my first suggestion in my list that applies to all packing.

1. Pack light. Most people who write about packing mention the rule: "get your clothes ready to pack and then put half of them back." Even as a light packer, I find myself packing things I don't need. For example, I've packed jeans when going to a resort or on a cruise, and I NEVER wear them. On the other hand, I forgot to pack long pants on a recent trip to Cancun and had to go buy some. While it was a minor inconvenience, it created an experience I wouldn't have otherwise had, and I have a new pair of pants! A bit of research or asking your travel advisor will help you determine dress codes for where you are going.


If I'm going on a cruise or to a resort this is a basic idea of how I pack (minus the underwear):

  • Swimsuit

  • 1-2 pairs of shorts

  • 1 pair of long pants

  • Footwear (see #7)

  • 1-2 long sleeve shirts

  • 2-3 short sleeve button-down shirts

  • 2-3 t-shirts

  • workout clothes

  • Charging devices/USB cables

  • Kindle & MacBook Air

2. COVID Precautions: Since COVID has impacted everyone, that means everywhere you go has hand sanitizer and masks available. I recommend having one or two small bottles of hand sanitizer, as well as a few spare masks. If you need to wipe down surfaces, portable packs of wipes will be very handy. Delta Airlines gives each passenger a wipe as they board the plane, and when snacks are distributed, they come with hand sanitizer. Remember, they're also blocking center seats, and IATA recently published an article about the low risk of contracting COVID on a flight.

This video might also be of interest:

3. Consider where you're going! If you're at home shivering but will be traveling to a warm place, it can be difficult to get in the mindset of that warm place. This is an obvious but necessary step: stop (maybe close your eyes), imagine yourself on the beach, walking around the resort sweating, etc. What do you need for those conditions? Also, are you going somewhere where people tend to be more casual or more formal. I would pack differently for Florida than I would for France, even if the temperature were the same. Another fun activity is to watch a video of where you're going, like this one:

4. Use packing cubes! Packing cubes were a revelation for me. Not only do they allow you to pack a bit more since they compress what you are putting in them, but they are so helpful to staying organized while packing and when you arrive. You can have your underwear cube, your shirts cube, etc, and when you get to your destination, they make unpacking so easy. You can put the cubes directly into a drawer or on a shelf and just unzip them. Since we're all worried about germs & viruses, this prevents your clothes from coming into contact with those surfaces!


These are the top-rated packing cubes from WIrecutter.com:


5. Do you really need your shampoo or hairdryer? Depending on where you're going, you should have very nice bathroom amenities. This is something your travel advisor (hopefully me!) can help you with. If I don't know the destination, I can contact them for you and find out. On a recent trip, I returned home with handmade soaps and products that I'm now using at home. Instead of taking them on my trip, I take them home with me! Also, for vitamins or medications, using the daily pill containers are so helpful. I always travel with Emergen-C, especially during this pandemic!


This sort of thing:

Also, this is the BEST sunscreen I've found in small containers:


6. Get a moderately sized suitcase. I'm not going to tell you to only pack a carry-on. Sometimes you need a liquid that is more than 4 oz, and that changes everything. For example, when going on a trip to a warm destination, it is difficult to find good sunscreen that I can pack in a carry-on. However, whether you check or carry-on, a huge suitcase is such a hassle. If you get enjoyment from paying or tipping someone to carry your bags, then go for it. If you want to do it yourself, then keeping the size and weight down is crucial.


I love this suitcase! It's comes in other sizes & colors too.


7. Consider footwear carefully. Regardless of your gender, there are a few things to consider. You need shoes for walking, shoes for comfort, and shoes for meals. When traveling to a warm destination, I've narrowed it down to flip flops, sneakers (for gym & walking), and closed-toe sandals. Did you know that men are typically required to wear closed-toe shoes at dinner?


I always get compliments on these sandals. Men want them, and women want to buy them for their men!


8. Carry-On Bag is crucial. If you board a ship or arrive at a resort at noon, you'll be able to enjoy the property, but you can't get in your room or access your luggage. On the day you're set to arrive at your cruise or resort, either dress for the enjoyment of the destination or have a change of clothes in your carry-on bag (not suitcase). That can make or break your first day! My first cruise was in early March, so it was cold at home. I wore jeans to fly to Miami and didn't consider that I would be stuck wearing jeans until about 3:00 pm. I did the same on my first trip to an all-inclusive resort. It's pretty miserable being stuck in jeans in the heat, when all you want to do is jump in the pool or lounge on the beach.


Obviously, I can't tell women how to pack, but I hope there are some helpful suggestions that work for everyone. If you have other suggestions, please leave them in the comments. I love to stay connected with you, so please find me in the following places:


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