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How to Pack a Suitcase Efficiently and Perfectly

How to Pack a Suitcase Efficiently and Perfectly

I’d always been a reluctant traveler, concerned with what taking a trip would do to the daily routine I’d worked so hard to sustain. My Type A personality caused me to take “there’s no place like home” to a whole new—and probably unhealthy—level. This all changed when I learned how to pack a suitcase: it kept my Type A personality busy while simultaneously taking away every excuse I’d make to get out of traveling, allowing me to experience… well, experiences.

Trust me, when you know how to pack a suitcase, you’re so ready for your adventure to start you literally strut to the airport. Bring. It. On.

Make sure you provide yourself with plenty of time to pack for your trip. In other words, don’t leave your packing until the night before (or the morning before if you’re uber-crazy). The more time you have to pack, the less likely you’ll find yourself carting around unnecessary items and forgetting necessary ones. (I won’t even get into the toothbrush incident of ’02.)

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to pack your suitcase so efficiently, nothing will get in the way of you putting your feet up when you’ve reached your destination.

1. Choose proper luggage.

How to Pack a Suitcase

    How long is your trip going to be? Is it a business trip or a personal getaway?

    Answering these two questions will help you determine the size and type of luggage you’ll need to take with you. If you’re going away for the weekend, you’ll only need a tote bag, whereas a 10-day excursion will require a snazzy suitcase on wheels.

    2. Check the weather.

    While no weather forecast is 100 percent accurate, having a general idea of what the weather’s going to be like during your trip will help you decide on the clothes you should pack.

    Print out your forecast from The Weather Network and set it by your suitcase for when you’re choosing outfits. Download their app to your phone or tablet so you can also keep tabs during your travels.

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    3. Go over your itinerary.

    What will you be doing on your trip? It’s important to not only pack for what you’re definitely doing, but for spontaneous celebrations and events that might pop up.

    If you’re planning your trip through a travel agent, he/she can supply you with a solid amount of information on recommended dress requirements for your destination. Travel brochures and websites are also helpful.

    Have your family or friends visited where you’re going? Ask them what they packed (or wished they packed). If you can’t get in touch with them, see if they have photo albums from their trip on Facebook to help spark ideas.

    4. Create an itemized checklist.

    One of the best tools to keep my Type A personality at bay during the packing process is a detailed checklist of what I need to bring. Otherwise, I’d be so paranoid about forgetting something, I’d pack my entire bedroom and bathroom.

    It’s also a great way to put your trip into perspective. As soon as you’re done your list, you’ll immediately start slashing what’s unnecessary. Bonus tip: take your list with you to make sure you don’t leave anything behind on your way home.

    If you’re someone who doesn’t travel often (like me), use a suggested list of items as a starting point. The two best I’ve found are courtesy of Squawkfox and The Art of Manliness.

    5. Invest in travel gear.

    Most grooming accessories and hygiene products are available in travel sizes. Some recommend purchasing your toiletries at your destination to save space, but if you’re picky about your beauty routine (again, like me), do yourself a solid and make sure you have on hand:

    • a mini brush and comb
    • travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste
    • mini zip-top bags for jewelry
    • travel-sized bottles for your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, moisturizer, etc.
    • large zip-top bags for your bottles in case they leak, and your shoes
    • a second set of chargers for your laptop/tablet and cell phone specifically for travel
    • a mini hair dryer (which doubles as a steamer if any clothing ends up wrinkled)

    Pack these items in an outside pocket or at the top of your case so no pressure is put on them, and they can easily be accessed at airport security.

    6. Pack outside your suitcase.

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    How to Pack a Suitcase

      Collect everything on your itemized list and place the items around your suitcase so you can decide what will make the cut.

      How to Pack a Suitcase

        Focus on basic neutral colors such as black, white, grey, navy, and accent prints. The more versatile your clothing, the easier it will be to mix and match outfits, and therefore you won’t have to pack as much.

        Choose versatile styles of clothing made of fabric that doesn’t wrinkle easy. Eight versatile pieces that blend well together will create up to 24 different outfits! For example, a tank top and pair of comfy shorts can double as pajamas, and a big t-shirt can double as both a nightie and cover-up for the beach.

        Use accents such as jewelry and scarves to pump up the volume on your outfits—they barely take up any space!

        How to Pack a Suitcase

          When it comes to shoes, wear your heaviest shoes and choose comfortable, light ones to pack.

          7. Remove your pet.

          How to Pack a Suitcase

            By now, your pet is likely sensing you’re going on a trip and is trying to make you feel very guilty about it.

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            8. Pack awkward items first.

            How to Pack a Suitcase

              Pack items likes shoes, blow dryers, and purses around the outer perimeter, and work your way in. Perfect the use of the nook and cranny: use the odd-shaped cracks between these items to tuck in your socks, bathing suits, and belts.

              How to Pack a Suitcase

                Stuff your undergarments in your shoes to both maximize space, and keep your shoes from squishing.

                This process helps to evenly distribute the weight of your items so nothing ends up broken/crushed during your trip.

                9. Master folding techniques.

                How to Pack a Suitcase

                  Organize your clothes in bundles: tank tops in one, tees in another, shorts in another, and so forth.

                  How to Pack a Suitcase

                    Roll each bundle (thicker items such as sweaters will have to be rolled individually).

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                    How to Pack a Suitcase

                      Not only does this save space, it decreases the chance of wrinkles.

                      How to Pack a Suitcase

                        Place each bundle side-by-side in your suitcase.

                        10. Wear bulky items there and back.

                        How to Pack a Suitcase

                          If you wear your bulkier items—such as your coat, jeans and sweater—as opposed to packing them, this will save loads of space in your suitcase. Plus, dressing in layers offers you the convenience of adding or discarding them depending on the temperature.

                          11. Leave room for souvenirs.

                          You know as well as I do you’ll want to bring home souvenirs from your trip for your home, family and friends. Make sure to leave room for such items.

                          12. Organize your carry-on.

                          Consider your carry-on an emergency kit: if you were to ever lose your luggage or get stuck at the airport, what essentials would you need to have with you to enjoy your trip no matter what happens? Here are just some of the items you should consider including in your carry-on:

                          • make-up
                          • prescribed medication
                          • anti-nausea, pain killers, antacid
                          • ointment, Immodium, bug spray, Benadryl
                          • prescription glasses and sunglasses
                          • bottled water and snacks
                          • toothbrush and toothpaste
                          • swimsuit and sunscreen
                          • books/magazines
                          • cash/I.D.

                          While learning how to pack a suitcase, what’s the best tip you discovered along the way?

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                          8 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian

                          8 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian

                          Vegetarianism has been around for a long time, finding favor with many people, including Pythagoras clear back around 580 B.C. It’s been presented as one of the most healthy diets around, including being touted by the Egyptians to the point of abstaining from meat and animal clothing due to karmic beliefs. The vegetarian society (vegsoc.org) defines vegetarianism as:

                          “Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter.”

                          While it’s pretty obvious that there are multiple benefits to following a vegetarian diet, it’s always good to be informed about the cons of this dietary choice as well.

                          Outlined below are several things you might want to be aware of before you say good-bye to meat forever. Whether you are a current vegetarian, or contemplating making a shift, keep in mind these 8 things to keep yourself healthy.

                          1. You could suffer from B12 vitamin deficiency

                          The B vitamins are especially important for stress management, adrenal health, and brain function. Vegetarians in particularly are at risk for B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is attached to the protein in animal products and without enough B12 you can suffer from depression, fatigue, and an inability to concentrate.

                          Due to its attachment to animal proteins, B12 is the hardest for vegetarians to obtain when they don’t eat dairy or eggs in their diet. This essential little vitamin can be found in some algae and has been added to some yeast, but research doesn’t currently provide enough information to say whether or not these forms of B12 are of good quality and can provide adequate supplementation.

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                          The body is unable to make this vitamin, meaning it has to be taken in through food or supplementation. Essential for making red blood cells, DNA, nerves and various other function in the body, a Harvard Health Medical report in January of 2013 found symptoms of a B12 deficiency can present in sneaky ways including depression, paranoia, delusion, and loss of taste and smell.

                          2.  You could suffer from higher states of anxiety/depression, lower sense of well-being

                          According to a CBS Atlanta report, vegetarians suffered from a higher rate of anxiety and depression than their counterparts. Read the full report here. Depression and/or anxiety can be a result of many possible deficiencies including essential vitamins and amino acids you can find only in meat products, including Omega-3s from wild caught salmon.

                          Without the correct supplementation and proper understanding of diet, including the importance of micro and macro nutrients, depression and anxiety can become a serious problem, bringing down the overall health and well-being of vegetarians.

                          Even though reports on health and lifestyle show vegetarians have a lower BMI and lower consumption of alcohol and drugs, it also shows they suffer from more chronic illnesses and more visits to the doctor than their meat eating counterparts.

                          3. You could suffer from excess weight

                          When you go vegetarian it opens up a lot of food, but just because there isn’t any meat in front of you, it doesn’t mean it’s necessary healthy. Though pizza and beer technically fall under the vegetarian diet, it’s not a healthy choice for your waist line.

                          Just because being a vegetarian is associated with a healthier lifestyle in many cases, doesn’t mean it’s always true. Making bread and pasta your staples and not understanding where your protein sources should be coming from, can pack on body fat, which increases your chances of health issues such as diabetes and chronic inflammation.

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                          If the choice to go vegetarian happens on a whim without the proper understanding of food control, portion, and nutritionally dense alternatives you can find yourself reaching for vegetarian foods, which could cause serious problems down the road. Nuts are a good example, but just because something is touted as healthy, it doesn’t mean, your should eat it in excess.

                          Eating too many calories in fat will still cause you to gain weight. Eating too many calories in carbs will cause you to gain weight. Eating too many calories in protein will cause you to gain weight. See a pattern here? Not to mention you’ll miss out on important nutrients the body needs by over-eating in one area and under-eating in another. Re-read number 2.

                          4. You could have a higher risk of heart disease

                          Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables should be a goal we all strive for, but when you cut out meat, you also cut out what is known as complete protein, which you find in animal by-products. Complete means more than just the essential amino acids, it means those amino acids contain dietary sulfur. Without enough dietary sulfur, which is found almost exclusively in fish and pasture feed grass beef, the body will struggle with the biological activities of both protein and enzymes.

                          The effects cascade downward, effecting bones, joints, tissues, and even metabolic issues. In short, a low intake of sulfur associated with a vegetarian diet can result in high blood levels of homocysteine, which may lead to blood clots in your arteries, blood clots raise your risk of stroke and heart attack. To read the full report click here.

                          5. You could suffer from low cholesterol

                          I know, at first you’re thinking, wait, low cholesterol is a good thing. Yes, it is, when it’s LDL cholesterol, which you get from eating an unhealthy diet, but low HDL (good cholesterol) can cause serious health issues. HDL, according to the mayo clinic, is in every cell in our body and can help fend off heart disease, not enough of it though, and too much LDL can go the other way, will be building up plaque in the arteries and leading to heart disease.

                          Cholesterol, the good kind, is actually vitally important to the making of every steroid hormone in the body! There are six, and without cholesterol the body is unable to convert hormones, and it can cause damage in the endocrine system.

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                          A vegetarian without a balanced diet, meaning enough protein, enough veggies, and enough good fats, could disrupt his or her adrenals, which are directly connected to the endocrine system and the body’s ability to make and synthesize the hormones your body needs. The six major hormones in the body help do everything from metabolizing carbohydrates, to the electrolyte balance, to making sure if you’re a woman you can carry a healthy baby through pregnancy.

                          6. You could suffer from lower bone density and osteoporosis.

                          Osteoporosis, the disease where the bones get thinner, weaker, and fractures become a high risk with day to day movements. It’s often associated with the older generation, but your risk for osteoporosis increases with a lower bone density. Bone density can be directly related to diet and lifestyle, along with many other factors.

                          When it comes to eating a vegetarian diet it’s possible to miss getting enough of the right nutrients, causing the bones to begin to break down. If your vegetarian diet isn’t balanced and providing you with the correct nutrients and the means to absorb the correct nutrients, your body could begin to break down.

                          Recently, Professor Tuan Nguyen of Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research led a review of both Australian and Vietnamese research around the bone density of vegetarian versus their meat eating counterparts. Helping Professor Nguyen was Dr. Ho-Pham Thuc Lan from Pham Ngoc Thac University of Medicine in Vietnam. The review was designed to sort though years of research surrounded by discrepancies and inadequate clinical data.

                          At the end of the review, with vegetarianism rising to around 5% of the populace in the western continents, and with wide spread osteoporosis reports – 2 million in Australia and closer to 54 million in America – the decrease in bone density of vegetarians is a serious issue which needs to be addressed, if you’ve cut meat and animal by-products out of your life.

                          7. You could be at a higher risk for colorectal cancer

                          Cancer seems to be running rampant through America, and it’s within everyone’s best interest to do all they can to keep their body healthy and happy to prevent cancer from finding a place to grow. In most studies it’s been found vegetarians are at lower risk for cancer, but a European Oxford study with over 63 thousand men and women in the United Kingdom found the risk for colorectal cancer higher in vegetarians than in meat-eaters.

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                          Extra care needs to be taken when establishing a diet to ensure the body is receiving and able to up take all the important nutritional benefits and requirements from food.

                          8. You could end up eating more processed food

                          Depending on how deep you choose to go as a vegetarian, it could create the need to substitute a lot of food and recipe ingredients in your diet, but what happens when you cut out meat, eggs, and dairy and your recipe calls for meat, eggs, and/or dairy? You have to end up using a “healthy” vegetarian alternative which include stabilizers, thickeners, and various other ingredients you can’t pronounce.

                          Lauren from Empowered Substance puts it into a great perspective with her comparison of Earth Balance, a vegetarian approved butter replacement compared to butter. She points out the ingredients in Earth Balance consist of: Palm fruit oil, canola oil, safflower oil, flax oil, olive oil, salt, natural flavor, pea protein, sunflower lecithin, lactic acid, annatto color. Meanwhile, the ingredient list in butter, is much shorter. It’s butter.

                          That’s only one example. To appeal to the vegetarian lifestyle food manufacturers have found alternatives which fall under vegetarian, but aren’t necessarily healthy for you. Consider baked goods, which though vegetarian can be filled with more sugars and binders than regular baked goods with diary products. It’s the same with vegetarian items like mac and cheese, without using real cheese you may just be getting oil and thickeners, without even the smallest amount of nutritional value.

                          The reality is, most vegetarian substitutes contain the same junky alternatives which even meat eaters should be avoiding to remain happy and healthy.

                          On one final note, whichever lifestyle you choose to work with, remember anything in excess – including protein and animal by products – isn’t healthy for the body. It takes a wide spectrum of food and nutrients to keep the beautiful body you travel around in all day running in prime condition.

                           

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