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PACKING TIPS FROM THE PROS: CLAIRE SUMMERS
by CABINZERO EDITOR • September 15, 2017

Photo Credit: @clairesitchyfeet

Claire is a travel blogger at Claire’s Itchy Feet. She's a solo female traveler, Digital Nomad, Dancer and Yogi. She's been on the road for 9 months now and has no plans to return anytime soon!

She blogs about her adventure, Yoga, staying healthy on the road and travel advice and top tips for all of the places she goes to. When she's not at her computer, you can normally find Claire taking pictures or on her Yoga Mat! For a backpacker, she doesn’t travel light. She has a 70ltr backpack and a 28ltr Cabin Zero bag that she wears on her front. But considering everything she owns fit into these two bags, she doesn’t think it’s too bad!

What's usually in your carry-on?

I normally keep my most valued things in my carry on! My MacAir, Camera, GoPro and anything else valuable that I don’t want being in checked luggage. I pack much smarter these days after so many flights I’ve learnt a few things about what you should and shouldn't pack in your carry on. Like I now always pack my bed clothes and a fresh change of clothes in my carry on. This is for 2 reasons. 1 if something happens to my checked bag I have something to sleep in and a fresh set of clothes and 2 Packing my backpack is like a game of jenga, it’s an art, the last thing I want to do when i arrive at my next place is tackled that! So this way I don't have to face it until the morning, also I often have to stay close to an airport when I land and then make my way to my final destination the next morning. This way my bag stays in tact! Then I also make sure i have a few snacks and my water bottle ready to fill at the fountain when I get through security (always saves my $5 and being dehydrated on the plane!

Tell us about the usual type of clothes you bring when traveling? 

I’m a digital Nomad and my whole life is in my backpack. So my wardrobe is made up of things that go well together and can fit in my packing cubes! I have 2 dresses, lots of plain colored T-shirts, some denim shorts, a pair of black jeans and a whole load of yoga clothes! I’m also a yoga teacher so it’s a must! For every new thing I buy I have to loose something. So in some ways yes I do choose my wardrobe meticulously haha.

What's the best packing tip anyone has given you? Who gave it?

Packing Cubes! I really don’t know how I lived without them! I recently went on a family vacation to Hawaii and I was able to pack a lot of outfits for the 10 days in my small cabin zero backpack thanks to my cubes. Plus I love to be organized!

What is the best thing about packing light/heavy?

It’s actually really liberating not having so much stuff! When you are backpacking you have to carry the weight of everything you pack. It soon makes you rethink that extra outfit! I love the freedom of being able to throw my stuff in a bag and hit the road.

How does your packing for a travel routine look like?

I normally like to pack the night before. As I said packing my bag is an art! You would be amazed how much I can fit into my backpack and Cabin Zero bag! Although I must admit I was recently in Mexico and if you have ever backpacked in Mexico you know how crazy things can get. I had planned to pack the night before, but I somehow found myself drinking tequila in a tattoo shop with a group of Mexican artists making drumsticks! When I finally managed to pull myself away from the party i’d had a little too much Tequila and couldn't bring myself to pack. I also hadn’t figured out how to get to the airport the next morning for my 10am flight. Long story story short after the slowest public bus ride ever I had to run for my plane and just made it. Note to self make sure your bags are packed and taxi is booked before you drink tequila in Mexico the night before your flight!

How do you deal with "excess baggage" situations?

I would lessen the load! But to be honest there is not much chance of me ever going iover the limit! I couldn’t carry it if I did!

What's your best-kept packing secret?

Ziplock bags and a herb and spice bag. I like to cook 90% of the time I’m on the road, eating out all the time is expensive and I love to cook. I spent so much money each time i got to a new place on herbs and spices, or I just didn’t bother and ate bland food. Now I have a little plastic makeup bag that I have filled up with ziplock bags with all of my favorite kitchen essentials! It takes up hardly any room, and it’s a lifesaver when I’m cooking in hostels!

Also Ziplock bags are amazing for wrapping any liquids in. I always empty my toiletries bag and wrap everything individually. Then once my packing cuber are in my backpack I slip the bottles in between the cubes. Saves a lot of space and I know nothing is going to leak into my backpack!

Quick Q's

  • Favourite region? Latin America
  • Favourite country? Mexico
  • Favourite city? Vienna
  • Favourite beach? Any beach in Thailand!
  • Favourite food? Veggie Pad Thai
  • Favourite mode of transpo? Water!
  • Favourite book? I’m so obsessed with the Outlander books right now!
  • Window or aisle seat? Aisle
  • Carry-on or check-in? Both
  • Hostel or hotel? Hostel
  • What's your favourite design from the Cabin Zero collection? Classic 28L

Follow Claire's adventures in her blog, Claire's Itchy Feet.