Arianwen Morris is a travel blogger from the United Kingdom. After 8 years of working in London, she decided to save up for a 7-month trip to South America. For the past 5 years, she’s been working as a professional travel blogger on her adventure travel blog, Beyond Blighty. She has travelled solo through over 30 countries, mainly in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Australasia. She loves to seek out the most fun and exciting outdoor activities but admits she’s a real sucker for wildlife encounters.
Packing light is the aim, but she finds it virtually impossible. She recently became a divemaster and likes to carry her own gear on longer trips. Being a blogger also means she needs a range of cameras, in addition to her laptop, portable hard drive and chargers. This is why comfortable, lightweight luggage is so important to her, and for shorter journeys, she can't fault her new CabinZero luggage.
In this post, Arianwen will give you her best packing tips!
What's usually in your carry-on?
The first items to go in my carry on are my valuables. This usually means a big pile of electronic items and all their associated batteries and wires. I basically pack whichever items would be most difficult or expensive to replace in my destination country. Obviously, important documents and ID stay with me too, and I'll try to anticipate which travel cards and foreign currency I might need. If I'm going to be in transit in a foreign country I always carry a worldwide adapter too. Toiletries always go in the hold if I'm checking luggage in. I don't need the extra hassle of having to put them through security in a separate bag.
Tell us about the usual type of clothes you bring when traveling? Do you pick your wardrobe meticulously, plan a day by day outfit, etc.?
I've been travelling enough now to know in advance which items I tend to wear a lot and which never get a look in. For me, travelling light is much more important than having a different outfit for each day. I also usually move around so often that I'll be hanging out with different people every few days, so the only people who have to suffer the monotony of my wardrobe are the family and friends following my adventures on Facebook. I'd love to be one of those bloggers who looks incredible in every photo and works with leading fashion brands to promote their clothes, but the fact of the matter is it's just not practical.
What's the best packing tip anyone has given you? Who gave it?
One of my top packing tips is to pack the night before and to leave your bag upright overnight. While you sleep, gravity pulls your luggage down and you can usually squeeze a few extra items in by the next morning! This tip is great for when you're moving as many belongings as possible overseas or packing souvenirs at the end of a trip, but if you're just about to start a backpacking adventure, you should really set off with space in your pack and as little as you can survive with.
What is the best thing about packing light/heavy?
Whether to pack light or heavy is an age-old dilemma. Obviously, it's easier to get around with less stuff and the lighter you can pack while still being comfortable the better off you'll be. People will also tell you that you can always buy additional items overseas. In reality, though, you're sometimes better off taking as much as you can carry. On most of my big backpacking trips I've intended to live, work or study overseas at some point, and the more I took the less I'd have to buy on arrival. In Australia, I needed smart clothes for work, and in Indonesia, I needed scuba diving gear. For me, the discomfort of lugging extra items around was preferable to spending money on replacing items I already owned but hadn't brought. Shipping heavy items is another option but usually works out much more expensive. I see carrying a heavy backpack as practice for trekking.
How does your packing for a travel routine look like?
I usually have a think about what I might need a couple of weeks before a trip, so I can start to collect items while I'm out and about. Most of the packing typically happens the day before I leave. I gather everything on my bed so I can make sure it's all there, and then I start by packing the clumpy items and the things I'm less likely to use often. Smaller items go in all the crevices. I leave my clothes for the next day beside my backpack, along with a small pile of toiletries I'll need in the morning. If I'm concerned my luggage might be overweight, I keep a few extra layers of clothes near the top of my bag and wear them at check in.
How do you deal with "excess baggage" situations? Do you pay extra? Lessen your load?
I've never had to pay for excess baggage. If I have access to weighing scales when packing, I'll make sure I'm not over the limit. If I don't know what my bags weigh, I'll keep certain items close to the top so I can either try to wear them or dispose of them as I go through check in. Most airlines these days let you carry cabin luggage of 7 or 10 kg plus a small handbag. My handbag looks quite small but actually fits my laptop, DSLR, lens and Kindle, with room to spare. I put all these heavy items in there and no one has ever asked to weigh it! I also approach the check-in desk with a smile and ask the staff member how their day is going. Usually, it's personal discretion whether or not they fine you for slightly exceeding their limits and people find it much more difficult to give you a hard time if you're nice to them.
What's your best-kept packing secret?
For me, packing is the easy part. It's finding things again that's the challenge. To make sure I have a pretty good idea of where everything is, I start by separating my gear into different categories (electronics; swimwear; tops; dresses; toiletries; miscellaneous, etc). I then try to commit to memory the size or colour of the bag each set of items goes into. Finally, I try to keep a mental map of the location of each of these compartments. You can find some great tips online about where to place your heavier items in a backpack for optimum comfort. Items for daily use are best placed in side pockets. I also recommend using canvas bags or packing cubes instead of plastic bags if you intend to stay in shared accommodation.
Favourite region? Latin America
Favourite country? Mexico
Favourite city? Bristol
Favourite beach? Wharariki Beach, New Zealand
Favourite food? Mexican
Favourite mode of transport? Boats
Favourite book? The Kite Runner
Window or aisle seat? Window
Carry-on or check-in? Carry-on
Hostel or hotel? Hostel
What's your favourite design from the Cabin Zero collection? Military Design
Arianwen answered all your questions about his best-kept packing tips, and now it’s your time to answer his!
Arianwen asks: What's the most adventurous thing you've done on your travels?
Click this link to answer the question and get a chance to win a 28L Cabin bag!
The winner was announced on Monday, 10th of April 2017 on the linked post on our Facebook Timeline. But you can still check it out and see some valuable comments about some really cool travel experiences.