OK! You have all your essentials and you’re pumped-up for the adventure. You’re ready to go, you say? WAIT! Did you pack smart? Do you have enough room to bring at least one outfit or “knick-knack” home from the experience, all while having the room to re-pack your things? How do you pack for a place that you’ve never been?
As a veteran, I know a thing or two about packing. Never staying in one place for a full year during my service time, being deployed, and living in the Pacific taught me how to pack light while still maintaining all my essentials.
So, how do any of us pack for an adventure into a culture we have never experienced?
We called it the ranger roll. It can be called many things; even along the lines of “burrito fold”, or maybe “the roll-up”. Call it what you wish, but taking the time to incorporate this method into your packing will save you in space and weight, which is great because paying for an overweight bag, if you will be checking a bag at all, is the last thing any of us want to do.
You can apply this technique to a pair of pants, your shirts (long and short sleeved), your shorts, and even your socks. You will definitely thank yourself for doing this.
Maybe you’re traveling with one of those large and nice resort wear hats. Worried you’ll smash it and lose the shape? Don’t worry, I like to pack mine too! You can stuff your undergarments and socks into the head piece of your beautiful hat to keep it firm. Then place your hat into the middle of your luggage and place all of your ranger-rolled gear around it. It’s very easy- anyone can do it.
I always suggest the same thing before you start to ranger roll your selected clothing- only pack what you need. Don’t be afraid of a little wrinkle in your clothing- you’re about to travel! This, however, can be hard for some, like my significant other who can never travel anywhere without his nice polo shirts. Is your destination of travel really going to require your nice polo shirt? I think not. Both men and women should keep in mind that in whatever culture you are about to experience modesty is the best policy. Of course, bring swim wear just in case! There is usually a chance to swim at certain places you go, but it is important to research thoroughly about the culture and customs you are about to visit. It’s never OK to just go out on a whim, trust me!
Packing your shoes is not as hard as you think. Before placing your ranger rolls into the bag (and around your hat, if you have one) place your shoes along the lining around the inside of your luggage. Your largest shoes (or what I like to call “the clunky shoes”) are typically your sneakers. These are probably the shoes you will be walking in during most of your time abroad, and you should them wear during your travels to get to your destination. This way, if you are close to missing a flight it will be easier to run to your next gate!
Some clothing material you’ll want to take but you can’t necessarily ranger roll, like a chiffon piece to cover shoulders, a scarf, or even a coat. You will want to place bulky items like these on the bottom of your luggage, and place lighter ones on top. With these things it’s best to fold them as small as possible. When it comes to folding whites, I place mine in plastic baggies or even in plastic wrap. This ensures my colored clothing doesn’t rub against the white ones too much. That’s just my preference!
One thing I advise to everyone is to keep your jewelry at home! I know that the last thing I want to lose is my Rolex! Be honest with yourself- if you do not need it, do not bring it!
Makeup… is it needed? For some of us, sure! Although, it is best to keep to your makeup to minimum, as you won’t be worrying too much about it when you’re too busy exploring your new host city. I used to live in Seoul, South Korea, and out there both men and women indulged themselves in their creativity of beauty. Because of this, in Seoul the makeup I liked to use was always readily available in many stores to purchase, but it won’t be this way when I go to Morocco!
As you take the time to ranger roll your essentials, you’ll realize what items you don’t necessarily have to bring with you. Leaving non-essential items behind will ultimately give you more room for toiletries and hygiene products. Don’t worrying about bringing full sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner, etc. Pack travel sized hygiene items instead- once you run out on your trip you can always buy full-sized items on-site! Of course, you’ll want to research further about where you are heading. Are those things available for you in your new host city? Lastly, use all aspects of your luggage and straps. They are there for a reason so you should take advantage.
Below you will find video demonstrations for your ranger rolling. Take it from a veteran, you will not regret doing this! The only other thing I wish I could pack? My wonderful dog, TY!
YouTube Videos Credit: armygringo
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