Even for the most seasoned traveller, packing can be problematic – too much or too little, there is always the one thing that gets away (hopefully not your passport).
Are you the ten minutes before, chuck-it-in kinda’ packer? Or perhaps a hard-core strategic operations type, a master of suitcase Tetris equipped with a categorised checklist written three weeks prior…
Some of the most travelled among us, pilots are used to living out of a simple flight bag for days at a time, so what’s their secret?
Aileron’s Dean Corbin flies medium & long haul and says over the years he's become an expert at living out of a bag.
“It’s amazing how quickly I can throw together a 23kg case that contains enough clothes, essentials and uniform for a five day trip”
No matter where you're jetting off to, Dean’s top 6 tips that he’s picked up over the years from flying will help you pack like a professional.
#1 The Ready-to-go Essentials
There are three things which fall into the category of "essentials" and it's the first thing that I always pack, as long as I know I have these essentials, I can relax.
1 - Media bag
This is the first thing I prepare. It's an old wash bag that contains USB cable, USB power bank, global plug adaptor and headphones. I can’t go anywhere without this little kit. These are all spares so this usually lives in my case, no need to take it out when I get home.
2 - Underwear
I’d be literally bare without these essentials! I always pack two extra pairs of boxers and 1 pair of extra socks on top of the standard one per day. I can’t risk chaffing, especially in my uniform trousers!
3 - Toiletries
The more you travel to more you’ll pick up miniature toiletries from Hotel Rooms. I always keep them because they’re reusable as are the bottles – and it reduces waste too which is good for my environmental conscience. I always pack painkillers and antihistamine wherever I go and I always take an extra plastic bag from airport security to keep in my toiletry bag, I don’t want to get caught out having to throw potentially expensive items away - and not all airports provide them free of charge.
#2 Travel in what works for your destination
There’s nothing worse than carrying around a goose-down parka for 5 days in 35-degree heat, just because it was freezing when you left, a guaranteed scenario if you’re UK-based like me. If I can’t wear it on my trip, then it doesn’t come with me. Just layer up instead to keep warm and save extra space in your bag, it’s a space-saving tactic that always works.
#3 Even Antarctica has shops
If you’ve never left something behind, you’re lying! But as long as it’s not your passport then don’t sweat it. You can pretty much buy whatever you need wherever you are, there's even a shop at the Mcmurdo Station in Antarctica. Plus, it could even make a great souvenir.
#4 Pick n’ mix
I always pack clothes that I can wear in more than one combo, so forget the statement jacket, one good pair of trousers can be paired with multiple shirts and jumpers. One good quality shirt can be dressed up with different ties or dressed down, with sleeves rolled up and worn unbuttoned on the beach. This is space-saving at its finest.
#5 Mums the word
So I owe my mum for this one, if you’re away for more than a few days it's inevitable that your clothes will start to pick up a certain musty smell, but throw in a few fabric freshener sheets in between your packing layers or if you don’t have any, spray some sheets of plain paper with deodoriser spray and it will just as good a job. It’s a great trick to keep things smelling a little fresher.
Years ago I bought a pack of waterproof fabric bags from an outdoor activity shop, They’ve lasted ever since and I take them on every trip, they seriously come in handy if you’re doing any water sports like kayaking or paddle boarding, put your valuables and devices inside. If I’m nervous that something from my toiletries might leak I pack inside for the journey home, this has saved my clothes from leaks and stains on more than one occasion.
So, there you have it, five top tips that will leave you packing like a pilot pro every time.