My husband and I have been house-sitting since 2018, anywhere from one week to 6 months. Packing is always a big issue with us. Slowly but surely, we are learning that we don’t have to pack everything we own for a successful house sit!
When we first started house-sitting, it was mostly in Ontario Canada and we had access to a vehicle. So packing our coffee pot or tennis racquet was no big deal.
Travelling in Costa Rica or Mexico is a different story. In most cases, we don’t have a vehicle and lugging all our stuff from one place to another was becoming a real chore, especially for air travel.
Packing just the essentials is a learning curve, but one that you can master successfully. When you pack everything but the kitchen sink it becomes time-consuming, costly, frustrating, and even overwhelming.
Here are some handy tips that will make your travels much more pleasant – everything from the clothing you need to footwear, even to reading!
Clothes and Shoes
Pack enough clothes to carry you through one week then hit the laundry!
It has been our experience that most places supply a washer and dryer or there is a laundromat nearby. Small items can be washed by hand and hung to dry.
Mix, Match, and Accessorize
Another great tip is to mix and match. Accessorize your clothes with scarves, belts, purses, etc.
In fact, why not treat yourself to small purchases such as earrings or a bracelet while travelling? They are easy to pack and will make your outfits look great!
Pack a few tops, bottoms, dresses/pants, and workout clothes (if you are into exercising while away). A guideline could be 3 tops, 3 dresses, 3 pairs of pants, a couple of pairs of socks, a warm jacket or sweater, and a bathing suit.
I sometimes think it is easier for men – some underwear, a few T-shirts, jeans and shorts, a pair of shoes, and a belt! Women tend to agonize over what to wear.
Knowing what shoes to pack can be a hassle. A good pair of cross trainers can be used for exercising and walking; a light pair of sandals or soft shoes for casual days/nights out. Keep the number down to a minimum, maybe 3 pairs at the most.
3. Packing Electronics
This can be a tough decision for many people. I would be lost without my cellphone or laptop (I work remotely from home) but when my last e-reader broke, I switched to reading books from my phone, one less thing to pack.
This can also depend on how long you plan to be away. If it is for several months, then it may be necessary for you to pack them all! If you are an avid reader, then by all means bring your e-reader with you. Invest in a great backpack that has a special place for your laptop/electronics or a tech organizer where you can keep all your gadgets in one place. And don’t forget your chargers!
4. What toiletries to take
Of course, you want to take your favourite shampoos, conditioners, etc. but remember if travelling by airline, there is a limit on size (we learned this lesson the hard way when my husband’s expensive shaving lotion got thrown out because it was over the limit). If you must bring them, transfer them to smaller-size reusable bottles/containers. For extra protection, pack in ziplock baggies.
Decide what you need – do you plan to use it daily or is it just one time and can be left behind?
Another option is to replace liquids with solids – dry shampoos and soap bars; you can even buy toothpaste tablets! This will also eliminate the risk of spills.
Essentials to include are – shampoo/conditioner, toothpaste tablets or toothpaste, toothbrush, razor, minimum makeup, and sunscreen.
5. Use leak-proof bottles and Packing Cubes
In addition to ziplock baggies, you can use leak-proof bottles such as the TSA APPROVED BPA FREE TRAVEL CONTAINERS.
Another option is packing cubes which are fabric containers in a rectangle or cube shape. Not only will you be able to pack more but everything will be organized! Pack your favourite t-shirts in one cube, your socks in another, etc. When it is time to unpack, you can quickly find what you are looking for.