So you've booked your flight. Now you need to take stock of your luggage and equipment, replace old or worn items, and make sure you have the right gear to fully enjoy all your adventures. If you plan ahead, you won't spend a fortune packing smart.
Research your destination
Think realistically about the weather and location. A little research ahead of time could save you time and money. "Just in case" can mean a lot of extra gear you won't use.
Go through your closets, storage bins, and travel gear. Write down what you have, what you need, what you'd like to purchase. If you need a passport, should you buy a money wallet with a passport pocket? If you need a hydration pack, should you maximize space by finding a travel pack that features a hydration sleeve and tube port?
Talk to well traveled people
Pick the brains of people who have traveled a lot: friends, family, a reliable store associate (like an EMS Guide) who can listen to your travel plans and help guide you in the right direction. There's nothing that can take the place of firsthand experience.
Travel smart when traveling light
The less stuff you have with you, the more time and energy you'll have for enjoying the experience, instead of spending all your energy lugging your gear. Use compression bags that help you maximize space.
Think about transportation
Travel by foot, small plane, and crowded buses calls for the right luggage. A conversion pack is a great idea, since it's luggage you can carry as a backpack. Conversion packs come in all different sizes, and some even feature wheels and/or a detachable daypack.
Keep essentials accessible
It is inconvenient to keep sifting through your travel pack for money, identification, cell phone, maps, and contact information. Keep essentials close at hand by making sure your travel bag features easy access to pockets that only you can reach. For extra security, money belts are available for next-to-skin protection of your identification and money.
Use stuff sacks and packing organizers
Stuffing your travel bag with each individual travel item is not only frustrating but also time consuming. Use packing organizers to compartmentalize like items. Bring extra ultralight stuff sacks for versatile storage.
Don't overlook miscellaneous essentials
Do you have a headlamp (less bulky than a flashlight), extra batteries and digital camera cards, an electric converter, a multitool, duct tape (travel size), an extra hat, a luggage lock, an ultra-absorbent pack towel (these come in different sizes)?
Think versatile, lightweight, and comfortable
Pack quick-drying pants, shorts, and shirts. Zip-off pants double as pants and shorts. Wicking socks help keep your feet dry and comfortable. If you're not hiking with a heavy pack, consider a pair of lightweight sport sandals to serve as your main pair of shoes.
Learn from your adventures
Hindsight is 20/20. Don't disregard the knowledge you've gained from your travels. Remember the travel gear that you used more than you thought you would, and the items that you wished you had packed! Make a list so you don't forget to buy those items for your next adventure.