Thami Kwazi
Lifestyle Print Editor
3 minute read
9 Oct 2017
12:48 pm

The pains of packing when travelling

Thami Kwazi

Searching for luggage that will accommodate half my wardrobe is the worst. Having to study the weather channel daily to determine what to wear for my upcoming trip is even worse.

Picture: iStock

For a lot of people, planning a trip away is a nightmare. I don’t mind that at all. There’s something exciting about googling locations, checking how many stars a hotel is and checking out the facilities. I enjoy it so much so that I have a travel scrap book on Pinterest.

The part I despise is packing. The mere thought induces a migraine. Most people keep it simple and light when it comes to packing for a trip. Thing is I’m not sure what that means.

Besides, why would I want to keep it simple and light ? How are all those people in New York going to see my amazing hand-beaded sandals or how are the people of Zanzibar going to know about the fabulous selection of bikinis I’ve been collecting. The people have to know.

Every travel trip is an opportunity for me to model my wardrobe, take on a different persona with each outfit and just be someone new. It’s really a pity the people at baggage control don’t feel that way. They want to limit the free spirited fashion traveller to a number, a weight, a size. This is the ultimate injustice of travelling.

Searching for luggage that will accommodate half my wardrobe is the worst. Having to study the weather channel daily to determine what to wear for my upcoming trip is even worse.

But I do it, rather than taking the wrong clothes on a trip and having the locals glare at me and keep screaming “hello Bafana Bafana”. Somehow, we South Africans are identified by our soccer team internationally, sad as that may sound. How people can tell, I have no idea.

There should be a packing 101 class, which I’d probably fail dismally. I imagine I’d always get into arguments with the lecturer about important items to pack because isn’t every item in your wardrobe just as important as the other?

I’ve worked out my own solution to my packing dilemmas – pack a quarter of your clothes for your trip and buy the rest when you get there.

Of course, this also allows me to indulge in my other obsession: shopping. Pack all black items, no-one will even notice what you’re wearing anyway.

Recent trip

On a recent trip to Tanzania, I packed all sorts of cute summer dresses, only to be told I need to cover up as the country is very conservative and no-one is interested in backless dresses.

Needless to say, I wore none. I ended up having to purchase local kangas and cover up with them to blend in with the locals.

All the clothes and shoes I had stuffed into my luggage was totally wasted.

Lesson learned. I’ll simply stick to black clothing and buy half my clothing when I get there. My next contribution is about learning to curb my spending when travelling.

My packing tips

1. I know there are a lot of people out there who can’t travel light but I’ve found Vacbags to be the best.

By simply packing my clothes in one and sucking out the air with a vacuum cleaner, I always have loads of space for the extra shopping I’ll be doing at my destination, plus they double as waterproofing your valuables. Check them out at

2. Instead of the bulging toiletry bag with your day and night skin regime which could spill onto that special evening outfit, pack your toiletries in Ziploc bags.

They are cheap and keep your little electronics and shampoo safe and your clothes stain free. What’s more, you can add your daily pill or emergency medication in them to prevent bottle bulk.