Packing for a multi-country trip, on a bus, isn’t easy. You don’t want to lug around a large suitcase, like one you might take on plane, but you also have a lot of stuff to bring. So how do you find a balance between the two? Be strategic with these packing tips. Use them to prep for your next multi-country bus trip with ease, making both the preparation and the trip easier and less stressful.
Choose the Best Bag
A backpack is ideal for traveling between multiple countries on a bus because it’s compact and easy to move with. It will also make or break how easy it is to organize your stuff, of which, you’ll likely have a lot. If you’re trying to determine whether your current backpack will work, or heading out to buy a new one, consider the following features:
- Padded hip belt and shoulder straps: This makes the travel more comfortable, especially when walking longer distances.
- Water resistant material: If you get stuck in the rain, you don’t want to soak your clothes or worse, electronics. Many travel backpacks come with a waterproof cover that would do the job.
- Compartments and pockets: It will be impossible to stay organized without them. Look for a bag with compartments both inside and outside.
If you’re worried about carrying all that weight on your shoulders, opt for a multi-function bag that can be carried with straps or rolled. This will be especially ideal when traveling in Europe, as Eagle Creek explains:
“For most European travel, your bag can, and probably will be, rolled—so why put the extra weight and work on your shoulders? In those instances, where rough cobblestoned streets or endless staircases (think Venice) are the norm, the ability to convert to a backpack can be a real lifesaver.”
Don’t forget to consider these must-have travel products before heading out as well, including a portable battery pack and universal adapter plug.
Roll Your Clothes
The only way to bring everything you’ll need to accommodate for all locations is to use the rolling method—which has a variety of benefits according to these vacation packing tips: “Rolling clothes is our ultimate go-to when packing because it not only saves the clothes wrinkle free, it also is a huge space saver. Rolling is super easy and can quickly be repacked if something has gone wrong.”
Rolling clothes is ideal for every item, especially larger jackets and sweaters. When folded, they’re bulky and take up a lot of space. When rolled, you can easily slide a few into one row of clothing to make the most of your backpack.
If you want to get more technical, Travel and Leisure suggests using the Ranger Rolling Method: “To properly roll your clothes, lay the item of clothing out flat. Then fold the bottom two inches of the item inside out so it creates a type of pocket along one side of the clothing. From the opposite end, roll the item tightly until you get to the pocket you’ve created. Fold one side of the pocket over the roll, securing it tightly.”
With just one bag, you need to be strategic about what you put where. If your first-aid kit is all the way at the bottom of the bag, and your dominant hand is bleeding, it’s will take you a while to get through all your clothes, shoes and accessories to reach the first-aid kit. Instead, be strategic about where you put the items you may need while on-the-go, versus things you’ll only need when you reach your destination.
To do so, make use of outside pockets, like those on the side or top of your bag. Many bags may also have a front compartment where you can organize necessities like headphones, chargers, I.D.’s, snacks and paperwork for easy access.
When filling your bag or backpack, start from the bottom up, putting the bulkiest things in first—especially those that you won’t need mid-travel. For example, if you have sleeping gear like a sleeping bag, that should go in first. This is also a good place for a bulky jacket that you don’t need or other items you rarely use, like an extra pair of shoes or socks.
Gapyear suggests then adding in gadgets and random items, followed by your laundry bag (if you have one) and extra cash. Keep all emergency and in-climate or wet weather items at the top, in case you’re hit with unexpected rain or cold.
Finally, you can use clips to attach your water bottle or other odds and ends, but keep your eye on them—as a traveller, you want to keep all personal items close.
Packing Tips for Your Multi-Country Bus Trip
Bring everything you need, and keep it organized, with these simple packing tips. You’ll be grateful to have your poncho on top of your backpack when rain hits or to have a warm jacket to pull out when you reach a cold destination. Now, all you have to do is enjoy the scenery and bring home as many memories as possible.
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Let us know in the comments what your favourite packing tips are!