Recent Posts

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Preparing to Pack


One of the biggest worries so far has been PACKING!!!

So I have tried to prepare something for anyone who is moving to another country for a long period of time and has to live out of a suitcase and move around, or others who are preparing to go on a mission (which technically is the same thing). I will be going to St. George Utah and the rest of Southern Utah. I will be going for 2 winters and will probably see snow which does not happen here in Johannesburg, so I have a lot of things to consider going abroad. I have jam packed all my research from Pinterest Google and YouTube in one post.

My first dilemma has been the actual bag to take. As far as I know I have a limit of 23Kg Check-in and 7Kg Carry-on. I don't WANT to pack my bag full but if I must I must.


1. Terrain & Weather - What are you going to put your bag through?
  • If you are in rough terrain and wet weather it will probably be best to take a Trolley, Hard cover bag
  • If you are going to the city where you will be taking planes and cars for transfers, it will be easy to take more delicate bags - I say delicate but don't get me wrong they can brutally throw your bag around in the airport. 
  • I have been advised to take a soft cover/duffel bag (depending on preference). Just remember you can STUFF a duffel bag like no ones business.
  • I still prefer a hardish cover and four wheels that can rotate 360. My sister who traveled a bit to Aus and Bali said that her bag (Trolley style) did not hold up as easy as her fellow traveler with 4 wheels (360 rotating ability), even in tough terrain and trekking on trains and buses. So heads up.
2. Weight & Volume of the Bag.
Dark blue - Mine, Light blue - Christine's
  • When I went window shopping every bag had a pro and con. It was either Light & Too Expensive, or Had lots of space, was cheap, but heavy and not durable, or Light with little space and on special. There were too many options - I think I will end up going for the one on special though - SAVE WHERE YOU CAN!!
  • I took my Sister's bag to Thailand - I did not do research on bags (wish I did) but I struggled from train to train station & walking on the streets between stations. It was big and bulky, Top heavy and the stopper feet were totally too short for the wheels. I thought I was just being petty, but my friends' bag was lighter, smaller and easier to move around. I weighed the bag now and it came out to 8.4KG!!!! No way!! No wonder I struggled to get to 23KG on the way home after all my shopping!! I don't know if it is just because it is an old bag or what but I was over it by the end! I had a great amount of volume which I packed to the brim, but my packing methods could have been better to avoid that.
3. Durability and Warranty - Some bags have 10 Year warranties like Antler. Others only 3. I have been tempted to buy a bag from china mall... NO!! Don't do it!

4. Colour - Although it is a minor thing to look at, It is a good idea to get a brightly coloured bag so it's easy to spot.

5.  Wheels - As mentioned before my sister suggested I go for 4 wheels because they are easier to wheel around without heaving it everywhere. I will admit there were times I wish I had four wheels in Thailand - like in the trains.. But here you definitely need to check the terrain of WHERE you are going. Here is a great link that answers the 4 vs 2 wheels pretty well :)

6. TSA Approved Locks - (Transportation security association) So apparently you need one of these if you are going to the States or Europe... I don't know how safe it is exactly but oh well it's that or they cut your locks off.

At the end of the day here in SA my choices were between Cellini, Gino De Vinci and Antler. My price range is between R1000 and R1500 ($100-$150) for check in luggage and obviously less for carry-on.

I have tried to read up as much as I can before heading out, in doing so I found this AWESOME youtube channel She has some amazing travel tips! Here is her video about choosing a carry on bag. You could honestly get any bag but I guess all the small things are stressing me out at the moment.


Sister Missionary In a Nutshell
Next step is being ruthless and deciding what to take. Being a missionary there are some general guides of what a missionary should wear.

In the Missionary Packet you receive with your call it gives further guidelines on what you should take specific to your mission.

Here is my list:
  •  Outfits (6-8) - Wash & wear fabric for both warm & cold weather.
  • Garments (10-12)
  • Shoes x 2 
  • Water-resistant boots x1
  • Exercise clothes x 1 pair (But remember you have 6 days to exercise and 1 P-Day - I will take more)
  • Other activities outfit x1
  • Winter Coat - Will get in the field, South Africa does NOT cater for Snow. This year we didn't even have frost!
  • Cold Weather Accessories (Gloves/scarves/ear-bands/hats etc)
  • Cardigan (1-2)
  • Pjs x 1 (Robe and Slippers as needed.
  • Shower sandals
Personal Items:

  • Umbrella x1 - Sturdy, Dark in colour
  • Clothes hangers
  • CAmera
  • Bath Towels x 2
  • Hand Towel & wash cloths
  • Bedding: 1x Twin-size sheets, 1x Pillowcase, 1x pillow, 1x Blanket
  • Toiletries (Make-up; Toothbrush & paste; floss; shampoo; deoderant; cream, etc)
  • First-aid Kit
  • Sun screen & lip balm with at least 30 SPF. And ointment for heat rash.
  • Misc: Sewing kit, shoe-shine kit, battery alarm, laundry bag, torch, watch, glasses etc.
  • Prescription glasses/contacts if needed
  • Drivers Licence (International)
  • Electronics to comply with 110V

1. Follow the 3-1-1 rule - LIQUIDS!!
"All liquids brought onto planes must be in 3.4-ounce bottles or smaller and inside a single, clear, quart-size zip-top bag." - They really mean it - in Thailand in the smallest cutest airport I have EVER seen they TOOK my After sun because it was 120ml!! not 100ml... I had even clearly used more than 40ml. I was really burnt. I needed that stuff!

2. Use your personal item wisely
Most airlines allow one big carry-on and one personal item. The personal item is generally considered a handbag or backpack. My advice? Stuff it!! Stuff it with anything and everything (that is allowed - of course).

3. Layer - found this quite interesting:
"This advice is twofold: Wear layers and pack in layers. First, your on-the-road wardrobe should feature plenty of layers, which will help you jetset through multiple climates in style and comfort. Second, the items in your bag should be packed in neat layers for easy screening. According to the TSA, 'Pack items in layers (shoes one layer, clothes one layer, electronics one layer, etc.)' so that the security agent screening your bag can get a clear picture of what's inside. The faster the TSA agent can screen your stuff, the faster you'll get through the security line.'

4. Roll vs. Bundle Clothes.  I roll rather than fold clothes in order to create more space. Rolling makes items more compact and can reduce wrinkles. I have not yet tried the bundle method yet, but here are two videos that use BOTH methods:

 How to Bundle:
How to Roll:

5. Zip-lock bags/Packing Cubes
A number of Blogs and Vlogs have mentioned that they prefer to use either a zip lock bag. packing cubes to keep their clothes seperate and organised. The nice thing about the zip lock is you can push all the air out of them saving you even more space. I would suggest you roll clothes and pack them inside though. This is also a neat trick if Customs have to search  your bag - then it's easy to re-pack. The clear bags also make it easier to find things and I'm sure easier to re-pack. Though I'm not sure if that is VERY practical for mission, but will see how it goes.

6. Lists???

Oh I have like 10 already, but here are some I found that could be of use:
Who ever made this....THANK YOU!
Online Packing list here

The ULTIMATE female packing list - Litterally for anywhere
ultimate female travel packing lists

Hope this helped someone. If you have more tips you think I will need or can add, please drop a comment and I will add it :)

Never give up. Never surrender.

Happy packing!