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5 Savvy Packing Tips From a Flight Attendant

When it comes to travelling overseas, we all tend to have our own packing habits and preferences. You’ll get the savvy travellers who have several hacks up their sleeve and pack two weeks prior to departure, and then there are those like me who leave packing to the very last minute.

Interestingly, based on Cathay Pacific’s latest survey findings and infographic (see below), it seems Aussies don’t like to travel light, with 45% of travellers surveyed reporting packing exactly the right amount whilst 38% admit to over-packing.  I’m not a one of those gals who can travel with just her carry on, heck I’m doing well if I can cram my camera and electronics in there but I have tamed my chronic overpacking over the years.

I do get it. Packing can be stressful. You either pack too much thinking you’ll need everything or you forget crucial items.  On a mission to avoid those scenarios, we spoke to Connie Ting, Flight Attendant at Cathay Pacific to get her top 5 packing tips for overseas travel. After all, there really is no better person to ask for packing advice than someone who flies for a living!

 (1) Start with Smart Luggage

If you’re still lugging around a two wheeler suitcase, it’s time to make a smart switch to four wheels. Whether you’re strolling around the airport or rushing to catch a connecting flight, a four wheeler suitcase requires little effort and can be manoeuvred around with ease. During long queues, you can simply nudge the bag along. Also, pick a non-black suitcase so that it’s easy to spot your luggage on the carousel. It can also help to reduce the likelihood of you (or someone else) picking up the wrong luggage. Always include your name and contact details inside your suitcase as well as on a label on the outside.

(2)  Segment Your Luggage

Pack your items in ‘groups’, with mini bags inside so that you can easily segment your luggage. This also makes it easier when you go through Customs and you’re required to open up your luggage. The last thing you want is for everything to topple out of your suitcase.

(3) Know The Essential Packing Hacks

Roll the clothes you want to keep wrinkle-free and fold the thicker items like jumpers. Pack spare zip lock bags – they’re great for ensuring your liquids don’t leak. Remove any unnecessary packaging from items as they take up too much space.

(4) Pack for Efficiency

Want your boarding process to go as smoothly as possible? Make sure you pack a pen (or two) in your carry on so that you can fill out forms on the go – without always having to borrow from someone else. If you travel frequently, take a couple extra exit and entry slips when you’re at the airport so next time you can fill these out ahead of time rather than at customs/immigration. Place your passport and other important travel documents together, potentially in a travel wallet. Always keep this in the same spot so you don’t have to fish around your back pack or luggage every time it’s required.

 (5) Packing tip for the digital age

A good tip is to bring a power strip or extension cable with you. Sometimes hotel rooms don’t have enough plugs to cater for all your ‘screens’ and this is a great way to solve that problem.  More importantly it also means you’ll only need one adapter in countries with different power sockets to Australia.


Aussie Travellers Infographic

What about you, are you an overpacker or one who arrives and finds they forgot their toothbrush?  Or perhaps you have mastered packing and generally get it just right?  I’d love to hear your tips, or stories of packing mishaps in the comments below.


  • I’m a bit of an over packer, but being a pet sitter who is continually packing for overnights with pets, I think I’m finally getting a grasp on exactly what I need to take along with me. I rarely forget things any more.

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