The packing techniques of your average, red-blooded male is pretty straight forward: put the things in the suitcase and make it fit. That’s it. There’s no technique. There’s no special Pinterest-guided folding protocol. There’s no minimalist method with light-hearted jingles in the background. We just put it in the bag and hope we didn’t forget our passport. But amidst all the chaos that is stuffing things in a duffel, there are essential things we tend to overlook without a significant other to point it out. Here’s a quick and dirty guide to all the things you might forget while taking on a solo trip.
You’re going to forget to bring underwear. That’s just a fact of life. Or, you will bring underwear, but you’ll bring like 3 pairs for a two week trip with the excuse “I’ll be at the beach all day anyway”. You probably won’t. When the tropical heat has your jeans a bit too swampy, you’ll know deep down that you should have brought more. But finding travel underwear for men is more difficult than you’d think. The underwear comes in packs of so many that it seems unreasonable. You’ll end up with 12 pairs too many. The best is to find a good 2-4 pack of quality, breathable, and moisture-wicking underwear to hold down the fort while you explore.
There’s a travel essential we tend to overlook that women just instinctively carry. That’s wet wipes. For anyone that has traveled to a third world country, you know that you’re going to get a bit of gastrointestinal disturbance. No, it’s not the ice in the water. No, it’s not that it’s unsanitary. Those reasons are so widely spread and it ignores a whole nation’s health initiatives. The real culprit is that your intestinal bacteria is changing from its comfortable little sterile world, to some real stuff. For those scenarios, you need wet wipes. Carry a pack. Carry two. Carry them in your pocket. You’re going to need them.
There are two kinds of guys out there: guys who fret about shoes, and ups who don’t. You’ve got your sneakerheads that think that anybody is going to care about your Air Max ‘95s in Ecuador. Then you’ve got guys that use pack flip flops and have to look ridiculous in a fancy restaurant. The safest bet is to invest in clean, comfortable, all-white sneakers. They can be dressed up, dressed down, and nobody is going to call attention to them. That’s the whole point. Enjoy the night, save space in your suitcase, and look great doing it.
There’s a whole bunch more that can be added to this list. But shoes, wet wipes, and underwear are the most overlooked and stressed over. Apply the 80/20 principle to packing and use the items that will give you the most bang for space in your bag. If you do it right, you’ll have a wonderful, safe, and decidedly comfortable solo trip to wherever it is that your heart desires. Stay safe, and happy travels.