Baggage Claim: 6 Frequent Fliers Tell Us How To Pack Like Pros

Anyone can pack. But packing efficiently, now that’s an art.

Whether it’s rolling your T-shirts like tightly packed sushi or making origami cranes out of your napkins, packing light and packing well can change the way you roam the world, a little less weight on your shoulders. We spoke to six frequent fliers for their top tips, so you can live well out of a suitcase.

Budget Packing Tips 

Guru Daradahalli, CEO & Partnership Alliance at Poshvie

On his fifth international holiday this year to Yosemite National Park, California-based Guru’s motto is ‘not without my backpack’. “Budget holidays require that you slum it out a bit, with baggage that is easy to port around and store when you’re staying in shared accommodation,” he insists. While packing his essentials into his kit, he ensures that he rolls his clothes in for minimal storage and packs in only two pairs of shoes. He recommends a dinner jacket that he wears on board the flight, “to keep warm, save space in the suitcase, but also in case I decide to watch a play or something more formal.” Heh. His expert tip for budget holiday packing is simple: have a clear plan and invest in a good backpack. The anti-gravity ones seems to float his boat.

All-Weather Travel Tips 

Siddharth Chengappa, Director, Consulting Services CGI 

Siddharth and his wife Anuja travelled for six months across 17 countries and four continents. For this epic trip, planning and packing were the two major components that needed to be worked out. “We travelled through different climates, so it was important not to be burdened with heavy jackets or freeze without inadequate warm clothes. Here, the trick is to layer.”

The ultimate space saver, they say, was the convenient air vacuum bags they used to minimise storage. For long trips, Siddharth suggests that you give yourself a buffer period through the week, to ward off travel fatigue and of course, get some laundry done. While many may tell you that backpacks are the most efficient travel companions, Siddharth believes that you should pick what you’re most comfortable with. In his case, it was a large sturdy suitcase with wheels, allowing him to maneuver though metros, buses and airports easily. And of course he never leaves home without his reliable neck pillow.

Travelling With Kids 

Kavya Madappa, CEO of Amanvana Spa Resort 

Kavya Madappa, MD of Amanvana Spa Resort, has been vacationing with her son since he was three years old. This year she took a month long holiday to Madagascar with the now 13 year-old Ishaan. When he was 11 years old they spent a week in subzero degrees catching the Northern Lights in Finland. “I help him streamline what he will require while travelling, but he has his separate bag that he is responsible for including re-packing through the journey,” asserts Kavya. She makes sure she packs in any medication that may be required through the trip, and bravely keeps the iPad off her luggage, “It is the easier thing to take along to just distract them, but then Wi-Fi begins to dictate what we do next and that is something I won’t encourage. Besides, it’s the best way to get the entire family to actually spend time together.” And oh the first must-pack item while travelling with children is patience, she says sagely.

Travelling As A Photographer 

Praveen Kalugotla, Project Services, Capgemini 

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Praveen will travel to any distance to get that picture-perfect holiday shot. Just earlier this month, he travelled from Bangalore to Cherrapunji to capture the perfect pink sunrise. He was back home in 48 hours with a memory card full of images to egg him on for his next trip. He developed a keen interest in photography over ten years ago, and this interest has dictated most of his vacation time away from his desk at Capgemini. He shot the gripping scenario of winter in Auschwitz in 2010 and took over 500 photographs of the Northern Lights in Alaska in 2015. He attempts to keep his camera kit light with his Nikon camera, two lenses and every photographer’s best friend, the tripod. “Remember to pack extra memory cards, batteries and adapters into a durable camera bag. This is key,” says Praveen

Long Trip Advice 

Sunita Rao, Retail Entrepreneur 

If you can’t pick up a trick or ten from Sunita, then there’s no helping you. She’s travelled to over seventy five countries and most often, she travels alone. On her recent trip to Norway she played travel guide on an activity-based adventure group for Unventured.

Her most memorable trip perhaps remains her four months of backpacking across South America. “My rule is carry 2 pairs of trousers, 4 shirts, a lightweight jacket, one casual day dress, one dressy outfit and comfortable footwear. A more formal or party dress can come in handy, just like it did when I ended up at a dinner at the Danish Embassy in Bolivia,” says Sunita.

Cutting out on the toiletries, she just carries a trusted conditioner and face wash. “All else, I buy locally. It means lesser weight to lug around and also cute little souvenirs to carry back home.” Another pro tip she adds is to keep the consulate number handy with your passport and credit cards. “You never know when you’ll need it,” she says as she heads back to planning her next vacation to the Baltics.

Winter Travel

Brunga B, Banker 

New Yorker, frequent flyer, and unenthusiastic packer Brunga relies heavily on mental checklists and last minute packing skills before she begins any vacation. In the last year, she discovered her love for skiing and has since been on five ski trips across the USA and in Val Thorens in the French Alps. As she readies for her year-end skiing jaunt near Seattle, she recommends practicality over aesthetics when planning an activity-based holiday. “You may not need those fancy pumps at all, but you’ll certainly need all the equipment that will optimise your performance and experience, so make room for that,” says Brunga. While she doesn’t carry her poles for short trips, she makes sure to have her ski boots, warm layers and gloves packed in. Another practical way to pack light for activities is to find out what items you can rent from the activity hub or resort. Sounds like a good way to avoid a slippery slope.

This story was contributed by the team at, a culture and lifestyle portal in Mumbai, Delhi & Bangalore.

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