The Ultimate Unpacking Guide for travellers

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Ultimate Unpacking Guide for travellers

No you didn’t read this the wrong way, nor did I make a mistake. The Ultimate Unpacking Guide for travellers has arrived. Yes. Ultimate Unpacking Guide. There are plenty of packing guides out there, however there is something that I, and plenty of other people, struggle with. Once you’re home from your trip, no matter how long or short it was. It could be a few days or years, the memories are so fresh that you never want to unpack. Once you unpacked the entire trip has officially ended, and sometimes that is something we don’t want to, so we extend it by keeping our luggage unpacked for the next year. Wait, did I say a year? I meant a decade. Therefore I decided to help everyone here, and especially myself, with writing the ultimate unpacking guide.

I know I know, I suck at it too, but that doesn’t mean I’m not an expert. I came back from 6 months in Germany the end of October last year, and I already unpacked almost everything. That’s 6 months and counting. I’m such a maths miracle it’s truly unreal. I give it at least another month for everything to be cleared. However, when I went to Jordan last November and December I unpacked my Osprey bag already after a month. Mostly because my mum kept pushing me as I just left the backpack in the middle of the living room, but let’s not think about that. I did figure out some ways to get rid of this task as soon as possible (read within two months). As you’re reading this post right now, I assume you need this Ultimate Unpacking Guide as much as I do. So let’s start unpacking shall we?

Step 1 of the Ultimate Unpacking Guide

Look at your backpack, lift it up and put it in the middle of the living room. Light up candles around your precious baby.

Step 2 of the Ultimate Unpacking Guide

Get your friends together. If you don’t have any, get your cats. And sit in a circle around the candles. Don’t forget to hold hands or paws.

Step 3 of the Ultimate Unpacking Guide

Sing. As loud as you can the following lines: ‘Oh backpack (or suitcase), just open up. I won’t leave you alone for long. The memories will still be there, but I need you to get clean. You’re starting to be smelly. And dirty. There’s mud everywhere, and I feel like people stare. You can do it. Can you throw the clothes out of your shell so I can start going through this hell? I will miss you, but I will see you sooner than you think. And I will feel you sooner than you think on my back again (or in my hand (suitcase)). Sincerely, yours. Always yours.

Step 4 of the Ultimate Unpacking Guide

Grab the tissues. Force your friends to listen to all your cool stories, most likely they will fall asleep after not too long, while you’re still pouring your heart out for the next 24 hours. Start crying. Show your videos, look at all your photos and scroll through your Facebook and Instagram page to get some memories back. Listen to your Whatsapp voice messages, and read your notes about your trip again.

Step 5 of the Ultimate Unpacking Guide

Eat as much of your comfort food as possible. Most likely you walked a lot during your travels and lost too much weight (at least, that’s what always happens to me. Anyone else has that problem?), so this is a good decision. Also, make your favourite dish from your own country and eat twenty plates filled with food.

The Ultimate Unpacking Guide for travellers

Step 6 of the Ultimate Unpacking Guide

Stop all that crying and realize that you actually had the chance to go on a trip and most likely have the change to go on a trip again. There are plenty of people who don’t have the possibilities, or the passport to go to places in an easy way. I know plenty of people who would love to go to many countries in the world, but their passport limits them. As in, they need to apply for visa applications almost everywhere. If you’re one of the people who has these limits and still got on a trip of your dreams I salute you. Seriously, I’m so glad you were able to do this and I hope you had an absolute blast.

Step 7 of the Ultimate Unpacking Guide

Start throwing all your clothes and shoes out of your backpack on your favourite music from the countries or country you visited. On the beat of the music of course. Don’t disappoint.

Step 8 of the Ultimate Unpacking Guide

After this you should grab the trashcan and throw all your stuff either in there, or take it straight to the washing machine. Your choice. Make sure your friends or family members are involved so that they have to push you to make the right choice so you are going to clean up your mess.

Step 9 of the Ultimate Unpacking Guide

Do all these previous steps again and again until you’re actually going to be a responsible adult.

Okay, so you and I both know you can take this entire article with a pinch of salt, (I got really inspired, and decided it was time for my sarcastic self to shine again. Like I never do that…) however I do have a few tips. As long as you decide to constantly take out at least one or two pieces of clothing a day from your backpack, you’ll be fine. And busy. For the next couple of years.

Another tip is the fact that you can actually just take out the heavy stuff first. Aka, shoes and jackets. As soon as these are already cleaned up you can start the process of grief, because you and I both know that it is a heavy and sad process. When you start to put these away it looks like there isn’t that much to be done.

Then you follow with the liquids, as shampoos etc (unless you’ve got shampoobars, but you can put those away too). And the way to do this with liquids is just take them out when you need them and simply don’t throw them back in. That can’t be that hard. Even I can do that.

After that you sort the clothes in colours and start washing them. But don’t worry, just because you wash them doesn’t mean the memories go away. Those will still be there, just a tad less smelly.

I simply think we need to get over the fact that memories won’t fade when we start cleaning up our mess, and nor did the trip that you went on. It could’ve been the trip of your life, that you wished never ended but then you need to just give yourself another trip of your lifetime. Just go on other trips, so you can keep that feeling of adventure and then, when you come home it is sometimes truly nice to be there. A nice tip is to come to my country, The Netherlands.

So. That’s about it. If these tips and steps didn’t work for you, then there is only one thing for me to say:

Dear stubborn reader,




A messy writer.


I know you want to pin this for your future references, so here you go.

The Ultimate Unpacking Guide for travellers

Shares 0