The other day I was thinking about packing. I know weird thing to randomly think about right. In the past when I’ve often traveled with my wife and our packing setup has been something like this. We each carry a backpack of some kind with things we need to keep handy. I swear by crumpler backpacks by the way. Then we have one large rolling suitcase that my wife pulls along with clothing and larger items. That’s the bag that get checked if we are doing a plane trip. You often have to pay to check bags at this point but we feel it's usually worth it. Sometimes I’ll also place another bag with handles on the back of my wheelchair over top of the backpack. I was thinking though what if I was traveling on my own or with someone I couldn’t share a suitcase with?
Packing is not going to be a one size fit all solution by any means. The fact that we all have different abilities and strengths means that some could push a rolling suitcase along while others may not be able to. I might be comfortable with a bunch of weight on the back of my wheelchair but for some that is a huge balance issue.
If you’re traveling and using a wheelchair I have a few basic tips.
An under the seat pouch is great for things you need to be able to get right away and want to keep safe. Things like your passport or boarding pass are good to keep there. Maybe some allen keys for wheelchair repairs.
If you’re traveling by plane or a train have a reasonable size carry on bag. For me this is a backpack that fits onto the back of my wheelchair. This is where I keep my camera gear, laptop or ipad. Maybe a change of clothes just incase and some snacks too.
Regardless of the size or style of bag you use for you clothing make sure it's something you can maneuver without too much trouble. Perhaps this is less important if you’re just going to travel by car. But if you have to trek through the airport or from public transit to your hotel that bag is going to seem a lot heavier as time goes on.
Consider if where you’re going to be has some kind of laundry facility. You can get away with packing light if you’re able to wash everything part way through you trip. Even if you have to pay it could be well worth it.
In all how you pack is going to be a very personal thing. If I was going on a long trip on my own I think I’d do something like this. A seat pouch bag which I always carry anyway. Next would be my backpack for carry on. Finally I'd take a four wheel rolling bag if it was a longer trip. If it was a short trip I'd take a bag I could strap to the front of my chair or put over my shoulder and rest above my feet.
Packing is a pain, I don't enjoy it even though I enjoy planning a trip so much. However it's one of those things that has to get done. Take the time to think about what you really need and try and pack as light as you can. You'll thank yourself later.
Let me know below what you do for packing. I'd love to hear some ideas.