bulky homeware goods we've carried back from Bali
"Things we don't need", we mumbled to ourselves as we scoured every inch of the store, fingers brushing every vase, woven basket, brass pineapple, ornate headdress or wooden statue. But Shawn and I love dressing up our home with items we've bought from around the world. We're nothing if not determined, and we've dragged everything from South African carvings to cat trees from Bangkok back home without additional shipping. We're limited obviously to a certain weight and dimension. Cat trees we've bought have always been a DIY fix upper once we're back home, so when it's packed down into a box it's fairly manageable to drag out of the Chatuchak market and stuffed into the seat of a taxi. So how do you pack and bring back these lovely items from your holiday?
Bring large luggages for short weekend trips
We always bring our largest bags with us even for short trips, knowing it'll be filled with goods on the way back. Our recent trip to Bali saw us haul back quite a number of homeware goods since Bali is known for such wonderful crafts.
Aside from your rolling luggages, bring a large weekender
When everything you've bought is stuffed into your luggage, the weekender is a lifesaver for dirty clothes or extra hauls.
Use your new clothes instead of bubble wrap
If your dirty clothes aren't too ughhh, you can use those too. For items that weren't too precious and easily breakable, we've wrapped them with layers of our t-shirts instead of bubble wrap so they weren't too bulky.
Pack like you're playing Tetris
This horse from Kim Soo Home is originally a mounted candle holder. It got a lot bulkier with bubble wrap, but it fit perfectly in the base of our check-in luggage. It was quite heavy, around 3KG, but didn't push us over the weight limit. Once this went to the bottom everything else we had just layered in and around it. Whether you roll or fold your clothes doesn't quite matter because you can use both styles as long as your stuff fits around items.
Odd-shaped items can fly separately
We bought these baskets from Kim Soo, the smaller one to house a potted plant and the other to use as a laundry basket, as well as an oar. Yes, an actual oar as a decoration piece. These things weren't going to survive being in our luggage.
To keep the shape we stuffed the smaller into the larger basket, stuffed the oar into the baskets, and had the whole thing plastic wrapped at the airport and plastered with fragile stickers. I forgot to take a picture of this at the airport since it was so hilarious! It was an oddly large lollipop shaped item coming through the odd-sized belt at the airport carousel. This survived the cargo haul in one piece.
Pack light to your holiday
When you're heading to a destination like Bali, all you need are bikinis, a t-shirt and a pair of shorts, right? Not going to take up that much space! And more likely than not you're going to be buying new clothes where you're heading to. So pack your usual, then take out at least half to a third of what you've packed. You really aren't going to need it.
Gauge the weight of your items
We got these wood wrapped candles from Carga. Besides this piece, we've got one that's horizontal as well that sits on our dining table. I love the stuff at Carga, very earthy and natural. They sell smaller items that's easier to carry, for dining and living. Occasionally we've eyed a bar stool here and there but that we have to hold off from. We also bought cushion covers that were very spring feeling (think flamingoes!). Often times we'd gauge the weight of the items we buy to make sure that we're not over-doing it with our luggage. If you need to be more sure to avoid excessive airline fees, Muji sells a handy luggage tag that weighs your bag.
Be friendly with the staff at the airport counter
This one works for every day, honestly. Always be nice to people! But as an extra bonus sometimes being nice gets you out of paying a hefty airline fee if you misjudged your luggage weight. We've made this mistake once but in that instance avoided paying additional fees because we weren't demanding about it and we had a laugh with the airline staff about our panicked predicament. The flight not being full worked in our favour too.
Luggage choice matters
If you're going with a hard shaped case, you're obviously not going to be able to fit anything other than what it's meant for. Shawn and I are die-hard fans of Dakine and Burton luggages for long-haul travels, but it's also what we brought with us to Bali for a short trip. They're sturdy, fit a ton of stuff, very reliable and we've never gone for any other types of luggages since we got them.
Bali is fantastic for shopping for the home, and we do know many people who have shipped back gigantic dining tables, statues or fountain features. But if you're in the mind to just get a few things, you know you can! And don't forget that extra hand carry luggage. You'll need that once you've ejected all your clothes from your check in luggage!
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