A Bibliophile’s Guide to Packing Books for Vacation

A Bibliophile’s Guide to Packing Books for Vacation

Accept that you will never pack light. Now, go buy that book.

We can’t deny the appeal of owning books that wear their histories upon their sleeves. Books that have been dropped in sand too many times. Books that show the scratches and wind-battered scars from accompanying us through far-flung ports — a travel companion like no other. In reading and packing books that will follow us on a journey, we arrive with a sharpened awareness of our destination. And so, from one bookworm to another, here is what it means to pack smart for your vacation, even when it seems impossible to pack light. 

Also read: 7 Books To Read That Will Make You Fall In Love With Europe

Know books like the back of your hand

packing books

Image credit: booknerdtokyo

Before you start packing books for your flight, consider their differences in size and durability. Take, for example, hardcover books. While they look heavy to carry, they are less prone to visible wear and tear. Paperback books feel lighter when you weigh them, but they can fold and crumple at the corners if you aren’t careful enough. Thinner pamphlets or special collector’s items, on the other hand, can be wrapped in shirts or scarves to keep them from getting damaged. 

If not lightly, then pack methodically

packing books

Image credit: sofia_reading (left); one.chapteratatime (right)

Begin by stacking your books and laying them flat in your luggage. Arrange the heavier editions with tougher spines at the bottom, while filling in any gaps with rolled-up clothing or other possessions. Distribute the weight in your luggage evenly, so that your books won’t be jostled out of position. It might take a moment for everything to fall into order, packing books in this systematic manner. But trust us, your arms will thank you for it later.

Additionally, tuck a book inside the inner sleeves of your backpack or personal bag. Anytime you feel like reading, you can easily take a book out and savour the moment during your vacation. 

Carry a tote bag for your book haul

Every travelling bibliophile needs a sturdy bag to carry their books. Thankfully, many bookshops sell durable and eco-friendly tote bags, emblazoned with the logo or facade of their stores. This way, you can easily slide your book haul into your suitcase! 

Whether you are packing books to the beach or looking for a fond reminder of your vacation, bringing home an iconic bag from London Review Bookshop or Shakespeare and Company will make your friends simmer with envy. Or, you can sling a coveted tote from Strand Bookstore over your shoulder, just to let people know that you’ve been to New York. Flexing, yes, but doing it in style!

Also read: 10 Commandments for Responsible Travel Flexing

Leave space in your luggage for more books

packing books

Image credit: Molly.Low

Despite every hoarding instinct telling you otherwise, there is such a thing as too many books — and that is when you are travelling with a single carry-on. If you can already see yourself buying more books during your trip, be sure to clear away enough space in your luggage beforehand. This way, you can leave room for your collection and you can tuck every item securely. Otherwise, that blissful shopping spree will be for nothing, and you might find your beloved pieces with bent spines and wrinkled pages. Nobody wants that! 

Too heavy? Ship your books in a box

packing books

Image credit: booknerdtokyo

Sometimes you don’t want to be the person who struggles to hoist their baggage onto the overhead bin. If all else fails, you can always place your new books in a cardboard box and have them shipped home. It’s not defeat, it’s simply rethinking your packing strategy. 

Line your books upright just as you would on a shelf, while making sure that their pages face the walls of the box. Drape a sheet of bubble wrap over your books to fend off dust. Finally, use generous rolls of packing tape to keep the box tightly sealed. Get ready to see those books home! 

Also read: 12 Beautiful Libraries & Bookstores to Visit Around Asia

Now that you have a strategy for packing books in your suitcase, feel free to let loose at a bookstore and discover new reads along the way! 

About Author

Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany is a writer based in Manila. When she was younger, she knew she wanted to write stories or go on adventures—now, she's learning to do both. She enjoys being swept up in books that spark her curiosity for new places, both real and imaginary. While travelling, she finds herself going off the beaten track quite often, but it's probably because she gets lost easily.

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