Isn’t everyone looking for an easier way to pack? Don’t you hate that feeling of “Did I forget something?” as you depart for your long-awaited trip? I’ve compiled some tried and true packing tips to help you maximize the amount of room in your luggage and help make sure you don’t forget a thing. I included the links to products I use myself and highly recommend. If you have any additional tips please leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you.
1. Make a packing list
I know it sounds obvious but do you always do it? I know I am guilty of thinking I won’t forget a thing, but then usually do. Make sure your list contains separate categories for each activity and category you need to pack for. PackPoint is a great free app to help you with this. You can choose what activities you plan on, if it is international travel, if your trip is for business or pleasure, and then like magic, your packing list is generated. PRO TIP: Start your packing list 2 weeks before travel so you have time to purchase any items you may need.
2. Check with your airline for luggage requirements
Every airline seems to have different rules. What size carry on is allowed? Can you bring a personal item and a carry-on? What is the weight limit for your carry on and for checked bags? Does your airline charge additional fees for carry on items? You also want to be sure you know the TSA rules for liquids and gels. All liquids brought onto planes must be in 3.4 oz or smaller bottles and fit inside a clear single quart-sized bag. PRO TIP: Pack a small luggage scale so you can weigh your bags before going to the airport on your return flight. Don’t be one of those people unpacking and repacking bags at the airline counter.
3. Never pack important items in checked baggage
Prescription medication, money, passport, all items you should have in a carry-on. Expensive jewelry and electronics are also items to keep with you. Ask yourself what items you could not live without if your luggage was lost and that is what should go in your carry on.
4. Keep items you want for a flight in your personal item
I like to bring a larger bag or a backpack for my personal item. I keep my travel pillow, large scarf or jacket, and any entertainment I will want in flight such as a book or a tablet in my personal item. I also pack a snack, earbuds, a pen, and any travel documents so that I have easy access. If you don’t want to lug two items through the airport just pack your personal item inside your carry on and then remove it before boarding. That way you can easily place the carry on in the overhead area and not have to mess with it again until you reach your destination. PRO TIP: I love a bag or backpack that can fold down small for packing when you don’t need it. Especially great to throw in a purse if you are going shopping.
5. Consider packing cubes
Packing cubes and compression bags are GREAT for saving space and organizing your suitcase. Another plus is at the end of the trip you can put all the dirty clothes in them. It will keep them from mingling with the other items and it is easy to pull out and throw the items in the washer when you get home.
6. Roll your clothes
Rolling instead of folding can save space and reduce wrinkles. Rolling your clothes works especially well if you are using one of the packing cubes or compression bags listed above. I was able to fit 2 weeks’ worth of clothing in my carry on by rolling the items and placing in compression bags. Make sure to fold items first into an easy to roll size. PRO TIP: roll outfits together for easy access.
7. Scale down on toiletries
Try not to pack full-size bottles that will add weight to your luggage and pack only what you need. Can you buy any items when you reach your destination? Are you staying at a hotel or resort that will supply you with shampoo or body wash? Can you fit what you need in an airline approved quart sized bag? Old prescription bottles also make great storage containers for q tips, hair clips or ties, cotton balls, and even liquids and lotions if they have a screw on lid. PRO TIP: Remember to store any containers with liquids in a sealed plastic baggie in case of spills or leaks.
8. Fill your shoes
If you are bringing extra shoes fill them with small items. Remember that plastic baggie with containers of liquids we were just talking about? Put it in your shoes. Small jewelry pouch, rolled socks, charging cables? Put them inside a shoe and you can find them easy and save space. PRO TIP: Use the shower cap from the hotel to cover the bottoms of your packed shoes to keep any dirt off your other items.
9. Pack items you can mix and match
Consider packing items you can make multiple outfits out of. One skirt and one pair of pants or shorts with a few tops can make multiple outfits when you mix and match. Also, consider the wrinkle factor. If you can pack clothes that are wrinkle resistant that’s best. Who wants to spend their vacation ironing? PRO TIP: Get a travel size bottle of Downey Wrinkle release. Spray on wrinkles and then hang clothes to air dry. You can also use a spray bottle with water to mist wrinkles and then use a blow dryer to zap the wrinkles away. Make sure to check the tags on your clothes first to be sure it’s safe.
10. Don’t forget the chargers
If you are going international make sure you find out if you need any kind of power adaptor. Most phones and tablets can be charged using a USB port on a laptop or even a smart TV. Make sure you pack the chargers you need in your carry on and not your checked luggage. PRO TIP: I always travel with a backup portable charger. Long days at the beach or on a tour with nowhere to recharge your cell phone can leave you with a dead battery. Have a small portable charger in your bag in case of an emergency.
The last tip I have is more of a plug for my FAVORITE item. My Kindle. I love to read while on vacation and packing books takes up so much room. My favorite thing about this Kindle is that you can read it in the sun. Something I can’t do comfortably on my ipad or other tablets. If you like to read outside and don’t have one of these yet I HIGHLY recommend it.