You’ve seen it before – a family with 19 oversized bags and rolling devices simply trying to transport them from A to B for their vacation. You wonder how that family can need so much luggage. There has to be a more effective and efficient system, right?
A Google search for “how to pack better” yields roughly 316 million results. In those 316 million results, is there a consensus? Can this mysterious art truly be mastered? Let’s look closer at some of the more achievable travel packing tips.
Pick the Right Bag
First and foremost, check the baggage requirements on every airline you’ll be using during your travels. Please know airlines can change those requirements at any time, so check again right before departure.
When checking a bag, a hard-shell 4-wheel rolling bag will most often fit your needs and allow for easy transportation and sturdiness. Having the hard-shell lowers the risk of tears or the dreaded over stuffing outside pockets that results in your bag no longer sliding into one of those airline suitcase sizers.
When possible, condense your wears into a carry-on bag. Not only will you have less fees (airline fees are typically waived or less for a carry-on), but think of the ease of travel and less laundry you’ll have when you return! Again, be sure to check your airline’s website to ensure the size of carry-on bags accepted.
First, do all your laundry! You want to begin packing with all of your clothes at hand for easy picking and choosing.
Next, with your Pique itinerary booklet in hand (or written personal travel plans), check the weather for each day of travel in the specific city or region. It’s a good idea to pack one week or less prior to travel so the weather will be predicted with a fair amount of accuracy. Compare the weather with the activities planned and make note of what type of clothes you’ll need for each day.
Lay it Out
Once you have your plan, start laying out all the items you need in order of days in your itinerary. A bed works well for this step. You can easily see if you’re forgetting anything while also noting if an item will work for more than one day and already laid out to be included. If you are a picky dresser, try on outfits prior to packing to ensure you definitely will want to wear them.
After it’s laid out, you’ll have an easier time finalizing your packing. First, condense any duplicates – do you need 3 types of black pants? Next, consider your location or type of trip and add in any extras for free time. If you are in the mountains, you may want a couple extra hiking shirts and socks. If you are on a cruise, maybe a couple nice dinner options.
Finally, add in the standards and accessories. Socks, underwear, undershirts, scarves, shoes. Pack as few pair of shoes as you can get away with (they clearly take up valuable space). Some experts advise no more than three, but your trip might call for more. Take the lightest pairs you can. Leave the hiking boots behind whenever possible. Pack shoes that do double duty for day or night. And think neutral: black or brown shoes will match more outfits than green.
Determine Your In-Transit Outfit
If possible, pull out a few items you plan to pack to wear in-transit to reduce the number of items you’re taking with. This varies by gender. For females, it typically involves walking shoes, and multiple layers. For males? Channel Steve McQueen.
Some people swear by packing with compression sacs. They condense your clothes into a tight bundle and save suitcase space.
Others love packing cubes. Each type of garment gets its own cube. They help you organize your clothing, configure everything in your suitcase and easily unpack at your destination. Or, maybe you aren’t in any destination long enough to unpack, cubes make it easy to grab an article of clothing out of a section without needing to re-fold and organize the entire suitcase.
Learning what can be rolled and what should be folded will help you pack better. Generally speaking, underwear, t-shirts, jeans, and other knit clothing shouldn’t wrinkle if rolled tightly. You can even roll garments in tissue paper to further combat wrinkles. Shirts, blazers and dress pants should be folded carefully and placed above the rolled clothes in the suitcase. More delicate items, such as evening wear, should go on top.
Other packing tips? Bring an extra zip lock or laundry bag to keep dirty clothes in after wearing. Pack socks or underwear last by stuffing in spaces not being utilized like inside shoes or the crevices between shoes, hats or other non-clothing items.
Visual Travel Packing Tips
If you’re a visual learner, YouTube is great for developing all types of skills. Packing is no different. In fact, YouTube offers some 200,000 videos on this topic alone.
Consider these three options full of great travel packing tips: