Packing smart is the biggest difference between a rookie and a seasoned traveller. Nothing screams "I don't do this often" than an oversized suitcase (or two) stuffed with your whole closet 'just in case'. Fear not! These packing tips and hacks will help you travel smarter than ever before!
1. Plan the sh*t out of your packing
Always start with a packing list...and most importantly don't forget to actually review it afterwards!
Think about each day in your itinerary and make a list of what clothes (active? formal? casual?), accessories, shoes, etc., you need for that day. Now take that list and try to cut it in half. Don’t pack things ‘just in case’, be deliberate about everything going in your bags.
2. Mix and match clothes and accessories to create multiple outfits
Instead of taking an different outfit for each day, take clothes that can be worn interchangeably to make several different outfits over the course of your travel.
One way is to take clothes that can be casual during the day, and formal in the evening with different shoes, accessories, and hairstyle.
Another way is to take tops and bottoms that stick to a single color palette, so no matter how you mix and match the outfit they still work well together.
TIP: Take darker shades of clothes, they don’t show stains and generally go well with most colors.
3. Shoes stuffed with stuff (say that 5 times fast)
Select a few pairs of shoes that can easily be used for multiple purposes. Being comfortable is key when traveling, so take a pair of walkable shoes! These can also work well as active wear. Sandals or boots (depending on the climate you're traveling to) are a great second option. Take one pair of heels or formal shoes if you need them, but try to choose a color that works well with any outfit (go for colors like beige, brown, nude, or black).
Shoes are also a huge space thief. Try packing socks, and other small items (in ziploc bags) inside your shoes to maximize the space they take up.
TIP: Pack your shoes in shower caps to keep them separated from your clothes.
4. Travel size everything is your best friend
To pack smart, don't take huge shampoo, conditioner, and cream bottles. Get mini versions or travel size options instead. You could also get small containers and fill them up with your own essentials if your prefer. While we're at it, why not ditch everything entirely! Many toiletries and basic necessities are provided by your hotel (check online, or call beforehand to find out) or can be bought in the city/country you're traveling to.
TIP: Pack your essentials in separate bags so they don't accidentally spill everywhere and are easy to check at airport security.
5. Bags in Bags in Bags
Packing cubes will be your best friend. They’re boxes of fabric with a zipper to close. Packing cubes come in a variety of sizes and are small enough to fit several into a carry-on, backpack, or suitcase.
They keep clothes compressed and organized. Gone are the days when your neatly packed luggage looks like a tornado hit it when you needed to get just one thing out. Now you can pull out the specific cube you need without disturbing the rest of your packing.
TIP: Take an extra lightweight bag that can be collapsed in packed. That way if you need more space later, it can be expanded and packed as an extra carry on.
6. Roll your clothes
This one is tried and true and you've probably seen it before. Roll up your clothes to conserve space—using this method you'll be able to get away with an easy to handle carry on rather than a big checked bag. Rolling your clothes also makes it easier see all your options at a glance, which makes it quick to sort through items in your bag without unfolding or unpacking everything. The best part about this method is that it keeps your clothes from getting wrinkled!
7. Pack clothes you actually wear
We can't stress this one enough, take clothes you will actually wear! It's easy to get caught up in vacation mood and start buying a bunch of new things. Only to get to your destination and revert back to your usuals because you realize the new stuff doesn’t feel right. Comfortable AND stylish is the name of the game, so stick to a couple of tried and true options.
8. Wear your heavy clothes on the flight
Wear your bulkiest items on the plane. This means your bulkiest pair of shoes, jacket/coat, and sweater. You don’t actually have to keep the coat on at all times for it to be a “worn” item, just put it on until you’re on the plane and then take it off. This will help you save valuable space and weight in your luggage for more important travel goodies.
TIP: Use your larger clothes as a travel pillow or blanket.
9. Leave a little extra space
Half the fun of travel is picking up a few things on your way back. The problem is you probably had a tough time fitting everything in the first place (or maybe not if you use these tips!). So save yourself some last minute grief and leave a bit of extra space to allow for some extra pickups along the way.