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Travel Hacks 101: Anne’s Top 10 Favorite Packing Tips

by Anne Assassi | 1 year ago

Packing efficiently is technically a simple concept. While we all know that less is more, it’s much easier to over-pack the items we want to bring or to accept some level of disorganization in a hurry. This is especially true for people like me with vivid imaginations that tell us that even if there’s a 5% probability that we’ll need something on our journey, we should bring it to be safe anyway!

Because of my innate tendency to pack too much combined with a history of loading up my suitcase with little time to spare, I have aimed to become more mindful with every bag I pack so that my trips run a little smoother. While I am not yet perfect, I have learned a lot from past errors by studying up on the best travel accessories and by soaking up other habits and tips from family, friends, and the internet to refine my packing techniques.

Whether or not you’re an expert packer, I am sure you will appreciate my favorite packing tips below. From eliminating excess luggage, which can cost a small fortune, to defending your suitcase from spills, their application will allow you a little more fun on your travels and definitely save you some stress.

1. First Things First – Pack a Day in Advance: I know this can be challenging, but the more time you allow yourself to pack, the more time you will have to organize your belongings in a mindful way that will save on space. I generally like to take a day off from work the day before a trip so I have fewer hassles the day of.

2. Use a Packing Checklist: Using a checklist app is hands down the best way to plan out what you should bring. Before raiding your closet for everything you might think you need, you can sit down with a checklist (and a preview of the weather) to rationally plan out exactly how many t-shirts vs. sweaters or shorts vs. jeans to carry with you.

3. Pack Heavy or Bulky Items First: Pack your shoes at the bottom of your suitcase and any other bulky items on top of them. Finish up with increasingly lighter items until your suitcase is full. Also, consider whether you can wear any of your bulkiest clothes to the airport to save on space.

4. Wrap Shoes in a Disposable Shower Cap: Speaking of shoes, do pack them in a disposable shower cap. Shower caps add way less bulk than plastic bags while protecting your other items from germs at the same time! A win-win.

5. Protect Small Fragile Items: You can pack fragile items or other small items inside of your shoes to protect them and/or save on space. Just keep them germ-free with a little plastic wrap or disposable shower caps.

6. To Roll or to Fold Clothes?: A technique hotly contested as to whether or not it saves space, I find that rolling makes it easier to find the clothes I’m looking for and reduces wrinkles seen with folding. Some items like bulky sweaters are better for folding, though, so if you notice the roll isn’t very tight, you might want to consider a fold instead.

7. Use Compression Packing Cubes: Organize your clothes and roll them up into several different compression cubes that save on space while also keeping you a little calmer when trying to find your pajamas! This is probably the best packing strategy to save on space and stress at the same time.

Pro-Tip: Bring a vacuum compression bag for dirty laundry. You can neatly fold one up in a mesh pocket before your trip and break it out towards the end of your travels to save more space than you ever imagined for your souvenirs!

8. Pack Pills into a Travel Pill Box: Whether you’re a nutty dietitian like me who doesn’t want to miss her multivitamin, or you’re on a prescribed antimalarial regimen, packing your vitamins or medications in a pill box can definitely save on space. Plus most pill boxes are organized into compartments for each day of the week – which makes you less likely to forget the supplements or medications you intend to take.

9. Invest in Travel-Sized Organizers:

A TSA-Approved Toiletry Bag + Travel Bottles: I designate space in a bathroom cabinet for all of my plastic toiletry bottles. I try to keep them filled up between trips to make the packing process a little easier. Then I pack them into a TSA-Approved Toiletry Bag, which is nice because it’s reusable and can save your bag from a messy spill! Pro-tip: No matter how sturdy the bottle may seem, sunscreen and conditioner often manage to find their way out. I recommend placing a layer of plastic wrap between the cap and the base of your toiletry bottles before screwing the cap on tight. Then you won’t have to clean out your reusable toiletry bag out as much either.

An Electronics Organizer: Use an electronics organizer to keep your cords and chargers in check. Many have small mesh bags so you can see where you packed them when you need them most! Time Saving Tip: Double-up on power cords you typically bring for a trip so you can permanently keep them in this case, and have less to think about when packing for each trip. You’ll also be less likely to forget what you need to bring.

A Jewelry Organizer: Jewelry can be just as bad if not worse than cords that tangle in your luggage, but fortunately an almost identical solution exists! Many travel-sized jewelry bags and boxes are on the market to organize your favorite accessories. Cost Saving Tip: If you don’t want to invest too much in travel gear, you can alternatively wrap your jewelry in Press ‘N Seal Wrap. Wrapping takes a little more time but can save you anywhere between $10-$30 for a reusable organizer.

10. Last but not Least, Eliminate Unnecessary Items: Remember the items I mentioned that I always want to bring, even though I’m only 5% likely to use them on a trip? I weed them out on a final inspection before loading everything into my bag. I guarantee that if you get rid of the excess, you can fit at least two weeks of luggage into a carry-on, without a risk of breaking the bank on additional luggage, or on your poor zipper!