20 Travel Packing Hacks
All excited for the long-awaited vacation? However, for most of us packing can be mood-dampener. Figuring out what all to pack can be stressful and time-consuming. And when you have to fit them in a suitcase keeping in mind the weight restrictions, it can be really challenging. Today, I’m going to share some simple and effective packing ideas that will make your life a lot easier while traveling. These travel packing tricks will ensure that you make the most of every inch of space in your suitcase in a safe, organized, and manageable manner.
- Invest in a lightweight, durable suitcase that can be easily organized. A good quality bag comes with extra pockets, expandable sides, 360-degrees wheels, and is really lightweight. Such bags do not add unnecessary weight to your luggage and make it easier to wheel around everywhere. Add striking accessories or personalized details to make your bags unique so that it is easy to spot them amongst scores of similar bags on the conveyer belt. This also minimizes the chance of someone grabbing it by mistake.
- Always begin with a packing list. Start making a checklist a few days before your departure so that you can keep adding items as you remember them. You can check a few packing lists online for ideas, but make your own detailed list based on your itinerary, planned activities, and specific needs. Note down even the little things like toothbrushes, sunglasses, chargers, sunscreen, swimsuits, etc., as those are the things that are usually forgotten. Keep ticking the items off the list after you have added them to your bags. Don’t forget to go through your list before you leave home to be sure that you have not forgotten any item.
- NO last-minute packing. Start packing a couple of days in advance instead of throwing things randomly in your bag a few hours before you leave. Rushed packing is a recipe for disaster and can lead to over-packing or under-packing. If you have time in hand, you can pack more relaxed and efficient and avoid any major oversight.
- Lay all your things on the bed first. That way you will get a good idea of things that you intend to pack and their utility. It will also help in fitting things in the suitcase in a systematic and planned manner. Take a picture or make a note of all the things that you are putting in the bag. Most of us forget the clothes we have packed and mess up the whole bag trying to find them amongst the crammed suitcase. Be realistic and don’t pack ‘in case’ stuff. If in doubt, leave it in your closet.
- Use Packing Cubes. These lightweight, zipped bags come in all sizes and make it easy to separate and categorize your things. Group similar clothing pieces and squeeze them into packing cubes. This makes it so much easier to find items and you don’t have to rummage through your bag in an attempt to find that ‘elusive’ shirt. These cubes are stackable and keep the suitcases tidy and organized. Once you reach your hotel, the packing cubes can just be slipped into the wardrobe, making unpacking a simple process.
- Should you roll or should you fold? Roll clothes that are thick and heavy (jeans, sweatshirts) and fold clothes that use light materials (scarves, shirts, dresses). This way you can not only save space but also keep creases to a minimum. Pack wrinkle-prone clothes in plastic dry-cleaning bags to avoid them getting creased. Bundle all the items tightly so that things do not move much in your bag.
- Pack your bags in a balanced way. Put all the heavier items (like shoes, cosmetic bags, books, etc.) at the bottom of your bags near the wheels and the lightest items on the top. If the weight is evenly distributed, the bags remain stable when upright and would be easier to roll.
- Don’t forget to pack the fragile items in bubble wrap. Also, stuff such items between clothes so that they are protected from all sides. The baggage gets tossed carelessly at the airports and you don’t want to see broken pieces of your valuables when you open them.
- Always pack your valuables, essentials, laptop, documents, medicines, and an outfit change in your carry-on. Bags get lost, stolen, or delayed and one should be prepared for all eventualities. Nothing can be more stressful than landing in a foreign land without the absolute essentials.
- Stuff accessories, socks, undergarments, chargers, and other smaller stuff inside your shoes. This will give you a little more packing space and help your shoes retain their shape in the cramped bag. Store shoes in shower caps or shoe bags, especially if you are packing them with your clothes. That way you can place them in the most convenient spot without worrying about getting your clothes soiled.
- Don’t carry full-sized bulky toiletries. Buy reusable, travel-sized, plastic bottles; label them and fill them with your lotions, creams, and toiletries. If you can collect mini-size versions of your favorites, all the better. Just walk into Sephora, Ulta, or any other similar shop and ask for free samples of pretty much everything you might need. Use cling wrap under your bottle lids to prevent spills. Pack them in a small pouch that will keep the bottles accessible and safe. If you are a frequent traveler, keep a dedicated toilet kid always ready with your essentials. You are saved from the chore of packing and repacking every time you travel.
- Carry some spare zip lock bags and plastic bags with you. They are indispensable on the road and will really come in handy if you want to pack dirty laundry, wet swimsuits, or store an opened chips packet / leaking shampoo bottle. If you can find a laundry bag (most hotel rooms have one), it can prove to be very useful for storing soiled clothing.
- Try to pack clothing around one or two basic colors. If you have limited space, choose a neutral color palette like grey, beige, black, or khaki. Pack outfits that are versatile and can be mixed & matched with each other. Use accessories to add a pop of color and interest to your clothing. That way you can have a new look every day even with limited pieces. You can always add a couple of colorful summer dresses for days when you are in the mood to dress up. Stay away from colors that clash.
- Don’t leave empty spaces in suitcases. It can be tempting to keep your bags somewhat empty for souvenirs and stuff, but it is not a very good idea. The items in the bag will shift and things may break or wrinkle. Try to fill the empty spaces with polythene, bubble wrap, edible items, and other disposable things. You can fill the unfilled bag with your shopping on the way back.
- Place dryer sheets between clothes. This way you can retain your clothes’ freshly washed smell even after being worn multiple times. If your smelly shoes or laundry bag is crammed alongside other things in the luggage, all the clothes will start smelling foul. Stash the dryer sheets in your dirty laundry bag so that everything smells nice.
- Wear your bulky and heavy items. Whenever possible, wear your long boots, heavy coats, and sneakers on the plane as it will leave you with lots of extra space in the suitcase. Though, it can be a bit awkward and tricky if you are traveling between two different climates.
- Check the weather forecast for your destination. This is very often forgotten. Make sure you check the weather couple of days before you leave for your journey. It might mean some last-minute swapping to add a pair of shorts, a light jacket, or maybe an umbrella. But in the end, you will be glad that you took the required action.
- Keep all the devices in one place that is easily accessible. It is mandatory to put all the electronics in the tray for security check at the airport. You don’t want to hold the long security queue while you fumble around trying to trace the different gadgets. So keep them together in a convenient location.
- Stash messy cords, air pods, and chargers in an empty sunglasses case. The accessories will be easily available and the hard shells will prevent the wires from being tangled, lost, or damaged.
- Put together a First-Aid Box for emergencies. One should always carry a basic First-Aid kit so that you can deal with minor hiccups without running to the doctor or the pharmacy. It goes without saying that the kit must be within easy reach at all times.
Can you think of any other travel packing hack to optimize the limited suitcase space? Use the comment section below to share your favorite packing.