Start with the right-sized suitcase
For a short trip, a small carry-on bag is ideal, and with skill, it’s possible cram all your essentials in there (here’s how to pack the perfect carry-on). But if you can’t travel light, it’s best to choose a bag that can easily accommodate everything you need. Trying to force a bulging suitcase to shut is a waste of time and energy, especially since you may return with even more stuff, if you like to buy souvenirs. When deciding which is the best suitcase for you, take a moment to assess your needs for this trip.
Get the right gear
To make your packing as speedy as possible, have a few convenience items pre-prepared and ready to go at all times. That includes a dedicated toiletry bag, preferably something plastic and waterproof, that you can toss into your suitcase at a moment’s notice. Buy sample-size containers of your favorite shampoo, conditioner, hair styling products, body wash and moisturizer, or decant the full-size products into small, TSA-approved travel bottles. Have similar travel-friendly containers set up for jewelry and accessories if possible. Store them in a clear box with compartments, so you can see all the items clearly and prevent them from getting tangled. If you can’t create these pre-prepared packs of toiletries and accessories, keep a packing list on your phone for a quick reminder of the essentials you need to gather. These household items can make packing a breeze.