50 Packing Tricks to Memorize Before Your Next Trip
Traveling just got a little less stressful.
Make a list
Writing up a list of what you plan to take might feel like a useless step, but you’ll be glad you did. Not only will it keep you organized when you’re figuring out which outfits go together and trying to remember if you packed all your toiletries, but the list could also come in handy later. “This list is also great if the airline loses your bag and asks you to list what was in it,” says travel writer Tim Davis of luxeadventuretraveler.com.
“Pack” important documents virtually
Just in case your ID, passport, or kids’ travel consent forms are lost or stolen, keep a locked image of the files on your phone so you can access them without the Internet, suggests Grainne Kelly, inventor of BubbleBum inflatable booster seats. “You can also place a copy in your cloud, as long as it is password-protected so that the information is still accessible in the event that your phone is stolen too,” she says. “Just be sure to call the file ‘Aunt Ida’s recipes’ and not ‘All my important document information.’”
Bring a designated laundry bag
Not just any bag will do, though. “Do not use a plastic bag as a wash bag,” says travel blogger Nat Took of natpacker.com. “It will stink after just a few days.” Instead, bring a breathable laundry bag that won’t take up much space in your luggage.
Skimp on toiletries
Loading up travel bottles with shower products is a waste of space, says Peggy Goldman, president and founder of Friendly Planet Travel. “Hotels usually provide shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and hairdryers,” she points out. “Anything else you need you can pick up at a local convenience store when you get there.” Learn more tricks that make packing a carry-on easier.
Clear space as you go
If you’re already tight on space but plan to buy souvenirs during your trip, bring old clothes that you were planning to donate or throw away. Instead of re-packing them after every wear, you can just leave them in the trash. “Not only do you have less laundry to do when you get back home, you free up some space in your suitcase for souvenirs,” says travel writer Jennifer Dombrowski of Luxe Adventure Traveler.
Invest in packing cubes
Packing cubes aren’t just an easy way to separate socks and undies from your T-shirts, but they’ll also compress your clothes to open up some space in your suitcase, says Took. “Seriously, these things are amazing,” she says. “It may take a few tries to get the bag/suitcase to marry up perfectly, but once you have figured it out, you save so much space.”
Create a mini capsule wardrobe
Those outlandish heels you just bought might be fun to show off on a night out, but do they really match with much? “Choose versatile, multipurpose pieces that mix and match and can be dressed up or down,” suggests Kelly. Stick with one color palate so you don’t need to bring a new pair of shoes for every outfit.
Don’t put ice straight in the cooler
When you’re on a road trip, a cooler full of snacks and lunch fixings can be a lifesaver. To keep it clean, put the ice in baggies before putting it in the cooler, suggests family and parenting blogger Tangela Walker-Craft of Simply Necessary, Inc. “The bag could also be used as an ice pack in case of an injury,” she says.
Ask for samples
“Toiletries will get you in trouble!” says Amanda Carnagie, travel blogger at theworldincorporated.com. “They’re small, sometimes bulky, and quickly take up a lot of space.” To save space with makeup, she recommends asking a makeup store like Sephora or Ulta for samples of your favorite products and snagging mini perfumes from department stores instead of dragging along the whole bottle.
Personalize your luggage
“When traveling with black luggage—along with 90 percent of all the other travelers in the world—the last thing you want to do is pull a dozen pieces of luggage off a baggage carousel to check which one is yours,” says Kelly. She recommends making your suitcase stand out by tying on a brightly colored ribbon, attaching an eye-grabbing luggage tag, or taping your initials on in bright duct tape. Find out how to spot a quality piece of luggage.