Choosing your travel destination can be a long process, but what about packing? You might feel like canceling when you think about planning, preparing, sorting, and finally trying to stack all your necessities into a suitcase.
What is quite interesting is that there is a complete science to packing your things, and most of us know we have a tendency to pack too much. There are things we hardly ever think about when we start packing, but they can be crucial for the outcome.
So, don’t get yourself in a situation where you can’t reach something from a suitcase during your trip, forget some of the essentials or overpack completely. Instead, explore the multiple ways to approach efficient packing. Here are some of our favorite tips.
How you pack depends mainly on your luggage itself and the vacation you are planning. If you are adventurous and don’t like to carry many things, backpacks and sports bags are the best choices – but you will need a suitcase and a plan if you are on a business trip or several-day vacation. You want packing to be a simple process before the journey, not a stressful one that makes you want to stay home.
1. Ideal suitcase
There are several things to consider when choosing a suitcase. Depending on the nature of the trip, it is vital to choose an adequate size. Using an oversized bag only leads to carrying more unnecessary things. It is essential to use a suitcase that is easy to carry. A distinct color or feature helps you spot your suitcase at the airport, and lots of compartments within the suitcase are a great way to organize things easily.
2. Make a list and pair the items
Starting with a packing list or using a packing app on your phone is the key to taking what you need. In addition to clothing, electronics, medications, toiletries, and documents such as your passport, the list should not include everything you might need – only the items you will actually need. Your list can also be taken on the trip, so nothing gets left behind when you’re packing for the trip back.
3. Preparing clothes
Before packing, sort your clothes, shoes, and other items on the bed. This helps you get a clear look at what you are packing, making it easier to plan space in the suitcase. Pairing and dividing the items into categories can help you maximize the space. If you are not an ironing person, folding your clothes in a roll can prevent creasing and make it easier for you to take an item out of the suitcase without disturbing the others.
4. Packing cubes
A packing cube is a handy way to organize luggage. They come in different sizes and compression levels for the perfect fit in your suitcase. This way, you have an overview of everything and no worries about getting things mixed up. You can organize your cubes by like items, or pack everything you need for a single day in its own cube.
Planning day-by-day can be much easier if you check the weather that is expected on your trip. Cubes are also handy when packing for return since you can use some of them to store dirty clothes. This way, they are separated from the clean clothes, and you don’t have to go through the entire luggage upon arrival to find what needs to be washed.
5. Which order should you pack?
The goal is to save space in your luggage as much as possible. The heaviest and largest items need to be at the bottom. The most frequent space-taking culprits are shoes and some electronics. Electronic devices should always be separated from the rest of the suitcase (with a nylon cover at the least) for safety reasons.
The wardrobe should be packed next. In the absence of packing cubes, you can roll the clothes up to save space and avoid creasing. Toiletries should always be stacked at the top because they are often needed first upon arrival. Repacking the bottles into smaller, transparent containers will prevent you from running out of space or lugging around half-empty large bottles. Gels, liquids and creams like sunscreen, toothpaste and shampoo should be bagged separately to prevent making a mess of the entire contents of your suitcase if they should leak.
Toward the end of packing, try to close the suitcase. That way, you can see if you managed to use the space while at the same time compressing what’s already in there.. When you open it again, you will know that you still have a little space for last-minute additions. If you know that you always have room on the side when packing, use that space to pack socks, gloves, or other smaller soft items.
6. Common packing mistakes
We would think that after packing for so long, we would learn what not to do. But when we start, we let our minds anticipate possible situations, and then we overpack. Keep it simple with strict parameters, such as a firm rule of three pairs of shoes. Make sure your footwear is elegant and relaxed but also ready for adventure according to the weather you expect.
Another easy-to-remember rule of thumb is to bring five pairs of underwear, four t-shirts, three pairs of shoes, two pairs of pants, and one outer layer for a five-day trip. Packing clothes that mix and match in similar colors and styles can make this process a lot easier.
We don’t expect you to adopt all the suggestions we made since packing styles can be so diverse. Try one of these pieces of advice on your next trip, and if you find it useful, you can always come back for more.