Traveling. Whether you love it or hate it, no doubt one of your least favorite things about it is packing. We fold, stuff, and shove our belongings into as small a space as possible; hoping to arrive at our destination with everything we need, clean and wrinkle free. The holiday season is upon us, so now is a good time to share a few packing tips. Some of these, we’re sure you’ve heard, but some may be new to you.
Clothes, clothes, and more clothes – Over packing is one of the biggest no-nos committed by travelers. Be sure to pack only what you will need and know you will wear on your trip. If you’re planning an extended trip, you may consider packing less, not more, and doing laundry while you’re away. Also, packing too much clothing will crush everything and potentially ruin your more delicate items.
Shoes – Again, don’t take more than you’ll need. It’s also a good idea to wear your bulkiest shoes while traveling, allowing more space in your luggage. If you’re packing dress shoes, you might consider putting the shoes inside an airtight zip-top bag – after putting each shoe into an old sock to avoid scuffing. Another tip, pack socks inside shoes to save space.
Wrap it up – If you’re traveling with fine clothing such as suits, dresses, or other dry clean only delicates, consider leaving the items in the dry cleaner’s plastic bag. The plastic will reduce the risk of friction and wrinkling.
Roll with it – We’ve been taught to fold our clothes neatly and stack them inside our suitcase. You probably got the same memo. Trouble is, when the suitcase opens at the other end of the trip, the clothes are almost invariably crushed, wrinkled, and intertwined. To save space, and reduce wrinkles, try rolling your clothes next time you pack. Fold sleeves of shirts in, then fold the shirt in half lengthwise, and roll from the bottom, leaving the collar on the outside of the roll. For pants, follow the same protocol; fold in half – leg over leg – and roll from the cuff. You’ll find you can fit more clothing, there is less shifting, and far fewer wrinkles.
Play Tetris – How we pack is probably more important than what we pack. A common mistake is grouping items by type rather than size. Another error is putting the toiletry bag in first, beneath the clothing. The best place to put your toiletries, which will likely be the single heaviest item in the suitcase, is as far away from the suitcase’s handle as possible; thus putting the heavy items at the bottom of the bag, not necessarily behind other items. Arrange rolled and folded items to fill as much space as possible inside the suitcase. Fill the nooks and crannies with socks and underwear.
Prefer powder – Some travel necessities, like toothpaste and shampoo, can be purchased in powder form. Most of the weight associated with these items is related to the liquid content. Bringing powdered shampoo and toothpaste will also eliminate the need to carry the small, travel-sized, versions.
Keep it with you if you can’t be without it – Be sure to carry medications and anything else you may need soon after arrival in your carry-on. Also, as much as we don’t like to admit it, sometimes luggage does get temporarily misplaced. If this happens, you’ll be glad you packed a change of clothes in your carry-on. Toiletry items are replaceable and most hotels keep a stock for guests, so putting these things in your carry-on is your choice.