Experienced travelers know what to pack and how to pack it. Although packing may seem like a relatively small part of the travel process, think about that when you’re desperately searching through your bags for the phone that you may or may not have packed, all the while destroying any semblance of organization that you may have had before arriving. So let’s talk about how to pack like a pro and see if we can save you a few headaches.
1. Pack in advance
You claim you’re better under pressure. Maybe so, but leave that for last-minute work projects. Make your packing checklist a few days prior to departure, review it carefully and give yourself some time to have the “Aha! I forgot something!” moments. Packing in advance reduces risk. Do it!
2. Practice pack
Think of it as a walkthrough or rehearsal. Lay everything out on the floor or on your bed before it goes in your suitcase and organize things in piles. Seeing everything spread out will help you get a better idea of what you’re bringing. The “cram it all in the bag piece by piece” strategy is certain failure.
3. Choose rolling over folding
Our instinct is to fold our clothes. That’s what we do when they come out of the dryer. But in a suitcase, you have to be thinking about space. Rolled t-shirts will take up less space than folded t-shirts. Of course, button-down shirts and more wrinkle-sensitive clothes should be carefully folded, but the roll can be helpful when appropriate.
4. Vacuum pack
Stuff your carefully rolled (or folded) things in plastic vacuum pack bags, squeeze the air out and be amazed at how much space you save. These bags also conveniently keep things separate. So when you need your socks you can find them all together in one space-saving place.
5. Double seal your liquids
If you’ve ever opened your suitcase to find all your clothes covered in shampoo you know why this is important. Before heading off, open your bottles and double seal them with a layer of cling film. It may seem like extra work, but the shampoo spill is a disaster that calls for a little extra preventive effort.
6. Weigh in
Last-minute bag rearranging to avoid overweight bag fees is not the way of the seasoned traveler. Throw your bag on the scale before heading out to make sure you’re under the limit.
7. Better to smell better
Placing scented drawer liners in your suitcase can make a big difference if you want your clothes smelling fresh upon arrival.