It’s officially the time of year when that wanderlust hits you. After spending months in school or holed up hiding from the cold, all you want to do is get out there. You’ve booked the flight and reserved the room for your insta-worthy vacation, and now you’re standing in your closet wondering what the heck you should be taking and how you’re going to fit all of it into your carry-on. Well, as an avid traveler myself, I have 15 packing hacks that are going to save your trip.
1. Plan, Plan, Plan!
You should be putting as much thought as you do into your itinerary as you do what you’re going to be packing. Just like you have outlined what you’re going to do every day, you should have the outfits you’re going to wear for each thing mapped out. This way you don’t end up bringing that one dress that would look so cute with your wedges if you don’t actually have a reason to wear it. Yes, you might get a little fashion FOMO, but that’s okay. Be confident in your planning, and your trip will be a breeze.
2. Roll Your Clothes
Now that you know what you want to bring, the question of how it all will fit comes up. If you just start tossing things in your suitcase, you’re going to run out of room fast. My advice, roll your clothes. I’m sure you’ve seen this on Pinterest, and if not you better start searching for it, because rolling your clothes is literally like packing magic. Suddenly that mountain of clothes is only taking up a quarter of the space in your bag. See. Magic.
3. Only Take The Essentials
This is so hard to do because you don’t know if you’re going to need anything until you don’t have it with you. But I promise you, you don’t need it as terribly as you think you do. Take only the clothes you plan on wearing, only the necessary bathroom supplies, and hold off on the six different kinds of moisturizers that you only ever use one of anyways.
4. Make Your Clothes Multi-Purposeful
If you’re trying to fit a week’s worth of clothes into your carry-on, you’ve got to get outfit creative. Plan multiple looks that will use the same item. Use that flowy maxi-skirt as a beach cover up during the day and the other half of an outfit for dinner another night.
5. Make A List
Going back to the planning aspect of packing, the best thing you can do is make a list. Pair outfits with your activities and get a visual of exactly what you need. That way you don’t forget anything and you can figure out where to make cuts if need be.
6. Don’t Wait Until The Last Minute
This is so important! Don’t put off packing until the last minute because you will overwhelm yourself. Start with the stuff you know you won’t be wearing a few days in advance and get everything together so you’re ready to go when it’s time to really get started.
7. Always Put At Least One Outfit In Your Carry-On
The worst thing that can happen when traveling is that your airline either loses your luggage or it gets delayed by a day or two. If you’ve put everything into your checked bag, you will be wearing dirty clothes or forced to buy more. I advise you to put at least one outfit in your carry-on just in case. It’s better to prepare for the worst and hope for the best than have no clothes.
8. Wear Your Jacket On The Plane
A smart way to save space in your bag is to wear the big stuff like jackets. You can take your jacket off on the plane if it’s too hot, but having the intention of wearing it means it’s not in your bag and you can fit more stuff.
9. Shoes Go In the Bottom Of Your Bag
This is kind of basic, but when you’re putting your stuff in your bag, shoes go first and toward the bottom of the bag. This way you won’t get scuffs or dirt on your nice clothes.
10. Put Your Liquids In Your Checked Bag
If you’re checking a bag, put your liquid in it, even if it’s 3oz. It’s such an inconvenience to have to hastily dig through your carry-on for your contact solution while people give you side-eye for taking too long. If you have to put it in your carry-on, put it somewhere easy access so you can just pull it out and keep going.
11. Test The Bag’s Weight Before You Get To The Airport
If you have a scale at home, try to weight your checked bag before going to the airport. There’s nothing like the panic of realizing you’re over three pounds and the airport lady is going to charge you a hundred dollars or send you home if you don’t find a way to put three pounds of clothes on your person and fast. If this isn’t an option, I always lift the bag and guestimate. It’s worked so far.
12. Any And All Valuables Go In Your Carry-On
If you’re bringing something you don’t want to lose, put it in your carry-on. Keep it on you at all times. Like I said earlier, you don’t want to lose your luggage, but it could happen. So if you’re going to bring your laptop, keep it in your carry-on. It would be devastating if it got lost.
13. Double Check That List
Now that you have everything packed away, go back to that list and do a mental checklist of everything. Contacts? Underwear? Toothpaste? Hair brush? Once you’re confident you haven’t forgotten anything, then you can say you’re done.
14. When In Doubt, Ask Your Mom
If you feel like you’re forgetting something or missing something and you can’t put your finger on it, or you’re just so overwhelmed that you don’t know what to do, call your mom. Or dad. Or whoever. Just call someone who knows what they’re doing and ask them to walk through it with you. Odds are, your mom knows exactly what you’re forgetting and can help remind you.
15. Don’t Stress
Lastly, stay calm. You’re going on vacation! This is exciting. Packing is definitely the most stressful part of traveling, but if you stay calm, it doesn’t have to be. So chill out, get listing, and have fun on vacation!