With worries about making your flights on time, making sure you have all the necessary paperwork and not forgetting anything at home, packing for vacation—especially at the last minute—can be a stressfully daunting task for even experienced travelers. Here are 8 packing tips that will change your travel game and allow you to stress about things other than your suitcase (like not forgetting your ID, yikes).
1. Pack early
Seriously, start packing at least 4 days before your trip. First, pack belongings that you won’t use until you leave for your trip (like undergarments, travel sized toiletry items, etc.) that you can forget about for the time being. This clears your mind up, allows you to pack less items as you get closer to leaving and gets your excitement started early so the rest of the packing process isn’t so draining.
2. Create lists
Creating lists is one of my favorite aspects of packing tips. Having a detailed list of items that you need to bring on your trip is a fool-proof way to make sure you’re not leaving anything behind.
** Pro packing tips: keep the list on you throughout your trip so you can check your bags again before you leave your hotel.
3. Keep clothes and everything else separate
Keeping items separate in your suitcase allows for you to know exactly where everything is. On one side of your bag, keep items like toiletries, hair items, jewelry, shoes, etc. and on the other, keep clothes exclusively. This will also help you keep your items tidy throughout your trip—no more tearing through all your belongings to find your toothpaste at the end of your first night.
4. Know your airline’s policies
These packing tips are fairly obvious, but I’ve been in a situation where, for one leg of a trip my toiletries were sufficient size, but for the next leg, they weren’t. To save you a lot of stress and anxiety, and to prevent you from having to open your bags in security (or more cringe, having an agent do it for you), it’s best to know your airline’s policies in advance and pack accordingly.
** In addition, make sure your bag fits the necessary dimensions and weight for carry-on travel, you don’t want to get stuck with the fees.
5. Roll your clothes
Rolling your clothes, as opposed to folding them, is a great option to maximize space in your suitcases. You can fit items into corners easier, and see all your options in your bag upon first look—perfect for keeping your belongings tidy on your trip.
6. Pack essentials in your personal item
Please, don’t be the person that has to reach up into the overhead bins multiple times on a flight. Pack things like headphones, computers, books, etc. that you might want to use throughout the duration of the journey in a place that is easily accessible to you—for air travel, they should go in your personal item beneath your seat.
7. Pack layering pieces
Whether it’s hot weather or cold, layering pieces are a good way to create multiple outfits out of a limited number of items. If you’re going to a hot climate, tank tops with a light jacket or a long sleeve top allow you to bring your day outfits into nighttime effortlessly.
8. 3:1 Ratio
For me, the 3:1 ratio is an ideal way of packing and it’s one that I often forget to do myself (even though I regret it every time I’m away from home). In short, for everyone item you have to wear as bottoms (shorts, skirts, jeans, etc.) you should pack three top options that match with the initial bottom you chose. This allows you to pack super efficiently—you won’t be left with that pair of jeans that you haven’t worn in six months but thought you might on this trip.