Are you one of those people who pack for a vacation a month in advance, or do you desperately run around the house the night before catching a plane, trying to stuff everything into a bag? No matter your organization style, we all need some help when it comes to how to pack a suitcase.
There's a lot to think of in preparation for a trip. The most daunting task is deciding what to put in your suitcase and how to fit everything! The key to a successful journey is simplicity and organization. This article introduces you to a dozen tried and tested packing tips that will get you packing like a pro!
12 pro life-changing packing tips
Stick to these stellar guidelines and streamline the packing process. Some simple tips and tricks can make all the difference.
12. Place heavy items at the bottom
When it comes to packing tips, this one is super simple but oh-so-useful. If you pack your heaviest items first, then you avoid wrinkles on your clothes, and the weight is more evenly distributed.
11. Leave some extra space
Always leave some extra space inside your suitcase for any purchases you may make during your vacation. It isn't enjoyable to carry everything in shopping bags when you make your way back home or need to buy extra luggage on your trip.
10. Pack your liquids carefully
It's a nightmare if your liquids explode inside your suitcase, getting everything wet and soapy. Pack all liquids inside a well-sealed plastic toiletry bag to avoid this hassle! Another great packing tip is to place a layer of cling film on the top of any bottle before closing the lid. This just adds an extra layer of security to prevent an oozy cocktail of shampoo and body wash from leaking into your bag.
9. Bring a foldable day pack
Foldable day packs are great for shorter one-day trips that crop up within your vacation. They occupy very little space and can save you from bringing an entire suitcase for a single-night getaway. They also work great as beach bags when you need to bring towels, sunscreen, and a picnic to the beach.
8. Always bring a laundry bag
This is one of the packing tips that everyone wishes they'd listened to the first time. Laundry bags are essential to separate dirty clothes from fresh laundry, avoiding bad smells inside your suitcase. Bring a folded laundry bag on every trip, and fill it up as you go along. You may get the chance to do laundry, but just in case, pop a laundry bag in your luggage. It takes up barely any room but makes all the difference!
7. Separate by categories
When packing, separate your clothes by categories to make it easier to find your things later. Keep all your pants together, and do the same for shirts, dresses, underwear, toiletries, etc. This way, you can spot any extra items you don't need to bring, and your suitcase will be super organized.
6. Use packing cubes
The most efficient way to pack a suitcase is by using packing cubes. Packing cubes help you separate your things into categories and easily stay organized. Cubes also help to pack more compactly, allowing you to fit everything into your bag. Try these great tried and tested packing cubes—They're a game-changer.
5. Roll up your clothes
Rolling up your clothes helps you pack them more efficiently since they occupy less space than when they're simply folded. Roll each item and place them inside your suitcase, playing a Tetris-like game of fitting everything together with as little extra room in between as possible.
4. Bring efficient clothes
Efficient clothes are items you can use multiple times during your trip. Opt for wrinkle-free materials so that your outfits are clean and intact once they come out of the suitcase. Also, pack clothing items that can go with multiple outfits. Stick to a color scheme to match your clothes easily, and create different looks using the same clothes in various combinations.
For cold destinations, follow the rule of layering. Style with accessories like scarves, hats, and jewelry to add personality to your looks. Before packing, place everything on top of your bed and see how many outfits you can build with the least amount of clothes possible.
For example, I have a rule that every item of clothing I bring needs to fit into at least three outfits.
3. Get the right suitcase for the trip
The most fundamental of the travel packing tips is your luggage choice. It's the basis of the rest of your life on the road. If your bag is too big, you might be tempted to fill it all up and bring a bunch of unnecessary stuff on your trip. But you won't fit in all the essentials if it's too small. Plus, you want a little wiggle room for holiday shopping!
Backpacks are ideal for hiking trips or vacations that don't require glitz and glam. They're designed to be lightweight and convenient. And they're effortless to maneuver through all kinds of terrain and transport.
This ultimate backpacking packing list will have you packing like a pro!
If you're a backpacking beginner, you should also learn more about picking the best type of backpack.
Proper suitcases are the better option if you're staying in a hotel or Airbnb. Consider your itinerary and whether you'll move between places, which will also impact your luggage choice. You don't want to be lugging around huge, bulky suitcases on public transport.
It's worth investing in good quality luggage. Although it's more expensive at first, they'll last you a long time and save you hassles down the line. If you're nervous about which luggage brand to trust, take a peek at this guide of the top reliable choices when it comes to travel luggage deals.
Pro tip: mark your bags with luggage tags to easily spot your luggage at baggage claim.
2. Make a list of essentials
Once you know where you're going, the type of vacation, and the length of stay, you can work on a vacation packing list. Start with obvious items like a passport, underwear, and toiletries. An excellent way to do that is to walk around the room and see what you use daily, like a toothbrush, face cream, hairbrushes, cases for your contact lens, and so on.
Write everything down on a piece of paper or your phone. Ask your partner, friend, or family member to name some travel essentials, just to make sure nothing has escaped your mind. After that, move to clothes and accessories, keeping in mind the number of days and how many outfits you'll need.
Once you've written everything down, go over the list one more time and eliminate any items that might be unnecessary. Maybe you're bringing way more t-shirts than you need, and will you read three books on your holiday? Keep it honest and straightforward.
Use this guide on travel essentials to help narrow down the necessities.
1. Consider the destination
The cleverest of all the packing tips is to consider your destination and the length of your stay. For example, beach vacations require lighter layers and different accessories than ski trips. Knowing how long you'll stay allows you to plan how many outfits to bring. And you can be smart with other essentials too. For instance, if you're only going away for a couple of nights, then you don't need to bring full-size toiletries.
Keep in mind where you'll be staying too. For example, if you're staying in a hostel, it's best to have smaller suitcases. That's because most rooms are shared, and space and storage are limited. If you're heading to a nice hotel with lots of events and parties, a bigger suitcase can carry more outfits, shoes, etc.
The weather forecast will also tell you what needs to be in your bag — rainy destinations call for rain jackets and heavier shoes. At the same time, sunny vacations beg for summer dresses and shorts.
Travel Packing Tips
Packing doesn't need to be stressful or complicated. With the right packing tips and hacks, you can optimize your vacation prepping. From purchasing packing cubes to rolling your clothes and perfecting the art of layering, your vacations will always be easier, and your bag will be super organized.
Want to take your planning to the next level? Pilot can help you with that.