As frequent travelers, we have learned a plethora of packing hacks over the years. Don’t worry if packing has you stressed because it is a skill that comes with time. However, we’re here to share some of our favorite packing tips with you and make your next trip a little less stressful.
Packing Hacks and Tips
Wear your heaviest clothing
If you’re flying carry on don’t waste precious space by jamming your heaviest items in your luggage. If you’re traveling with boots and a jacket make sure to wear the boots and carry the jacket. It seems simple, but we always make sure to have the heaviest and largest clothing items actually on us when we fly.
Invest in packing cubes
We love packing cubes! There an amazing way to organize your luggage and you can utilize all sorts of strategies. You can organize by clothing type, outfits, or color. It makes finding things a breeze and saves you from folding and unfolding clothes all the time. A bonus is when unloading the bag you don’t have to worry about your clothes touching the dirty floor. Don’t substitute plastic bags for packing cubes as they trap moisture.
Keep items in shoes
A great packing hack is to utilize your luggage space with a pair of shoes. You can stuff your shoes with your socks or something glass like a bottle of perfume or cologne. Not only does this save space, but it can protect a fragile item in transit.
This is Tasha’s go to packing item as they’re wonderful for all kinds of travel. You can use a sarong as a blanket, cover up, and towel. If you’re traveling around Southeast Asia they are particularly useful as you’re often required to cover your shoulders and legs to enter a temple. The same can be said for entering the churches of Europe.
Get a dirty shoe bag
We always travel with at least two pairs of shoes since we workout on the road. I’m a minimalist so I will wear a classic boot and then pack my lightweight running shoes in my luggage. To protect my clothes and luggage I like to use a cloth bag to store my dirty shoes. If you’re looking for a quick packing hack to find a suitable bag, steal one of the disposable laundry bags from your hotel room.
Don’t pack soap
No need to pack the soap as hotels always have this item. If you are staying at an Airbnb, there is always the chance to go buy it at a nearby grocery store. If you require specialty products don’t forget those from home though. We’ve got a post on Airbnb tips and can provide first-time users an Airbnb coupon here.
Toiletry bags are gold
For the liquids and toiletries that we do pack in our bag, we always store them in a toiletry bag. It can save your clothes from a razor, makeup, toothpaste, or liquid. I use a regular toiletry bag while Tasha prefers a hanging one. Hanging ones are great to stay organized and keep your stuff off the counter. If you need a new bag check out our list of the best toiletry bags.
Choose the right luggage
Unless you like paying for pricey overweight luggage fees it’s best to start your trip with a lightweight suitcase. We have a post about our favorite carry on backpacks and the best carry on luggage if you need a new piece of luggage and some ideas. We like bags that are stylish, lightweight, have four strong wheels and provide simple organization pieces.
Know that less is always more
People have a tendency to overpack, actually almost everyone overpacks. If you’re smart and pack light it almost always leads to a more enjoyable trip. We like to fully pack our bag and then go through it a day or two in advance. The night before our trip we take out what we absolutely don’t need. You need to learn to be pretty ruthless when packing. We’ve ditched countless items in hotel rooms simply because we were overpacked while if we just would have left it at home we would still have our perfectly good items.
Plan before you go
If you’re having a hard time with the packing hack above try to plan your outfits in advance. If it’s a special trip you can even do a test run and have a mini fashion show with yourself before you leave. Pack several different outfits and then mix and match, remember that black goes with everything and to stay away from colors that clash. You don’t have to avoid color just pack so that you can intertwine outfits easily.
Use small bags
If you take a daily supplement, vitamins, or medicine on a regular basis pack it in a small bag to reduce bulk. Just make sure if it’s a prescription you have the label! If you’re looking for the perfect size try out these little pill packets.
Keep liquids together
Carry-on travelers need to make sure all liquids are stored in a clear plastic bag. This will save a lot of time and energy in the security line when flying. Or maybe you like the TSA searching around your bag for a little bottle of contact solution? We definitely do not! The other option is to apply for TSA precheck and make airport security a breeze.
Have a dirty laundry bag
We like to travel with a small fabric or mesh bag for our dirty clothes. This keeps the rest of our clothes from getting dirty and smelly. It’s really important that you do not use a plastic bag or something that does not breathe as it will cause damp clothes to mildew. If you have a wet bathing suit and don’t have time to dry it before packing, try using a waterproof bag like this one here.
Roll your clothes
We love to roll our clothes to save space. They also tend to wrinkle less.
A great packing hack is to consider what can break and how to protect it. I like to wrap my camera in a scarf and pack it in the center of my bag if I’m going to check my luggage. I do not trust the TSA with valuables. You need to be extra careful of products like perfume or colored lotion as they can damage your clothes if they explode.
Plastic wrap liquid tops
Air pressure can change a lot in flight which can result in toiletries exploding in your luggage. If you want to avoid items like sunscreen from exploding in your luggage there is a simple packing hack. Cut small pieces of plastic, remove caps, cover the top, and replace the cap.
Pick up some dryer sheets
Take a few dryer sheets and layer them in between your clothes. This is one of our favorite packing hacks to keep our clothes smelling nice. It’s much easier and effective than packing a whole bottle fabric freshener. Who doesn’t want to smell Tide fresh?
Try out wrinkle release
We’ve tried the steam your clothes in the bathroom trick, but it never seems to work. Instead we like to travel with a bottle of wrinkle release and utilize any iron when we have the time.
Make your suitcase bottom heavy
To keep your suitcase balanced try packing your heaviest items on the bottom of your wheeled luggage.
Keep in flight necessities within reach
If I have an outer pocket I like to keep all of my flight essentials within easy reach. Things like headphones, lip balm, water bottles, an eye mask, travel pillow, or your favorite book should all be easily accessible. Think about what you’d like to have while stuck on a plane or bus and plan accordingly. Check out our list of long-haul flight essentials to make travels more enjoyable.
Try a clam shell suitcase
We love clamshell suitcases as they provide easy access to our luggage. Keep in mind that clamshell suitcases occupy a larger space in the hotel room, which is a negative when in small places.
Leave space or pack old clothes you can ditch
You’re going to want to bring souvenirs home so you have two ways to make room in your luggage. Either you leave enough space in your bag to add a few more items or you travel with a few older pieces of clothes you can leave behind.
If you like to stay in shape consider picking up fitness items that travel well. I like to travel with a jump rope and a workout band set. With those two items, I can do just about any workout with some space as hotel gyms can be limited and sad sometimes. Or if the trip is short enough I make sure my hotel has a decent gym so I can ditch the gear.
Put your belt in a shirt
If you’re traveling on business or like to dress smart place your belt inside your collar to keep it clean and stiff. This is great for a quick fix, but if you find yourself making a habit of it try out some collar stays.
Make your suitcase yours
No one wants to lose their suitcase, and it is a lot more likely if your suitcase looks like hundreds of others. Try to pick out a unique, colorful, and stylish bag. Or you use a simple sticker, ribbons, or a luggage tag to differentiate your bag.
- The Europe Packing List You’ll Need This Summer 2018
- The Best Winter Packing List for Europe and Beyond
- Best Travel Towels For Backpacking Around The World in 2018
- Best Carry On Backpacks to Help You Pack Smart
- Long Haul Flight Essentials to Always Travel With