Traveling is fun – packing is not. We’ve all struggled while trying to cram piles of clothes into each corner and crevice of a suitcase. If you’re tired of sitting on your luggage, busting zippers, and over-packing, it’s time to consider a different approach. Thankfully, there are some tricks of the trade that will help transform your travel preparation from stressful to simple. Keep reading to learn how.
You can organize your clothes by using a set of packing cubes. They come in a variety of sizes and can be arranged neatly to utilize every inch of your suitcase. Simply fold your clothes, secure them in a cube and place it in an open spot in your bag.
Like packing cubes, space savers come in an assortment of different sizes and are used to maximize luggage space, but they differ when it comes to their most notable feature. While packing cubes were created with organization as the priority, space savers rely on compression to create thinner stacks of clothes. After folding your items and placing them in the compression bag, you can remove the air by rolling, vacuuming or using a hand pump to pull the excess air out. Fortunately, travel size hand pumps are available if you’d prefer to use that option.
Pill (or Contact) Cases for Liquids and Creams
Airline regulations allow one quart-sized bag of liquids in carry-ons. Most people use travel sized bottles to store their liquids and creams, but occasionally, even those become too cumbersome. In that event, try using a weekly pill case with tightly closing lids (the ones that screw to close are the most reliable). Weekly pill cases have 7 small containers that are locked together and hold just enough to make it through a weeklong trip. Contact lens cases are ideal for liquids because they securely tighten to create a spill-proof seal. Both options can be reinforced with tape to prevent leaks and should be labeled to avoid confusion. To be extra safe, store your liquid filled pill or contact lens cases in a plastic zip-top bag.
Rolling your clothes, instead of folding them, is another popular method of packing. You can even layer an entire outfit in a stack, and then roll the items into one combined tube. Because your outfits will already be together, this technique cuts down on the time needed to locate your clothes during your trip. However, clothing made of heavier or easily wrinkled fabrics should be folded. When folding, place plastic bags between your folds to limit wrinkling.
Shoes consume a lot of luggage real estate. Because it’s difficult to prepare for every weather and terrain situation you may encounter, travelers frequently over-pack when it comes to footwear. To help avoid this, always abide by this simple rule; never pack more than 3 pairs of shoes. Your 3 pairs should include: one formal pair, one pair for walking, and one pair for leisure. Also, remember that each pair should be as light and compact as possible. Once you’ve decided on the best shoes to pack, stop them from contaminating other items by storing them in a drawstring bag, or by placing just the soles in a shower cap. Pack your shoes last, stacking them on top of your clothes, to make them easier to access if TSA needs to inspect your bag.
The key to efficient packing is being both organized and selective about what you decide to bring. Packing fewer items is always the easiest way to approach travel preparation, but when that is not possible, relying on organization is your best bet. There are many inexpensive options to help you reach your space-saving goals. Find the best system for your needs, then rest easy knowing that you’ll never need to stress over packing again.