When it comes to packing, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of actually leaving your home, belongings, perhaps your children and pets, unattended. It’s also easy to forget to pack efficiently, which leads to thinking about why you didn’t bring that thing you needed, and less time enjoying your hard-earned vacation days. Packing is an art; something I haven’t quite mastered but I can pretty much do with my eyes closed. After traveling to 59 countries in the last 10 years, I wanted to give you some of my favorite packing tips that will hopefully save you some time and keep you anxiety-free. If you wish to share any of your own expert packing tips, please leave us a comment below!
Rule #1 Keep it Simple
When it comes to packing clothes, choosing what to take can be a tricky process. The “what if” questions we ask ourselves usually lead to over packing, like the what ifs about the weather, dinner attire, and hotel toiletries. The best thing you can do for yourself is stick to black and white clothing. That way, you’ll have a suitcase full of clothes that are easy to mix and match, day or night. Other colors that are great for traveling are neutrals: gray, navy, khaki, beige, and ivory. Also, bring some clothes that don’t need ironing such as denim, knits, nylon, wool, and stretchy clothes such as leggings or anything made of Tencel®. These types of fabrics won’t look like death when you pull them out to wear. Fabrics that will wrinkle no matter how well you pack are linen, silk, and cotton.
Rule #2 Don’t Duplicate
Don’t be scared to only bring only one of each article of clothing (e.g. jeans, black pants, scarf, hat, sweater). We’re not talking about shirts and underwear, just the things you can wear more than once without washing. With the exception of a few remote places in the deep jungles of Asia or mountain villages in Africa, you’re most likely traveling to a place where people wash their clothes in washing machines. Worse comes to worse, your hotel can wash your stained pair of pants. We know that doing laundry in hotels can be pricy, but have you every paid overweight baggage charges at the airport?! As a rule of thumb, pack two pairs of undergarments and one top per day of travel, plus a couple extras of each.
Rule #3 Roll it Up
You could save a lot of room in your suitcase if you roll some of your clothes up, especially t-shirts, underwear, and socks. Surprisingly, this also helps fight wrinkles. A good strategy for pants and shorts is to fold them together so that they stay in one place and will stay relatively wrinkle-free once you need them.
Rule #4 Use Every Single Space Wisely
Especially for those of you traveling with only a carry-on, use the pockets of your clothing to pack socks and small items like beard grooming tools or a curling iron. You could also maximize your precious space with a flat toiletry bag that won’t add extra bulk, but instead will fit nicely among your folded clothing. Our Davidsbeenhere toiletry bag is durable, water-repellent, and fits more than your average cosmetics bag. It also comes in five different colors. If you’re planning on doing some damage in regards to shopping, but you don’t feel like lugging around another suitcase, take along a foldable duffel bag so that you won’t have to buy another suitcase while on vacation.There are hundreds of lightweight duffel bags available online.
Rule #5 Stay Fresh
There’s nothing worse than mixing your clean clothes with your dirty laundry. Most of us pack enough clothing to not have to wash during vacation, and arrive back home with a suitcase of clothes headed for the wash. Bring a laundry bag or plastic bag for dirty clothes. Another good tip for keeping your suitcase smelling clean is to tuck two or three scented dryer sheets between your clothes. If for some reason you need wash a few things at your hotel, pack a small Ziploc bag of powdered laundry detergent. Fill up the hotel sink with warm water, dissolve some detergent in the water, and let your clothes soak for a while. Rinse thoroughly and hang up in your hotel bathroom to dry. This works best for lightweight items such as cotton shirts, underwear, and socks.
More Travel Tips
- Keep your boarding passes in case you need to redeem your miles at a later date (airlines don’t always do it automatically)
- Pack a few extra plastic bags for small items, open cosmetics, or wet clothes
- Contact lens containers are great for storing globs of cosmetics
- Don’t, under any circumstance, pack cash or valuables in your carry-on luggage
- Pack a scarf or hooded sweater on the airplane in case there are no blankets, plus airport can sometimes be freezing
We suggest you check out this best backpack for travel post from Live Once Live Wild for more bag references.
Have any useful packing tricks or advice? We would love to hear from you! Leave us a comment below.