Packing Perfection: Secrets for Stress-Free Suitcase Success
You might not be surprised to know I'm a bit obsessed with efficiency, and I love learning a new tip or two to make my next packing experience a bit easier.
Hopefully you caught this week's post about labeling the front of your family members' passports. I get a bit giddy when our passport labeling comes in handy and we're a tad less frazzled going through security.
To gather these packing tips, I asked others on my recent trip to Israel for their best advice and I put the question out on social media. And now I'm happy to share the top tips I heard with you.
BEFORE YOU GO
Perfecting the packing list
You can find many options for packing list apps and templates, but Stephanie swears by her home-made packing list in excel. With worksheets for type of trip and columns for each family member, these can be customized and then printed so everyone knows what they need. Empower your little ones to pack by giving them a checklist (you can always review their choices).
The other benefit to making a list is that ideally you won't fill your suitcase just because you have extra space once you've packed. Lay out what you need, then choose a bag accordingly. If there's extra space after you've packed what you need, hold on to those air pillows you receive inside shipping boxes and insert them on top to prevent clothing from shifting/wrinkling without adding any weight (thanks Gayle!).
Go-bags: toiletries and technology
My travel toiletry bag is always stocked. Travel size deodorant and toothpaste, travel toothbrush, and trial size creams and hair products live here. All I add is make-up. In fact, after using a bag that was free with purchase, I just invested in a bag that hangs in the hotel bathroom and has clear zippered areas so I can easily find what I need. This was SO helpful on my last trip. The old one went in the trash after too many years (one in, one out!).
I also have a technology go-bag that always has a cube, my phone charger, headphones (including the airplane kind), and one of those multi-chargers for any miscellaneous charging needs. This way I don't have to remember to pack one each time I travel.
PACKING YOUR SUITCASE
The number one travel tip I heard, and one I live by, is to use packing cubes (thanks Vicki). If you don't yet own these and the concept confuses you, think of them as stackable, breathable, organizing and space-maximizing bags. They making packing, organizing and especially unpacking at your destination super easy. You can organize by item type (think bathing suits, workout gear, undergarments) or by outfit (think complete bundled outfits or different bags for each hotel, etc.). I like the kind with a mesh side so that I can see what's inside.
If wrinkling isn't a worry and space is at a premium, compression bags may be the way to go for you. They store a bunch, and then expel air and roll up. You can also grab combo compression packing-cubes; they don't roll, but they have a double zipper to help save space.
Both of these items can be packed into a suitcase or a carry-on.
Rolling your clothes
Rolling vs Folding. The second most popular tip I heard was to roll your clothes (thanks Cassie!) to prevent wrinkling and maximize space. And this advice was from Kirsten at Organized and Orderly, "I roll most things, but will leave blouses or more formal tops in dry cleaning wrap and place them closer to the top with minimal folds."
I learned this tip from self.com. I usually use spare plastic bags for shoes, but I love the idea of using clear shower caps...one for each shoe. Keep everything clean and visible. So smart.
Stuff socks and other small, smush-able items into packed shoes.
Upgrading your sneakers? Wear the old pair to travel and then donate or discard before you head home. Same idea applies to underwear, without the donate option (thanks Sheila!)
Other suitcase tips
Invest in luggage that has 360 degree wheels. Put heavier items on the bottom of your suitcase to minimize the chance of it tipping (thanks again, Kirsten!). And consider packing a small laundry bag for each member of your family (thanks Stefie!).
CARRY-ON MUST HAVES
What to pack
Flying? Hopefully you already keep important documents and medication in your carry-on, in addition to a change of clothes. Other items to bring on the plane include a warm jacket that can be stuffed into a small bag, your technology go-bag, an empty reusable water bottle, and a pen. And, as advised by Cindy of Maven of Moderation, don't forget to pack healthy snacks. Airport food is rarely healthy, and definitely pricey!
Where to pack it
If you can, opt for a travel handbag or carry-on that slides onto the handle of your roller suitcase (thanks Alyssa!). As for a wallet, I use a smaller one for travel that only holds the essentials.
Whether you're a globetrotting pro or planning your first big adventure, packing can be a bit overwhelming. Hopefully these tips will help you maximize space, save time and ensuring that you don't leave any essential items behind. Eager to hear your best packing pointers too!
Photo credit: Pixabay