Whether you travel regularly for business, or only on the rare vacation, packing can be a time-consuming headache. However, there are ways to pack strategically and avoid many of the common annoyances and pitfalls. You’ll find that these tips ultimately fall under the same theme: pack less! It saves you time, money, and frustration…what’s not to love?
Remember, you will be coming back.
The contents of your entire apartment should not be in your suitcase. For instance, don’t pack for every possible weather scenario, but rather bring clothes that layer. Choose clothing with basic colors that can all go together. Layers eliminate the need for bulky winter items that take up tons of room. Also, don’t feel like you should pack for every worst-case scenario; that will leave you with endless amounts of useless stuff. It’s better to buy a few things if you end up needing them.
Make it your goal to bring just one suitcase, then get creative. This will make your airport navigation much easier, and ensures there is less for you to forget when you’re packing up to leave. And if you are filling a small bag instead of a giant one, you’ll naturally end up bringing less.
When in doubt, leave it out.
Before you put anything into your suitcase, lay out all your would-be items to bring. For each one ask, “Do I really need this?” Keep in mind the purpose of your trip, as well as the amount of time you’ll be staying. You generally should not pack toiletries; you can buy them cheaply when you arrive, and you might not get through security with them anyway. And what if they leak in checked baggage? Bummer.
Use the tricks of the trade.
There are numerous packing tricks out there for making your stuff fit nicely into your suitcase: mesh packing cubes, clothes compressors, rolling clothes instead of folding them. If you absolutely need your puffy winter coat or your bulky hiking boots, wear them on the trip instead of packing them, and save your thin layers and flip-flops for the suitcase. Just remember, there’s no substitute for packing light!
As your prepare for your weekly commuter flight or your once-in-a-lifetime backpacking trip, remember that a successful trip begins with an empty suitcase. Fill it wisely and remember these handy tips as you organize and pack. Good luck and enjoy the ride!