Whether you’ve got a fall vacation coming up or a trip booked for the holiday season, mastering the art of efficient travel packing is a skill we could all benefit from. If you want to save space in your suitcase and take the stress from the packing process, check out these 10 proven hacks for packing smarter and lighter:
10. Use a Fold Up Toiletry Bag
Toiletries can take up a surprising amount of space in your luggage. Our advice? Invest in a good quality fold-up toiletry bag to put them in. With individual compartments and a handy hook on top, you can keep everything organized and compact, and be able to hang it up when you get to your destination, too – saving space in the bathroom as well as your suitcase.
9. Pack Hats Properly
Remember when we suggested you pack your shoes full of clothes? Consider doing something similar with any hats you’re taking abroad. The added benefit of packing your hats full of clothes is that they won’t get crushed in the suitcase. They’ll keep their shape much better throughout the journey.
8. Take a Portable Washing Machine
Yep, it’s a thing! But it’s not really a washing machine. These clever items are more like waterproof bags with inner washboards. You put your dirty laundry inside, fill it with water, add detergent, and then rub everything together. Some of them, like “The Scrubba,” are super compact, so take up minimal space in your suitcase.
It’s an effective way to wash clothes on the go, which means you should be able to take fewer clothes with you on vacation. Of course, having a laundry service or actual washing machine at your accommodation has the same benefit!
7. Pack With Versatility in Mind
Another way to cut down on the clothes you take is to invest in “multi-functional” garments. For example, some dresses these days can be worn as a long skirt, a mini skirt, a long tube dress, and even a top – that’s four functions in a single item of clothing! Similarly, your beach pareo could also be a scarf, padded tank tops remove the need for bras, and so on and so forth.
6. Take a Smaller Suitcase
Most people make the mistake of starting with everything they want to pack and finding a suitcase big enough to fit it all into. We recommend the opposite approach. Pick your case first, then pack according to how much space you have available.
Fact: if you have a big suitcase, you will find a way to fill it! Conversely, if you have a small one, you have no choice but to be cut-throat with what you take and leave behind. It forces you to take less, which should – in theory – make it easier to pack.
5. Wear Your Heaviest Gear
One of the most effective “packing hacks” is really about how to dress for the journey. Your heaviest and thickest items? Wear them on the journey. It’ll make it ten times easier to fit everything in your suitcase. If you’re worried about comfort or aesthetics, simply take a smaller bag that you can put them in when you take everything off on the plane!
4. Leverage Your Shoes
Taking shoes or boots with you? Well, those big old holes where your feet go sure look like a good place to stash some stuff. You could pack your socks in there, for instance. Or put any fragile items inside. That way, you’ll save space and give them extra protection for the journey.
3. Roll Your Clothes Properly
As we just noted, rolling your clothes is a good way to save space. But it’s important to do it effectively. Don’t, and this step can backfire by taking up more room in your suitcase than just folding everything. One of the best resources we’ve come across for how to roll things to their full space-saving potential is this video. Give it a watch!
2. Put Clothes in Ziploc Bags
Don’t just fling your clothes straight into the suitcase (or packing cubes). Don’t just fold them up and place them neatly inside, either. First, roll up your clothes and then put them in Ziploc bags. You can then squeeze those bags to get all the air out before sealing them shut. It’s a super effective way to compress everything.
1. Use Packing Cubes
First thing’s first: get some packing cubes. These clever storage pouches come in different sizes and colors and keep everything you take incredibly well-organized. Instead of a tangled mess of clothes and items in your suitcase, you have a neat, tidy selection of individual “cubes.” This helps you find what you need in a hurry. It also makes it easier to fit everything in.
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