As with anything, when it comes to packing, it’s no secret that practice tends to make perfect (or as perfect as you can get when you’re figuring out which of your belongings to throw in a bag). The more you do it, the easier it gets—but there’s no use suffering in the meantime. If I’m an expert on anything, it’s packing, and I have a laundry list of packing tips to share from my experiences.
Nothing can put a damper on a trip as quickly as a horribly packed bag can, and after a whole lot of trial and even more error, I’ve got my packing system down pat. From the perfect luggage to a cosmetic case I swear by, I’ve turned packing from something I dread into something I look forward to.
Ready to prepare for your next trip? We’ve got you covered with these expert-backed packing tips.
Make a packing list
If you do one thing before your trip, make it this. A few days before you really have to buckle down and start packing, write everything you need in your notes divided by category: clothing, toiletries, technology, important documents, random (specific for that trip). As you pack, check the items off one by one to avoid forgetting anything.
Invest in your luggage
This might sound obvious, but the significance is so important to remember. If you buy a cheap suitcase, the bottom line is that there’s a chance it might not survive the wear and tear that comes with travel. Think of your suitcase this way: When you travel constantly, your body feels tired and worn down, and the same goes for your suitcase. Rather than buying one you’ll need to replace in few years, spend the money on one you know is going to last now (it’ll save you money in the long run).
Pro tip: We all want the basic black, silver, or beige suitcase, but if you have the chance to get a color that’s different, do it! That way, when it comes out on the luggage carousel, you’ll immediately know it’s yours.
Utilize the magic of packing cubes
If you haven’t ever used packing cubes, you’re missing out on one of the easiest ways to make packing easier. Nowadays, they have cubes to pack your entire wardrobe, but in my experience, you only really need a large, medium, and small. I pack my underwear, bras, and socks into one and it’s made it so much easier to find my intimates (which are easy to lose in a suitcase). I also use others to keep together similar categories: layering tanks, workout attire, and even “remote working” supplies.
Don’t fold your clothes, roll them
While it’s instinctual to fold your clothes into your bag, rolling them can actually save a ton of space in your bag and ward off unnecessary wrinkles. Section off your clothes by genre (shirts, pants, etc.) and organize them based on piece. Then, not only will you save space, but you’ll also know exactly where all of your clothes are in your bag.
Furthermore, to avoid unnecessary crushing of delicate pieces like straw bags and embellished shoes, make sure to put all the heavier clothing items on the wheel side of your bag. That way, the more delicate pieces will be more secure in your bag.
Organize your jewelry
Jewelry can be a last-minute pack, but is something that should have a little forethought to it, as it can get easily damaged. I just started using a hardshell jewelry case and it has been amazing to have everything organized, and the peace of mind that it won’t get damaged. I have a small hardshell for my everyday jewelry: small hoops, gold rings, and an everyday watch. Then, I have another for those fun pieces you bring specifically for that Insta-worthy shot.
Consider a clear cosmetic case
Once I became a clear cosmetic case convert, I don’t know how I ever traveled without one. Not only does it allow you to see everything you have in your bag so you can easily grab what you’re looking for, but it also makes security far more seamless.
A clear case will also help any leakage or spillage that happens since it can easily be rinsed out with no evidence left behind.
Wear slip-on shoes
When heading to the airport, I always travel in a pair of workout sneakers that are an easy “get on, get off” situation. While sandals would technically be the easiest to take on and off, you probably don’t want bare feet in an airport. Instead, opt for a slip-on pair of sneakers that you don’t have to tie for the most efficient footwear option.
Don’t forget a laundry bag
The last thing you want is to mix up your clean pieces with your dirty. Bring a laundry bag so when you get home, it’s an easy pour into your washer. Don’t have one or forgot one? Keep any of your souvenir bags and use one of those!