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Packing Tips: 10 Ways to Pack Smart for All Occasions

It's time to take the stress out of packing

As enjoyable as it is to take a trip, traveling can be stressful. All the lines, logistics, and, most of all, the need to lug around your stuff can make even the most relaxing vacation a headache. Packing smart can help put your mind at ease, prevent hassle, and save you time.

There are few things worse than getting off a long, uncomfortable flight and having to wait for your luggage at baggage claim — except maybe opening your bag and finding your bottle of shampoo exploded all over your nicest pair of shoes. With a little forethought about how to pack your bags, you can avoid potential pitfalls and save money by only checking one bag. Here are ten packing tips to help take the stress out of traveling.

1. Buy the Right Bag

Packing smart starts with a strong foundation, as Prolific Living explains. Do your research and find the best luggage to match your traveling needs, be it a backpack or a roll-on. Well designed bags that are lightweight with multiple compartments are a great starting place to get you packing in a stress-free and organized way.

2. Lay Out Everything

Laying out everything you plan on bringing will give you a visual idea of just how much it really is. Organizing your things into categories can help you pack appropriately. If you have more outfits than days you’ll be gone, consider leaving a few of the items at home.

3. One Base Color for Wardrobe

For the fashion-aware, stick with solid colors for your selected wardrobe. That way, you have flexibility to mix and match your outfits — and who doesn’t like options?

4. Roll Your Clothes

Forget folding — rolling your clothes will save you space and keep your items from wrinkling.

5. Pack Less if You Plan on Shopping

This may go without saying, but if you plan on shopping at your destination, leave some room for your newly acquired items. You don’t want to get charged for overshooting the weight limit on a checked bag. If you’re likely to bring easily replaced items ‘just in case,’ remember that you can find a lot of essentials at a convenience store.

6. If It Can Leak, Assume It Will

Put any liquids or gels in plastic Ziploc bags to protect everything else in you pack. The pressure in airplanes and rough baggage handlers could leave your clothes covered in toothpaste and shaving cream.

7. Know Where You’re Going

This sounds straightforward, but doing a little research and knowing about your destination will help you make the right packing decisions. Look up the weather forecast, anticipate your activities, and pack accordingly.

8. Don’t Leave Any Empty Space in Your Bag

Unless, of course, you plan on shopping. Think of packing like a game of Tetris and fill up every little nook and cranny. Shoes make a great storage space for socks.

9. Bring Items You Can Easily Wash by Hand

The easier the clothes are to wash by hand, the less you need to bring. Just a few articles can last you indefinitely if you don’t mind doing a little bit of laundry the old-fashioned way.

10. Wear Your Biggest Items

On your day of travel, wear the heaviest items you brought to free up room in your bag and avoid the fee of a too-heavy suitcase. If you get too hot on the plane, just use your jacket or sweater as a pillow. And don’t forget to wear layers, since you never really know what the weather is going to do.

(Main image credit: Les Haines/flickr)