For experienced travellers, these tips might seem like old news, but for those just hitting the road, these helpful tricks might make a major difference when it comes to fitting those last few essential pieces into your luggage. You may think you’re a light traveller but is that because you’ve forgotten important items? Here are a few tips to help you be the most proficient packer possible.
1. Rolling your clothes rather than folding them makes a world of a difference when it comes to space. The thing to remember here is that just because you have the room doesn't mean you should bring more stuff. Sometimes that extra space that you leave with is the perfect amount of room for all those new things you will buy abroad.
2. To keep your clothes from smelling like old suitcase or worse, throw a fresh dryer sheet or two in the middle of your luggage.
3. Think about what you’re actually going to wear, versus what you wish you were going to wear or what Pinterest says you should wear. Unless you are going to fashion week, or it’s your duty to look fashionable (models off-duty?), travelling is about seeing the world, not the world seeing you. Forget those five-inch heels and opt for cute and comfy sandals that you can walk the city in. Ditch the dry clean only golden sequin dress in exchange for an equally cute jersey dress that you can wear multiple different ways. It also is important to note any cultural restrictions on clothing so that you don’t offend anyone or draw unwanted attention to yourself. Choose more conservative and loose fitting clothes, as other cultures may hold different standards of dress code than your home country.
4. To keep your shoes from getting the rest of your clothes dirty, pack them in shower caps you get from hotels or grocery store plastic bags.
5. Always trying to utilize space, tuck your underwear and socks into your sneakers and boots, those are just empty spaces waiting to be filled!
6. If you’re bringing toiletries like shampoo, conditioner or any other liquefied product, make sure to pack them in their own sealed plastic bag, like a Ziploc. The pressure change can cause the tops to pop and if you aren't careful, when you pick up your bag, you won’t be pleased with the gooey mess. Another trick is to put a layer of plastic wrap underneath the cap for extra protection against explosions.
7. Do not mark your bag as fragile, because although you wish it meant that your bag would be handled with care and a more gentle hand, or you’ve heard that this means it comes off the plane sooner, you are only putting your belongings in danger! Baggage handlers see your fragile label and take that as a challenge for who can throw the bag the hardest.
8. When it comes to packing a towel, opt for the new micro fiber options that are on the market these days. Although they don’t share the same satisfying fluffiness as a regular towel, they will take up far less room and dry much faster, so no need to worry about wet towel smell.
9. If you aren't backpacking, it is highly recommended to invest in a solid suitcase with wheels. As much as duffel bags allow you the freedom to fit odd shaped items into your luggage, it is just as easy for odd shaped items to damage your luggage from the outside. Your bags are getting tossed around by the baggage crew, experiencing turbulence while in flight and then finds its way back to clambering down the conveyor belt all the way down to the baggage claim. Solid walls will not only help your belongings inside last longer, but your suitcase’s life will also be extended. The wheels give you shoulders and back a rest while also giving your bag lasting endurance because it isn’t wearing on the handles.
10. Be careful when locking your luggage. Certain countries will cut through your padlock as a part of their customs protocol, so it’s important to make sure that if you are traveling abroad, check ahead to see what kind of TSA security that country practices so that you can equip your luggage with the appropriate lock system.
11. When a flight is completely full, some airlines offer special privileges to those willing to check their carry-on, as this opens up more space in the overhead compartments. If you don’t need the items in your carry-on during the flight, then take advantage of this service, and in return certain airlines may offer you expedited check in after the first class passengers are checked in, and it not only relinquishes your need to fight for storage space, but it makes your life much easier when deplaning as you simply walk over to the baggage claim for your belongings.