16 Tips and Expert Tricks for Perfectly Packed Luggage
While almost everybody gets happy to go on holiday, almost no one looks forward to packing beforehand. This dreaded duty is only made worse by the risk of crumpled clothes, overlooked items and broken gear when you reach your destination. Though, with the following tips from travel industry professionals, you’ll be a packing whiz in time for your upcoming trip.
Choosing a Bag
There are numerous types of luggage available, from rucksacks and carry-on bags to duffels and large rolling suitcases. Picking the right bag for your journey and your needs is crucial to achieving packing success.
Wendy Perrin, an editor of the travel-planning site WendyPerrin.com, speaks an over-the-shoulder bag is an excellent choice for a casual weekend getaway, although luggage that keeps clothes wrinkle-free is perfect for business travellers. These pointers will help you select your perfect travel bag.
- Skip interior compartments
Perrin selects a bag without a lot of sections or features on the inside, as they take up space and increase weight. “I want a vacant space that I can then pack with as much material as I want,” she says. Jimmy Hayes, the co-founder of bag and accessories firm Minaal, agrees. “Sections and additional pockets in your bag are working against you,” he speaks. “They increase weight and bulk. Go with something that has less lining and fewer pockets.”
- Say yes to exterior pockets
Samantha Brown, the host of the PBS show “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love,” speaks she favours pockets on the border. “I like organization, but it shouldn’t increase any bulk in a bag,” Brown says. Pockets on the bag’s exterior also make it easy to take something inside without having to open the entire bag in the airport.
- Opt for an expanding bag
A bag that increases can be a rescuer, according to Perrin. She uses an increasing bag as a carry-on on the way to her destination, then opens the additional compartment for her return trip to hold mementoes or additional new purchases. Perrin says she’ll check the bag if the expanded sizes exceed carry-on size limits. “It no longer matters if [the bag is] late because it’s the flight home,” Perrin quoted. “It’s safer and inexpensive than shipping your material home.”
What to Pack
Now that you’ve well thought-out which bag to bring, it’s time to choose which items to put inside it. Keep in mind that most airlines limit individually checked the bag to 50 pounds before charging extra baggage fees (on top of the original price, if there is one). Southwest Airlines is one airline that permits up to two free checked bags (weighing 50 pounds or less) per individual. You’ll want to check the policy for your specific air company before your flight. Experts chime in with more guidance, below.
- Assemble a “capsule collection”
Emirates cabin crew member Lauren Guilfoyle acclaims collecting what she calls a capsule collection of essentials like black pants, white jeans, neutral T-shirts and a denim jacket. These things are easy to mix and match and can be worn various times, so you won’t need to pack new clothing for each day.
- Wear bulky items on the plane
“Wear your bulkiest things on the plane to free up space in your baggage and keep you warm throughout travel,” Guilfoyle said. For instance, if you’re going to the beach, pack your flip-flops in your bag and wear your shoes on the aeroplane. You can also wear a light jacket or cardigan to help with changes in temperature on the aeroplane, in the airport and at your destination as a substitute for packing it in your baggage. Tie the jacket around your waist when you’re not wearing it to avoid carrying an extra item.
- Plan your outfits
Bobby Laurie, an ex flight attendant and present host of the televised travel talk show “The Jet Set,” mentions forecasting your outfits before packing. “Don’t be a final packer!” he says. “If you take time to plan your clothes based on your destination, you’ll be able to fit extra.” He mentions taking two pairs of jeans and several tops to wear with them for different looks.
- Bring a bag for laundry
Scott Keyes, the CEO and founder of travel website Scott’s Cheap Flights, recommends carrying a separate bag – even a trash bag – for dirty laundry. “[A trash bag] is simple, compresses super small and protects you from having to mix your clean and used clothes,” Keyes says.
It’s also a decent idea to see if your holiday rental or hotel has a guest washing area where you can wash clothes so you can minimalize the amount of clothes you need to pack. If it does, ask if the machines take credit cards (like Walt Disney World Resort’s washing amenities) or if you’ll need to pack coins. A travel-size container of laundry detergent and a few dryer sheets can also come in handy and save you a few cash.
- Get a compact power strip
For approximately $10, you can purchase a power strip the size of a cellphone, according to Keyes. “These come in handy in common occasions when you’ve got many devices but just one outlet,” he says. “They also confirm you’ll always have an outlet at the airport, as even if they’re all taken, most holidaymakers are happy to let you put your power strip into an outlet they’re previously using.”
Proven Packing Techniques
Once you determine what to pack, you’ll need to figure out how to fit all your holiday break necessities in one (possibly tiny) bag. Here’s what the professionals say you should do to pack efficiently.
- Roll your clothes
“Rolling your clothes helps to fit more and, if done right, helps to reduce wrinkles in the clothes you’ve packed,” Laurie says. You can even follow tidying expert Marie Kondo’s technique of folding clothes, which also includes rolling when stuffing your suitcase.
- Fill in empty spaces
Be certain to take full benefit of all the space within your bag. “Fill baggage gaps with socks, belts, intimates and hair tools to make a flat surface before placing down clothing,” Guilfoyle says. Likewise, Brown says she is always sure to fill the space created by the handle inside her carry-on with a scarf or camisole. For even more space, stick socks and other things inside your shoes.
- Pack phone chargers and other cords in one bag
“Cords are the one thing [that] end up all over the place when you’re travelling,” Laurie says. Huge collections of cords are even more probable to become lost and twisted quickly when you travel with various people. “Keep them organized and in a small container so that they don’t take up much space,” he says.
- Keep toiletries ready to go
To avoid the irritation of stuffing a toiletry bag every time you go on holiday, keep one in your closet filled with travel-size items. If you run out of an item on a trip, be certain to refill it as soon as you get home, so it’s prepared for your next retreat. “I have my toiletries for my travel, and they’re always in Ziploc bags in the carry-on in my closet,” Perrin says.
Helpful Tools and Gadgets
There is a collection of handy tools out there that can make the packing procedure less tense. These varieties from in-suitcase organizers to items as simple as a plastic zip-close bag. Take a look at the must-have’s experts to recommend.
- Use packing cubes
Many regular travellers like Brown swear by packing cubes, lightweight, zip-up squares that let you separate various types of clothing within your suitcase. Everyone can have their personal colour and pack intimates in one square, swimwear in another, socks in a third and shirts and pants, shorts or skirts in the last. Many cubes have handles, making them easy to pull out of your bag and place inside a guesthouse drawer.
- Buy a portable luggage scale
Rather than trying to balance your baggage on your bathroom scale, peg this minor reasonably priced device onto any bag to check its weight. When you’re finished, pack the gauge in your baggage so you can check the bag’s mass for your return flight as well.
- Pack a wrinkle-release fabric spray
Not a fan of ironing? Take a travel-size wrinkle-release spray with you. Just spray the fluid generously on garments while moderately stretching and smoothing the clothes to remove creases caused by stuffing.
- Carry zip-close bags
Perrin keeps things even simpler by separating items in basic resealable, plastic bags. “I put wet toiletries in one, dry in the other and socks in one,” Perrin says. “You can see the whole thing, and you’re organized. It takes up the least space and uses the least weight.”