If we’re speaking on traveling terms, the way you pack your bag can say a lot about yourself. Some inexperienced travelers might wrestle big trunks or oversized suitcases packed to the brim, dragging them wherever they go.
On the other hand, more experienced globetrotters walk around more freely, with rolling bags designed to fit anywhere. There are also those thrifty travelers who pack their belongings in Duct-taped duffel bags that are older than democracy.
So yes, you can make judgments about travelers just by looking at their baggage, so we thought it would be a good idea to talk about optimal packing. This way, you’ll know where you stand in terms of organization!
Don’t forget to pack your peace of mind
You could be the most meticulous in selecting and sorting the right wardrobe, but you shouldn’t avoid the elephant in the room: What if your baggage is damaged or lost? The first step to packing like a savvy traveler is making sure you’re selecting a travel insurance plan that offers a Baggage Delay benefit.
This will reimburse you for essential items in case you’re separated for a minimum amount of time. Also, you could try the “Lost/ Damaged Bag benefit”, which will reimburse you for repairs and replacements. Trust me, you’ll feel more confident knowing that your bases are covered with travel insurance!
Everything that’s in the bag
It’s time to throw away the black suitcase with its broken zipper and frayed edges and go shopping for a more modern one. Did you know that luggage nowadays has divided sections, compression straps, 360-degree wheels, and even a digital tracking tag?
If you’re just planning to use a carry-on, you have to make sure it complies with airline carry-on rules. If you’re feeling extra courageous, and you want to skip any additional applicable baggage fees, you can also try packing everything you need in your carry-on. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either!
And if you succeed, you could find a way to save a lot of money on your future trips!
Consider compression bags
We should take a moment and enjoy the perks of advanced technology, as there are many companies that make plastic travel compression bags that help remove air from bulky clothing. There’s no vacuum cleaner needed because you just have to roll it.
Even though it’s ingenious, travelers’ reviews are mixed. Some believe this is the best way to pack a suitcase because you can pack way more stuff and use the bags to hold your dirty clothes on your way back.
EVEN MORE, you can wash those clothes just by adding water and soap and shaking the bag! On the other hand, others believe that compression bags will wrinkle thin fabrics, and will only make you end up with an overweight bag.
Practice the 1-2-3-4-5-6 rule
If you haven’t heard of this before, you’ll definitely enjoy it. Apparently, there’s a 1-2-3-4-5-6 rule you can try when it comes to packing for a week-long trip:
- 1 hat
- 2 pairs of shoes
- 3 pairs of pants or skirts
- 4 shirts
- 5 pairs of socks
- 6 sets of underwear
Naturally, the list can be modified according to your needs and the nature of your trip. For example, if you’re going on a business trip, you’ll need a different type of wardrobe than going on a cruise.
Or, perhaps, you’re a two-shirts-a-day person, in which case you’ll need to rearrange things a little bit. But it’s a good idea to start if you’re completely behind when it comes to packing!
Check your tags
Another tip you might not have been aware of, fabric matters a lot when it comes to packing for a trip. You can seek out the material that will resist wrinkling or stains, stays fresh-smelling after many wears, and dries really quickly.
If you’re taking your favorite sweater, for example, you should include some moisture-wicking attire. At some point, Tortuga Backpacks asked some experts for their best travel packing tips, and the answer was interesting.
Apparently, several of the mentioned fabric choices, such as lightweight merino wool for outerwear, SmartWool socks, and quick-dry synthetics for underwear, are a must-have when it comes to traveling. It’s good to know!
Choose a travel palette
Another ingenious idea is if you want to reduce the amount of clothing you take with you on your trips, you can stick to a strict color palette. Create a base of neutral colors, such as black and gray, and then choose one accent color, such as red and violet.
This way, you will be able to put together a week’s worth of different outfits from a bunch of basic pieces. Also, you can pack shoes that will complement every outfit you choose.
Of course, it depends on your preferences: if you love black, you can go for a full black wardrobe, but make sure it’s not too sunny where you’re going!
Perform a reality check
Two examples that will automatically speak for themselves: bringing rollerblades on cruise ships and packing bulky winter gear (such as snowshoes) when you only have 45 minutes to explore the Great Outdoors.
There are many relevant examples, but the conclusion is the same: your travel routine will most definitely mirror your home routine, so you need to pack accordingly. And by this, we don’t mean to nix the bathing suit if you think you’ll be getting in some therapeutic soaking in the hotel’s hot tub.
What we mean to say is that you should think twice before slipping stuff into your bag that you won’t use every day.
Roll, baby, roll
Rolling your clothes is an old trick that’s definitely one of the best-known suitcase-packing tips. Rolled clothes conserve a lot of space. Also, you reduce wrinkling and it’s easier to find clothes in your suitcase. Yes, it’s important to know HOW to roll them.
For example, if you want to turn your T-shirts into tidy cotton burritos, you could try the military roll technique. If you think this isn’t enough, we have one more tip for you.
According to travel blogger Michael Tieso, you can go one step further and put rubber bands around your clothes. This will definitely work!
Replace the material with digital
Why carry all that stuff with you when you can have it stored in a cloud on your tablet? I mean, books are bulky, but bytes definitely don’t weigh a thing.
If you’re bringing your phone with you (although I don’t really see how in 2021 you won’t), you can download maps, translation apps, travel guides, and reading material for your trip.
Basically, anything you could possibly need. The only thing that you cannot put in there is your travel documents. For the moment, you still need those in a physical format.
Of course, it’s a good idea to store digital copies of your passport on your phone, and you could also pack some printed versions as well.
Assemble activity kits
When we say activity kits, we don’t mean Mad Libs or invisible-ink puzzle books, although that would be pretty fun too. We’re talking about a way to pack your suitcase extremely efficiently. Keep everything organized while you travel by using smaller bags to separate clothes, depending on the occasion.
For example, you should use one kit for your swimming clothes, and a completely separate one for exercising, or for your pajamas. The same goes with your toiletries: your toothbrush and toothpaste in one place, and your night cream in another kit. This way, you’ll know exactly where to find everything!
None the worse for wear
If you’ve tried everything but nothing seems to stop that zipper on your bag from popping, there’s one more thing you can try. Take out your bulkiest clothing, whether it’s a blazer or a raincoat, and wear it while you embark on your plane.
This, of course, is for if the weather is permitting, otherwise, a wool coat isn’t such a good idea if you’re going to Miami. And if you’ve decided to try this, make sure you fill up those extra pockets, too. Don’t worry, the moment you arrive on the plane, you can take everything off, but this is a good tip to save up some extra space.
Take your suitcase for a test drive
So, do you think you’re going to win? I mean, do you REALLY think you’ve gotten your suitcase as light as possible? If you want to test it, carry your suitcase by the handle for a while. Roll it down the street, try lugging it up and down your stairs.
This way, you’ll see what it really feels like to actually travel with your bag. If you can’t carry it, or you feel completely exhausted and frustrated, or you’re simply afraid it might be overweight, you should consider lightening it a bit more.
If there’s something that we know for sure, it’s that it can get quite complicated, but it can also be fun! Tell us your experiences and tips with smart packing in the comments section!
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