Looking to pack light for your next trip? Here are the best tips on how to pack a suitcase efficiently.
Packing light will save you time and money. Not only will you breeze past the luggage belt and on to your adventure, but your load will be a lot less heavy for those long treks from the airport terminal to your final destination. You will also be able to chase down that train that always seems to leave annoyingly on time, with ease.
As a former over-packer, I always recall regretting my decision to overpack. It’s much less stressful to have one light back to run around with. And with a lot less stuff to keep track of, you are much less likely to lose anything. Here’s how.
This post is all about the best tips on how to pack a suitcase efficiently.
Best Tips On How To Pack A Suitcase Efficiently
How To Pack A Suitcase For A Week
1. Choosing what to pack is a very personal decision. Everyone has their own idea of comfort and style. The Golden Rule here is to NOT go through your things and pack what you THINK you’ll need. Make a list of must-haves, and STICK TO IT. Choose clothes that are travel friendly (read: wrinkle-free), and only pack the following:
- 2-3 pairs of shoes/sandals. If you need to bring boots, wear them to the airport.
- 3 pairs of socks and underwear.
- 4 outfits (this includes one dress for the ladies) – mix and match separately.
- One pair of pajamas.
- A lightweight jacket (depending on the time of year).
2. You can do laundry on the road! Most accommodations will have either laundry facilities at the site or nearby. Forget the unnecessary stuff – only take what you absolutely need! This is the art of travel and packing light. Ladies: unless you are going to a big fancy event, take only one set of your most basic jewelry and leave the rest at home.
3. Look at the weather report and pack accordingly. Plan outfits and bring only those items that you can mix and match with other items. By doing this, you can essentially turn four outfits into eight.
Pro Tip: The ‘what if’ game will get you in trouble. If you are asking yourself, “but what if I’ll need this?” Trust me, you won’t. On the off-chance you do need it, you can buy it at your destination.
How To Pack A Suitcase To Maximize Space
4. There are generally two schools of thought: packing cubes vs. rolling your clothes. Using cubes will limit the amount of clothing you can take while also saving precious space for any other necessities. Either works well, it just depends on your preference.
Pro Tip: There are generally two schools of thought: packing cubes vs. rolling your clothes. Using cubes will limit the amount of clothing you can take while also saving precious space for any other necessities. Either works well, it just depends on your preference.
5. If you decide to go the rolling clothes route, fold over each item of clothing and roll everything into a tight roll. It saves on space and your clothes come out of the bagless wrinkled than if you were to just fold them nicely.
6. Use every inch of space in your bag. Put socks, underwear, swimsuits, belts…anything that will fig snugly into your shoes or corners to save space. For cold-weather trips, don’t pack thick and heavy clothes – opt for lightweight and technical clothing. Include a pair of leggings or thick tights to go under pants and skirts for added warmth. Merino is a great fabric for colder weather.
Packing Suitcase Hacks
7. Leave big bottles at home! Use TSA-approved travel-size bottles in a large zip-lock bag for ALL of your shampoos/lotions/makeup. If you can get any toiletry at your destination, don’t pack it before you go!
8. Don’t pack soap – there is nowhere on this Earth where you cannot acquire soap at your destination. As far as medications go, take only the essentials and leave the “just in case” at home. Anything you suddenly need can be acquired on the road unless you journey to outer Mongolia.
9. Pack a lightweight, reusable water bottle. Leave your large purse or wallet at home, bring a smaller fold-over wallet or small zippered pouch with pockets to carry your money, credit cards, etc.
10. Electronics: the most you should take is your phone, camera, and ONE other device such as an iPad or laptop. Pack them safely away from your toiletries in case of leakage. A backpack with pockets designed for electronics is ideal as a carry-on.
Best Carry-On Bag Or Roll-On Luggage
11. Consider the type and length of trip you are making. This will have a big impact on what type of luggage you should use. Whether it’s a smaller roller bag, a large backpack, a duffle bag, or something similar. Also consider how large it needs to be, based on your needs. Just make sure it is small enough to use as a carry-on.
12. Remember: Airlines will allow one carry-on and one personal item. Make that personal item a larger purse, tote, or a small backpack to carry those extra needed items that just won’t fit in your main bag.
Bonus Tips From Travelers Who Know
13. Wear any bulky clothes to the airport. Layer if you must, you can always tie that big sweater or coat around your waist if you need to shed a layer.
14. Jeans are NOT your packing friend – they do not pack well! Only take one pair with you if you must, and wear them instead of packing them.
15. Don’t pack your bulky electric toothbrush and charger – get a travel electric toothbrush, instead. Most models run on batteries and come with a sealed cover.
16. Share some of your toiletries with your travel partner(s) or buy them when you get there.
17. Ladies – don’t pack your nail bar – treat yourself to a mani-pedi while you’re away!
18. Check if your accommodation provides hair dryers in the room. If not, consider buying a travel-sized hairdryer.
19. Don’t take your BIG headphones, use earbuds instead. They make them really high-quality these days!
This post was all about how to pack a suitcase efficiently.