How to Pack Smartly
Plan and Research - The weeks leading up to your trip can be hectic, but taking the time to plan and research will help your vacation run like clockwork.
- Weather: Check the forecast for your destination. For cooler temperatures, pack layers rather than bulky sweaters and jackets. Cumbersome items like umbrellas are sold anywhere, and are cheap enough that you can leave them behind when you depart.
- Activities: Consider what you'll be doing on your trip. If your itinerary is skewed toward museums and lots of walking, leave your dress clothes behind. Heels are probably impractical anyway when trying to navigate uneven cobblestone streets.
- Material: Choose knits, wools, and cottons, as these fabrics generally won't wrinkle and can serve multiple purposes, like yoga pants that double as pajamas.
- Quantity: It's unlikely that everything you've chosen will fit into your suitcase, so spread out what you want to take and evaluate. Make a smaller pile of double-duty items like clothespins, which can be used to hang garments or pin drapes. Even for longer trips it's usually a good idea to not pack more than a week's worth of clothes. You can always hand-wash your clothes or pay for them to be laundered.
Tools - Never underestimate the power of tools to maximize your packing.
- A list: How will it help? Allow us to answer that in list form:
- You won't forget an item again - unless, of course, you forget to add it to the list!
- Avoiding last-minute packing panic. Do you have your toothbrush? Check. Your ID? Check. Your sanity? Double check.
- Filing a claim with an airline. If your airline loses your luggage, having a list of the items you packed will help you apply for reimbursement.
- Repacking for home. If you have your list with you, you won't get home and realize that you left your lucky shirt back at the hotel.
- Sealable plastic bags: These things can do it all! They'll contain liquid items that may break or spill, protect the contents of your suitcase from rain, isolate dirty or wet items, or keep your important documents together.
Method - How you pack can be as important as what you pack.
- Roll or fold? Both! Rolling softer garments, like T-shirts, keeps them from wrinkling and helps you maximize space. Fold stiff or bulky items, like starched shirts, jeans, or sweaters.
- Layering: Pack your shoes and heaviest items first, so when your suitcase is upright it will be easier to roll. Next will go your rolled shirts, then the folded items. Arrange the clothes you'll need first on top. Coil belts around the perimeter of your suitcase.
Why Pack Light?
- If your bag isn't overstuffed, your clothes won't wrinkle as much.
- Avoid excess baggage fees.
- The destination — not the awkward heft of your suitcase - should determine your experience.
- There are perfectly delightful accommodations all over the world, but not all of them have wide elevators — or even elevators at all!
- You can fill that extra space with souvenirs.
Overwhelmed with packing? Check out our handy Travel Packing Checklist to help keep you sane and organized!