You’ve booked the flight, called up all your friends in the destination city, and set aside plenty of money to spend on souvenirs. However exciting traveling is, it can lead to some serious packing dilemmas seemingly without a solution in sight.
If my father has taught me anything, it’s how to pack. He calls himself “The Pack Master” and is seriously impressive at living out of a carry-on for a week. Here’s a list of packing tips, some inspired by my father and some imparted by other packing experts, all completely necessary to embark on a successful trip.
1. Smart Shoe Choices
This seems like every woman’s dilemma. It can be hard to pare it down, but be realistic about what you’ll wear during your travels. I can’t stress it enough. You should pack your most comfortable shoes and wear your bulkiest pair on the plane. It’ll save you tons of room.
2. Protective Packing for Toiletries
Every time I travel, I pack a few extra gallon-size Ziploc bags. Putting all your toiletries and wet items into one of these will prevent the rest of your luggage from getting damp and minimize the risk of something bursting in your bag and ruining your clothes.
3. Jewelry Hassles, Solved!
Expert travelers suggest running one side of your necklace through a straw, then attaching the two ends, preventing knots altogether (see the photo above). You can use buttons or a piece of card stock to stick earrings through so you don’t lose them. Loop bracelets around a pair of socks or a sweater if you’re worried those will also get tangled.
4. Beauty Essentials with Liquid Limits.
Packing your toiletries in a carry-on is a great way to minimize the risk of feeling gross for a few days if your luggage gets lost. Make a run to the Nordstrom fragrance counter and ask for a few samples of perfume. You can last a few days without your Moroccanoil, so head to Target and buy those $1 travel-size containers of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. These will save you serious luggage space.
5. Efficient Electronics Handling.
When going through security, your laptop will need to lie flat and stand alone on the conveyor belt. Other electronics like phones, cameras, and iPads should be placed separately in a bin. Minimize the time it takes you to get through security by purchasing a carry-on bag with a detachable laptop sleeve. My father says there’s nothing experienced travelers hate more than a person who holds up the entire security line, so put all your electronics in an easy-to-access compartment.
6. Wrinkle-Prone Clothing Hacks.
Take two articles of clothing and fold/roll them together, creating more cushioning and preventing deep creases. If you have delicate fabrics like organza, silk, or chiffon, hang them in the bathroom while you take a steamy shower to ease the appearance of wrinkles.
7. Stay Warm on the Plane.
If you abide by one packing rule, abide by this one: Wear your heaviest clothing on the plane and layer, layer, layer. It’ll free up room in your suitcase and you can never go wrong with layers on a plane. They’re fashionable and will keep you warm when the airline’s blankets don’t cut it.
8. Souvenirs and Alcohol Considerations.
Wrap souvenirs like shot glasses and plates in items like socks and sweatshirts. Be wary of bringing home alcohol. Sometimes, it’s cheaper to ship home your wine or pieces of art, as opposed to trying to lug them home. If alcohol is more than 3.4oz, you’ll need to pack it in a checked bag. Be aware that there are restrictions on how much alcohol you can pack. Check out the official TSA rules and regulations.
9. TSA Regulations and Overpacking.
If it were up to me, there would be no carry-on limit. But alas, TSA regulations exist, and packing smart makes all the difference. This tip should help you pack a suitcase with a lot of clothes. Rolling clothes rather than folding them will save room. Put items like shoes at the bottom of your suitcase and stuff them full with socks, underwear, etc. Wear all your bulkiest items and feel free to take advantage of the rules by lugging your biggest tote bag on the plane, instead of a teeny crossbody.