1. Less is More
It may seem like a no-brainer, but simply choosing a smaller suitcase or travel bag will force you to cut down on unnecessary items. Travel bloggers Toni and Meg Rulli suggest buying a bag 10-20% smaller than what you think you’ll actually need to account for a little expansion. This is a great way to avoid the last-minute struggle to fit your over-stuffed bag in the overhead compartment on the flight.
2. Make a List
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Before you head out on your vacation, make sure you check the scheduled weather forecast for your destination. This will help you decide what items are really necessary so you don’t end up lugging that heavy jacket to a place that will be 75° all week. Make a list of all the items you think you will need for your vacation, then…
3. Cut It Out
Try to cut out 15-20% of your list, starting with the heaviest items first. It helps to go through each item and think, “Will I really need this?” Chances are you won’t end up wearing all 12 shirts you bring anyway.
4. Style Strategy
(Photo Credit: Mojan Sami)
Blogger Mojan Sami suggests planning an outfit itinerary to make sure you bring exactly what clothes you’ll need based on your planned activities and the weather. It’s an awesome way to avoid over-packing and to stay organized throughout your trip, helping you to spend less time getting ready and more time for fun activities!
5. Versatility is Key
However, if the idea of planning even your outfits ahead of time makes you panic, don’t worry! Try bringing versatile items (i.e., similar color palettes, neutrals, and patterns that mix and match well) so you can plan on the go without bringing your entire wardrobe. Audrey at Putting Me Together has a great guide here.
Bonus: Stick to lightweight fabrics, which will allow you to have more options without the extra bulk.
6. Think on Your Feet
Along with packing clothes that you can mix and match, try to limit yourself to 2-3 practical pairs of shoes that you can pair with any of your outfits. Shoes generally take up the most space in your luggage (and they’re heavy!) so wear your largest pair (sneakers, boots, etc.) while you travel to save space.
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Rely on accessories to switch up your style on the go—they’re lightweight and can take an outfit from sightseeing to happy hour in seconds. Scarves, jewelry, and hats are awesome options that won’t weigh your bag down!
8. Lay It Out
It’s much easier to tell if you have one too many tops when you can see them all at the same time. So once you choose which items you are bringing, lay everything out in front of you for the final test—see if there are any last minute items you can take out comfortably.
9. Roll It Up
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(Photo Credit: WISH)
Rolling your clothes not only reduces wrinkles, but it gives you more space than folding and creates even levels of clothes so you never have to worry about lumpy, bumpy luggage again.
10. Perfectly Pint-Sized
Whether you’re checking your bag, carrying it on, or squeezing it in your trunk with four others, using travel size containers for toiletries will make traveling so much easier.
11. Laundry Day…On-The-Go
Only pack enough clothing for half your trip, and plan to do a little bit of laundry along the way. Dropps Mini Detergent Pacs are the perfect size for travel loads. You can hand-wash your favorites in the sink (just run the pac under water until it dissolves) or visit a local laundromat for a longer stay.
Bonus: Dropps’ new Free Trial Kits contain little pouches of detergent pacs perfect for traveling!
12. Ditch the Books
It’s tempting to bring along some of your favorite summer reads for all that downtime, but in reality, you probably won’t spend as much time reading as you think. Whether you visit a big city, a beach, or the mountains, there will be plenty of sightseeing and fun activities to keep you busy the whole time!
13. Balancing Act
Place your heaviest items, like shoes, near the wheels of your bag so it doesn’t tip over when upright. Stuff smaller items, like socks, underwear, and charging cords into your shoes to make the most of open space. Lastly, if you are flying with a carry-on, make sure you review TSA guidelines and keep your toiletries near the top of your luggage to get through security swiftly.
14. Layer Up
Wear your bulkiest items during travel so they don’t take up room in your luggage. Layering is always a good idea for chilly planes, but if you get too warm, you can always take off a layer or two and stow them away in the overhead compartments.
15. Keep Personals on Hand
Last, but not least, always keep your personal items (i.e., phone, ID, cash, cards, etc.) close by. Keeping them in separate compartments helps to avoid every traveler’s worse nightmare, and allows you to get through airport security painlessly.