I am very type-A when it comes to packing. I must have things SO organized and always want to have lots of room to shop, so I never over pack. I have gotten pretty good at packing and wanted to share my travel packing hacks with you!
Other Packing + Flying Guides:
17 Travel Packing Hacks
1. When going carry-on, wear the heavy thing as part of your travel outfit
Kind of common sense, but if you’re taking boots or sneakers wear them on the flight. Keep your jacket with you on the flight (not in your carry-on). Just those two things take so much space in a rolling carry-on bag. Taking a sweater? Wear it at the airport. It’s cold anyway!
Turkish towel, lungi, sarong, whatever you want to bring… bring two! They are amazing for travel. You can cover up on a flight, in a cold airport, cover your shoulders at religious monuments, and use them at the pool and beach. I can’t go anywhere without my Indian lungis.
3. Leave the hair tools at home
I know some people think they need curlers and straighteners, but I swear natural hair always looks so nice. Instead of that, try out surf spray. My favorite is the Bumble & Bumble travel size. What I do is spray it on flip my hair upside down and put it in a loose bun. I just sleep like that. It saves me so much time to never have to do my hair.
4. PACKING CUBES
I cannot believe I only got ebags packing cubes this summer! It’s INSANE how much I love them. I actually have two sets so that I can organize even better. Once you try these, you’ll never be able to pack without them.
5. Use the KonMari Method for Organizing
You can use this even without packing cubes! Marie recommends a very specific way of folding so you’re not stacking everything on top of each other and can see each piece of folding. I wrote a whole guide on how to apply her famous book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, so check here on how to use KonMari for packing.
6. Keep your shoes enclosed
I cannot bear to see dirty travel shoes thrown into luggage. I use old cotton purse bags (the bags that purses come in when you buy them). I use the same for my dirty laundry. When the trip is over I turn them inside out and wash them with the rest of the laundry.
Don’t have anything for your shoes and got them all muddy? Take a couple shower caps from the hotel bathroom and put your shoes in them.
7. PLAN your outfits
I used to just pack all my favorite things: my favorite jeans, shorts, few favorite tanks tops, favorite dresses…. etc. But I would forget the tank top I needed for a certain top or the slip that came with a dress. It was annoying. I ALWAYS set each outfit out now when it’s a 10 day or less trip. Here’s an example of packing for 10 days in Jordan. When I go for a month I set out enough for 10 days then do mix and match
- Try to stick to a color scheme to make it easier (notice my neutral color scheme for Morocco)
- Never take something you “might” wear that you’ve never worn before
8. Use my beauty travel hacks
I wrote a post about all my beauty travel hacks and put all my favorite tiny makeups and how to get free perfume to travel with. Check it out: travel beauty hacks, so you can see how to take fewer toiletries and keep your luggage fresh!
9. Extra purses…
I try not to take an extra purse, but often want to so I can have a variety of color. If you take a very soft leather bag just flatten it. If you are taking a structured bag it is best to fill it with things and let it take up space. I usually put in my extra sunglasses, and toiletries that won’t fit in my toiletry bag (usually mini shampoo and conditioner).
10. Don’t pack soap
I used to take either a mini shower gel or a bar of soap inside a plastic baggie. But, now I just don’t bother. Every hotel I have stayed at has soap! The only time I take some now is when I’m traveling in India in the mountains or staying at homestays. I mean, if I were to camp, I’d take soap haha but that hasn’t happened in a while.
11. Deal with your cords and chargers
Don’t just throw these in please :) Especially with Mac chargers, it’s very important to treat them well as they are known for breaking at the seam of the cord to that big white surge protector on the cord. You should also wrap up your cords gently and store them.
I use a cute Indian bag I have or sometimes a small packing cube. I keep all my tech stuff in one small bag. PS if your charger is starting to come apart at the plastic covering the wires use the rubber self-setting goo I’ve tried on my old charger! You just wrap it around the cord where it’s breaking and leave it to set for a few minutes. It works like a charm and is really cheap. I take a small squeezy of it in my tech kit.
12. Start with lightweight luggage
The best way to prevent paying overweight fees is to start with luggage that’s lightweight. IT Luggage is one of the most lightweight out there and I can vouch it’s really good luggage. Old luggage your grandparents passed down might as well be thrown out, it’s SO heavy! I love my Delsey the most but I also have a list of 10 different brands if you want to compare. You might also want to use a backpack instead, in which case here’s a post to compare suitcases and backpacks.
I look for lightweight luggage, that looks good, is expandable, has 4-wheel spinners, and the design has taken organization into account.
13. Liquids stay together
I know you might want to put your mini contact solution and lotion in your purse, maybe some face wash and face lotion to freshen up in the side pocket of your carry-on… but at the security line, it’s a pain to not have things together and easily accessible. Think about these things while you are packing to save stress and annoyance.
14. Laptop safety
You shouldn’t put your laptop in a soft carry-on bag and throw it up in the overhead bins. People aren’t careful when they put their things up and turbulence can cause things to move and fall when they open. I have a Delsey 19 inch carry-on hardshell that has a special place for laptops. Of all the carry-on luggage I’ve ever had, this is the BEST I’ve ever found and if it ever breaks, I’ll be re-buying it.
15. The heavy things go near the wheels
When you pack your bag lying down, you may not keep in mind what will happen when you stand it up on the wheels. Keep the heavy things near the wheels and even angle things to stay upright when it’s rolling, and no upside down.
16. Invest in a luggage scale
I fly at least a couple of times a month. I use my little luggage scale every single time. It’s so easy to just slip the hook on your luggage, lift the luggage up, and see exactly the weight rather than stand on a scale and weigh it and subtract your own weight. You could be a couple of pounds off doing it that way, whereas this scale is exact. I have an old school one, but they make electronic ones now.
17. Keep necklaces untangled
The hack you see on Pinterest of putting your necklaces through a straw? It actually works. I usually only bring one necklace and do this for it. If you have a few you travel with, it’s a great option!
That’s my travel packing hacks! Want to know what products I’m packing using all these tips? I have a whole section on the blog for packing tips. Just click here to see a list of articles I’ve written like my favorite camera bags for travel or where I shop for my travel clothes. There are probably a hundred articles on packing, including specific lists for certain destinations.
Are you prepping for a big trip around the world? Check out these other tips:
- How to plan a trip from scratch without any stress with my step by step guide
- Read this article about what is and isn’t included in the world’s most popular travel insurance.
- Check if you need visas for where you are going and don’t leave home without them.
- Use my tips for booking a flight to get the best deal available.
- If you want to travel using Airbnb, make an account with this link to get $40 off your first stay!
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