As with anything, when it comes to packing, it’s no secret that practice tends to be perfect (or as perfect as you can get when you’re figuring out which items to put in the bag). The more you do it, the easier it gets—but there’s no point in suffering in the meantime. If I’m an expert at anything, it’s packers, and I have a list of packing tips to share from my experience.
Nothing puts a damper on travel as fast as a horribly packed bag, and after a lot of trial and error and even more mistakes, I got my packing system. From the perfect suitcase to the cosmetic box I believe in, I’ve transformed packing from something I dreaded to something I look forward to.
Ready to prepare for your next trip? We’ve got you covered with these expert-backed packing tips.
Make a packing list
If you do one thing before your trip, make it this. A few days before you really need to fasten your seatbelt and start packing, write everything you need in your notebook divided by category: clothes, toiletries, technology, important paperwork, random (that’s just for the trip). As you pack, check items one by one to avoid forgetting anything.
Invest your luggage
This may sound obvious, but its significance is very important to remember. If you’re buying cheap luggage, the bottom line is there’s a good chance it won’t withstand the wear and tear that comes with traveling. Think of your suitcase this way: When you travel constantly, your body feels tired and exhausted, and the same goes for your suitcase. Instead of buying one you will have to replace in a few years, spend money on one you know will last now (this will save you money in the long run).
Professional tips: We all want a basic black, silver, or beige suitcase, but if you have the chance to get a different color, go for it! That way, when you exit the luggage carousel, you’ll know right away it’s yours.
Take advantage of the magic of packing cubes
If you’ve never used a packing cube, you’re missing out on one of the easiest ways to make packing easier. These days, they have cubes to pack your entire wardrobe into, but in my experience you only really need the big, medium, and small. I pack my underwear, bra and socks together and that makes it easier to find my friends (who get lost easily in a suitcase). I’ve also used others to bring together similar categories: layering tanks, sportswear, and even “remote work” gear. Here’s one of my favourites:
Don’t fold your clothes, roll them up
Folding clothes in a bag is instinctive, but rolling them up can actually save a lot of space in your bag and ward off unnecessary wrinkles. Sort your clothes by genre (shirts, pants, etc.) and organize them by cut. Then, not only will you save space, but you’ll also know exactly where all your clothes are in your bag.
Also, to avoid unnecessary destruction of delicate items such as straw bags and ornate shoes, be sure to place all heavier clothing items on the wheel side of your bag. That way, the finer cuts will be safer in your bag.
Organize your jewelry
I feel like jewelry is always the last thing we think about for a trip or something we easily forget. When you remember to pack your fun statement earrings or necklace, the last thing you want is for things to break. I’ve just started using a hardshell jewelry box and it’s great for organizing everything and I know it will get there in one piece. I have small shells for my everyday jewelry: small rings, gold rings, and everyday watches. Then, I have another one for the fun bits you brought especially for those Insta-worthy shots.
Consider a clear cosmetic box
Once I became an obvious cosmetic convert, I don’t know how I could have traveled without it. Not only does it allow you to see everything you have in your bag so you can easily grab what you’re looking for, it also makes security a lot smoother.
The clear case will also help with any leaks or spills that occur as it can be easily rinsed off without any evidence being left behind. Also, who doesn’t love a monogram situation?
Wear slip-on shoes
When heading to the airport, I always travel in a pair of easy “up, down” sneakers. I love these Reebok Guresu version 1.0 sneakers, because they have an elastic insert in the middle of the structure, so they have laces but I’ve never had to tie them more than once because of these inserts.
Don’t forget the laundry bag
The last thing you want is to mix your clean stuff with your dirty stuff. Bring a laundry bag so that when you get home, you can easily pour it into the washing machine. Don’t have or forgot? Save your gift bag and use one of those!