Until I met Maynard I was a check a bag kind of a gal. Nowadays, I cringe at the thought of taking so much stuff on a trip that I would have to check a bag. It’s not just the extra time it takes to check the bag and wait to pick it up at a carousel, the lugging it around to get to and from everywhere is a nightmare. I love the freedom and flexibility of traveling with only carry on luggage.
Here is a list of our favorite tricks on how to pack more efficiently.
I love a great spreadsheet or list. You are either a list maker or a list hater, but for those that love the satisfaction of a good checklist or strike-through – make a list of what you will need for you trip. I made a template of items that I must have on every trip, such as eye glasses, saline solution, extra pair of contacts, phone charger, phone, ID, passport, etc.. For each trip I add what I need to the template, such as shower shoes, 5 shirts, 5 pants, etc..There are lots of new packing list apps out there. I haven’t found one that I like better than my good ol’ Excel spreadsheet (Yes, I said Excel). I will let you know know when/if I do find one.
Store all your travel related items in one place. I have a bathroom shelf dedicated to all our travel products we use on every trip, such as shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, lotion, traveling credit card, traveling toothbrush, extra contacts, saline solution, etc..By keeping it all in the same place it is easy to assess what needs to be replaced, what needs to be filled for the next trip and what may or may not be needed for the next trip. As you get closer to your trip departure, move the storing location to a table or designated floor space. That way you can start adding your larger items, such as clothing, shoes, electronic charges, etc. to determine size and spacewise what you have.
Most major airlines allow for one carryon roller size luggage and one shoulderbag or computer size bag. Keep in mind, it is allowed to carryon, but it is not guaranteed you will be able to carryon your larger bag. Pack your valuables and necessities (including medications and at least 1 set of clean undergarments or outfit) accordingly. If you normally split your valuables between your 2 bags make sure to pack the items in a place where you have easy access to remove, if needed That way if you have to check your larger bag it is easier to reach and move your items to your smaller bag. Between the 2 bags, I try to make sure to pack all my flight essentials into the smaller bag, such as Ipod, headphones, reading materials, pens, chapstick, hand lotion, wet wipes, note paper, camera, re-usable water bottle, sweater, socks, etc.. I don’t want to have to dig through my roller bag while in flight and try to find something I may need.
Get yourself some packing cubes and bags. Cubes come in handy for so many different reasons. In reference to tip #3, pack an extra set of undergarments, valuables, medication, etc. in a cube. Pack it on the top of your roller for easy to access incase you need it or need to transfer it to your smaller bag. Nothing will fall out or get lost in the shuffle. Use cubes to keep your items separated and easy to find, to keep your clean and dirty laundry separated and to sort matching items together. There are so many different ways to organize while using cubes. They can also be used in your smaller carry on to separate your pens, headphones, etc. They are great in helping to separate charges and electronics.When traveling to a water destination consider bringing a waterproof bag to hold your last day wet clothes and shoes.Hate digging for your ID, Passport, wallet over and over? Don’t wear clothing with pockets big enough to fit your stuff? Get an organizer that hooks onto your luggage. It cuts out digging through your bag and forgetting where you last put your passport or boarding ticket. We recommend the following packing cube set: eBags Packing Cubes – 3pc Set (Black).
Don’t pack EVERYTHING you think you may need. In most cases, your destination will have a convenience store you can buy things. Ask your hotel ahead of time if they provide bulkier items, such as beach towels and bags, shampoo, conditioner, hair dryer, razors, etc..
Survey Your Goods – I am a visual person so I spread out all the things I want to bring on a plot in the living room. This way I can 1) see how much stuff I have to fit into my bag and 2) visually connect all the dots making sure each sock has a mate and the camera has a charger and a flash card.
Roll those Clothes – Knowing we had this post coming, the last few trips I experimented with different ways of packing my clothes. I can say with the exception of cubes for the small stuff like socks, I will be rolling my clothes from here on out. They took up less room and had far fewer creases then using different folding or compression bags. Another helpful hint that deals with rolling, comes from rolling your socks and then putting them in your shoes to save space and to help keep their shape.
Medicine in Proper Containers – If you are going to be traveling with medicine it would be wise to keep it in original containers. This is especially prevalent with regards to prescription medicine as some countries might confiscate it or detain you for questions about unlabeled pills.
CASH – There is a saying, “Cash is King” not only that it is universal and it is handy to have a little. There are any number of situations that might require a little green, and don’t just get $20’s from the ATM, you need some smaller bills too. Nothing worse than choosing between giving the bell hop a $20 or $0; it sets a bad president. Also there are a number of stores and services that aren’t interested in plastic.
Down / Travel Time – Don’t only pack for the vacation, grab something for travel time or down time. This isn’t exclusive to entertainment either; snacks and books are certainly not cheapest inside the airport, train station or at your hotel. Pick up your favorite snacks and magazines before heading to the airport.
Tell Us About Your Favorite Can’t Miss Packing Tips or Tricks…