10 Packing Tips Every Traveler Should Know

Photo: Cultura RM Exclusive/Sofie Delauw (Getty).

Aside from coughing up the money to actually book your trip, packing is probably the worst part of going anywhere. After all, how are you supposed to know what you’re going to want to wear next week? What do they think you are – some sort of psychic? Don’t worry! We have you covered with these 10 packing tips that’ll save you time, worry and luggage space.

1. Do research on your airline baggage policy.

Do they charge a fee? What’s the weight limit? Do they have strict guidelines for carry-on luggage? Do your research before you start packing so you can plan and budget accordingly.

2. Make a packing list.

Seriously, it helps. Start your packing process a few days before, making notes on the items you need. As the days past, more items will pop into your head and you can add them to the list. That way, by the time you’re ready to actually start packing items in a bag, you’ll have already remembered all of those things you’d normally forget.

3. Pack detergent.

If you’re going out of town for long periods of time, bring a baggie or small Tupperware of laundry detergent so you can wash clothes on the road. Unless you’re headed somewhere really remote, you’ll be able to find some sort of laundry while on your trip, saving you tons of space in your bag.

4. Pack layers.

When traveling abroad, climate is almost always a question. Pack clothes that allow you to easily shed or add layers without reworking your whole outfit. This helps you cut down on the clothes you actually need to bring and allow you to maximize your space.

5. Bring a plastic bag (or two).

Wet swimsuits and dirty clothes are not fun to carry around if you forget to pack something as simple as an extra bag. A garbage bag weighs literally nothing, too, so you have no excuse.

6. Roll your clothes.

Rolling, rather than folding, your clothes is a huge space saver, especially when packing jeans, pants, sweaters and jackets.

7. Get creative with space.

Stuff rolled socks in your shoes to save space, roll clothes in jackets or sweaters to take up less room and put lighter clothes or swim suits in your luggage pockets. Get creative when it comes to making things fit.

8. Ditch the unnecessary.

If the majority of your vacation will be spent on the beach or hiking along some remote trail, do you REALLY need that extra bottle of hair product and those heavy dress shoes? Sure, you have to be prepared, but think realistically about what you’ll use and ditch the rest.

9. Never check essentials.

Passports, IDs, credit cards, family heirlooms and pricey electronics should be packed in your carry-on, not checked with the airline. You never know when they might lose your luggage, or “misplace” one of your valuables.

10. Leave space.

Keep in mind you’re probably going to do a little bit of shopping while you’re abroad, so don’t overstuff your suitcase so you can’t bring anything back with you. Leave at least a pocket of room in your luggage, and roll your laundry along the trip to make sure you’re still being savvy with your space.