After you book a flight, there’s not much standing between you and your dream destination… except for packing. Packing is the ever-dreaded, arduous process of cramming your outfits, shoes, and other personal belongings into a mini house on wheels. Sound stressful? Probably.
It doesn’t have to be stressful if you take some time to come up with your game plan. I’ve been around the packing block once or twice, so I compiled 10 of my favorite travel hacks to stay organized while packing. Read on to learn more about how to pack like a pro.
1. Make a Packing List
This tip is #1 for a reason. As obvious as it sounds, few people actually create (and stick to) a packing list. Your packing list isn’t there to annoy you; it’s meant to help you out. When you’re racing around trying to prepare for a big trip, it’s easy to forget some of the items you need. You can download a packing list template or you can make one yourself—whatever helps you stay organized!
2. Make Room for Your Technology
We live in the digital age, people. You have all sorts of wires, cords, and digital devices that can easily get lost in a suitcase or backpack. Go to the store and snag a technology organizer to keep everything in one spot.
3. Take Advantage of Packing Cubes
Your lifesaver is going to be packing cubes. These cubes help you plan out your outfits, account for all the things in your suitcase, and save space. I recommend sorting by your articles of clothing—all your shirts in one cube, undergarments in another, socks and gloves in a cube, and so on and so forth. Pro tip: Order different colors for your packing cubes so you don’t have to worry about labeling them!
4. Get a Travel Wallet
When you’re keeping track of lots of different forms and paperwork, you should have a spot to keep it all in one place. That’s where a travel wallet comes in handy. You can put your passport, ID, travel itinerary, and tickets in this wallet. Just make sure it’s somewhere you can easily access it!
5. Set Aside Your Travel Outfit
While you’re packing, you might forget to account for your travel outfit. That’s why you should set it aside in advance. Not only that but make sure your travel outfit includes your heaviest items. If you have a pair of clunky hiking boots, wear that on your travel day. Or if you’re bringing a raincoat, wear it/hold it in your arms on that first day. Doing this will give you a little more room in your suitcase.
6. Swap the Hair Tools for a Natural Leave-in Spray
If there’s ever a good time to opt for a messy hairdo, it’s when you’re traveling. Ditch the straightener and the curling wand, and instead, opt for a natural leave-in spray that keeps your hair under control. You could use the extra room!
7. Be a Minimalist
Thank Marie Kondo for the minimalist trend and your suitcase will thank YOU! Now is the perfect time to hop on the minimalism bandwagon by scrutinizing your packing selection. The “Just in case” will turn into “Do I really need this?” and you’ll be clearing room in no time.
8. Wrap a Bag Around Your Shoes
No matter the condition, there’s nothing clean about the bottom of your shoes. You don’t want those germs getting on the rest of your clothes, so bring several bags to wrap around your shoes.
9. Follow the Pyramid
Pyramid packing is the idea that you should put your heaviest items at the bottom and your lightest items at the top—just like a pyramid! That means your shoes shouldn’t be at the top of your pile, and similarly, your underwear shouldn’t be at the bottom.
10. Put your Heavy Items Near the Wheels
A caveat to the pyramid structure: Your heavy items should be at the bottom and all the way down by the wheels. When the suitcase stands up, heavy items fall to the bottom, so you might as well place them there to begin.
It’s hard to pick the best ways to organize your travel because it’s so person-dependent, but if you follow some of these hacks, you’ll be packing like an expert in no time!