Traveling can be exciting, time-consuming and stressful, but the end result is typically well worth it. After the initial planning, budgeting and preparations there comes the most dreaded part... packing. We've all seen humorous examples of the exploding suitcase that just won't close.
No one really wants to deal with that mess. I feel for you, peeps, I really do. I was once bad at packing a suitcase too. That's why In this second installment of the three-part Adventure Advice Series, I'll share some of the best tips on how to pack like a pro!
1. A Checklist is Just the Gist
Making a list of everything you'll need on your trip allows for less possibility of forgetting some very important items, like your phone charger for instance. If you're feeling at a loss for where to begin to even make a list then consider using a template and adjusting it to your specific needs. This packing list from SmarterTravel is fairly comprehensive and would be the perfect place to start.
Once the list is made, start gathering the items into a pile or several piles based on certain specifications like clothes, toiletries, carry on luggage contents etc. An added bonus of the list is carrying it with you on the trip so you make sure not to forget anything for the return trip home.
2. Organize Not Randomize
Think of your suitcase as a Tetris board, you wouldn't want to have a bunch of holes and gaps of wasted space. Use all available space by putting items inside your extra pair of shoes, using all the pockets in your luggage, and optimizing these packing hacks:
Roll, don't fold, your clothes: rolling clothes up frees up more space than you would think in your suitcase, especially if you roll several items together. Consider combining your socks, t-shirt and a pair of underwear all into one roll. Check out this Youtube video for a great tutorial!
Try using Packing Cubes. These nifty little things are somewhat unheard of to most people who don't travel relentlessly but that doesn't mean you should rule it out! Packing cubes are another great way to save space and organize the contents of your suitcase. Get all your questions answered from Her Packing List.
Travel-size everything. Please don't be that person who tries to pack the entire bottles of shampoo and conditioner for your trip. Pick up a few travel-sized editions at the store or get some empty TSA approved containers and fill them with your favorite products! Sidenote: This awesome product on Amazon takes all the work out of this process for you.
Choose your luggage wisely. The right kind of luggage can make a big difference. Now, I know the decorative hard shell suitcases are more Instagram-worthy and fashionable, but you could wind up making some serious sacrifices by using it. A soft-sided duffel or suitcase is able to stretch and conform
3. Consolidate & Celebrate
Alright, now is the moment of truth. All your planning and organizing has led to you finally putting your belongings in this suitcase and heading out the door to your awaiting adventure. It's an exciting moment for sure, but there's still work to do! As you begin packing, make sure to follow these last few tips:
Check with TSA: There are not many things worse than getting to the airport only to run into complications that get your trip off to a bad start. Make sure you follow all the TSA rules and regulations when it comes to flying and luggage and arrive early enough to solve anything that should pop up.
Double Check EVERYTHING: This list from Fodor's Travel is a great reminder list of everything that needs to be done before you leave the house like not leaving your passport on the kitchen counter or closing the garage. If only Kevin McCallister's mother had made a list like this she might not have forgotten a whole kid.
Lessen The Load: If you were able to get everything you desired to pack into your suitcase then that's great! However, I would still consider making some cuts. The less stuff you have to keep up with and carry around the less stressful your trip will be. Reader's Digest has a great list of a few common items you can take out before you take off.
Now all that's left is to do a happy dance and get going! Make sure to give yourself a high five for all your planning and hard work and enjoy your adventure. Don't forget to read the third installment of the Adventure Advice Series for even more tips and information.
Need help budgeting your trip? Check out part one of this series here.