Packing Hacks to Make Your Next Vacation So Much Simpler!

“Just in case” is the curse of packing.

Alexandra Potter

One of my least favorite parts of a trip is packing which put in perspective is WAY better than unpacking. I try to frame it as a way that gets me one step closer to my trip. I don’t think packing will ever feel exciting, but there are ways to make it easier and more efficient. No matter if you’re packing a giant check bag or a small carry on, saving space, staying organized, and making the process easier is always important. We’ve got a few trips coming up and it got me thinking about how I pack and the different ways I save space, time, and attempt to stay organized. So, of course, I wanted to share that with you!

Roll Your Clothes

Rolling all of your clothes doesn’t necessarily give you a ton more space. It compresses clothes leaving more room on the top whereas folding clothes leaves a little more room on the sides. I like to do a combination of both in a Tetris-like method of packing. Since I usually travel with a small duffel bag or backpack, I tend to roll things. I can see more of what I’ve packed and it allows me to see everything without going through each layer. My advice is to either roll everything or roll your bulkiest items so they compress the most.

No Dead Space (socks in shoes, etc)

This is one of my favorite tricks/tips. If there’s dead space in your suitcase where you can consolidate space, use it. If you know you’re going to want to bring back souvenirs, make sure your suitcase has space for it. Plus, it’s always a good idea to have a little wiggle room just in case you make an impulse purchase or if you need to squeeze your bag into a space on the plane.

I put my socks and underwear in plastic bags and store them in my shoes. Definitely use the plastic bag if your shoes aren’t new so nothing gets that lovely foot stank on them. Flip flops or flats? Stack them and tuck them into each other OR use them to line your bag for a little protection/added sturdiness. If you have other objects that can act as a container to save space, use them to the max!

Wear Bulkiest/Heaviest Items

If space is tight and you’re worried about your bag being over the weight limit, wear your bulkiest and heaviest items onto the plane. Airports and planes are notoriously cold and you’ll want those bulkier items to keep you warm. Plus think of all the extra space you’ll have if you don’t have to squish them into your bags.

It’s also good to take a look at the size of your toiletries since that weight can add up quickly. If you have bottles that are all the maximum quantity for liquids, ask yourself if you need that much for the duration of your stay. Will your hotel/accommodations have shampoo/conditioner you can supplement with? Do you really need that bar of soap or can you get something when you arrive at your destination? If possible, downsize just a little bit since that not only saves you weight, but space!

Pack Interchangeable Outfits

Instead of packing 14 outfits, why not pack half with items you can interchange to make into a brand new look? This does come in handy when you have access to a washing machine, but it isn’t a deal breaker if you don’t. The saying always goes that after you pack your clothes, put half back. Take a good look at what you’ve packed and put at least one or two outfits back.

I like bringing almost all separates so I can have more options of what I feel like wearing versus just bringing rompers. However, you do need to plan for items to be worn more than once so you aren’t packing twice as much. Treat it like a game of how many great outfits can I create with X number of options.

Vacuum Bags are Your Friend

Don’t let the name fool you, you don’t necessarily need a vacuum for these fantastical space-savings bags. If it’s not obvious, I love them. I got a pack of 6 from Target a few years ago for maybe $15 so they’re also very budget friendly. They come in a variety of sizes, making them perfect for any size of luggage. One thing I really love is that you can squeeze them, get them down to a MUCH smaller size, and then you can mold them a little bit to better fit in your luggage.

These are especially nice if you tend to overpack since they compress clothes so much. Just be careful of zippers, buckles, etc so it doesn’t pierce the bag. I also love putting my bulkiest items in a vacuum bag even if I have plenty of space. It’s less stressful knowing that I have that extra room in case I want to buy something while on vacation.

Put All Toiletries in Sealable Bags

No one wants to arrive at their hotel, open their bags, and realize all of their clothes are covered in shampoo from a burst bottle. Even if you put your toiletries in the travel containers, it’s possible the cap can open, plastic can crack, or a bottle will burst, especially if it’s in the cargo hold. Whenever I pack my toiletries I put them in a sealable plastic bag or tie a grocery bag around them so there’s another layer between the potentially messy stuff and my clothes.

Pack Dryer Sheets

I don’t know what it is about planes and airports, but they make suitcases have a very distinctive smell. Fast forward a few days into your trip and the dirty clothes can create that funky smell we all know and don’t love. Keep your clothes smelling fresh by adding a dryer sheet or two to your bags. I like to put a few every few layers between clothes and keep one in my shoes. If you aren’t packing perfume this will help make it smell like you’re wearing something. Plus, your clothes won’t stink and that’s a huge win.

Put Cords in Sunglasses/Glasses Case

Organized cords in a suitcase can quickly turn into a giant mess. More times than not, they end up shoved in a random space or pocket of a suitcase. My friends, I’m here to tell you there’s a neater way of doing packing these little buggers. Have an extra sunglasses case? Fold your cords and put them in there to keep them all in one spot and from getting tangled. The neater you fold them, the more you can fit!

Store blocks in your shoes, use hair ties you’re already bringing to keep them organized, and put converters in any empty space you have. Wrap cords around clothes to keep everything from going all over the place. There are tons of way to make small spaces perfect for storing awkward items. These are just a few of those, but I hope they help!

Store Jewelry in Gum/Pill Container

I’m not a huge jewelry wearer, but what I do wear and want to bring usually ends up getting shoved somewhere as a last-minute “oh yeah, I wanted to pack these”. You know those plastic containers gum comes in? Metal/plastic mint containers? Small vitamin bottles? The options are pretty much endless, but they are SO helpful for things like jewelry and other small items you don’t want all over the place in your luggage.

I like to use the gum containers because they usually come with dividers, so I can organize them even more. Choose the shape and functionality of the container you like best and pack it! It’s a great option too since they’re items you probably already have in your house, so you don’t have to spend extra on it and if it gets damaged, that’s totally fine.

Which Tip Helped You the Most?

Let me know in the comments below. If you’ve got any I missed here, I’m all ears! I love how creative the travel community is, so it’s always great to hear from everyone on how they do anything and everything travel related!


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