• Pack Your Bags Like a Pro

  • by Lindsay Schachinger

It was the night before I left for the Bahamas and I could already feel the sun on my skin, sand beneath my toes, and wind blowing through my hair. The only problem, my bag was still empty and my plane was leaving in seven hours. If you’re anything like me, you love to travel, but hate to pack. I dread it so much that I wait until the last possible minute to start, giving myself a suboptimal amount of time to try and fit everything I need into one bag. Staring at the empty suitcase on my bedroom floor, I envied my friend who packed a weeks’ worth of clothes, shoes, beauty supplies, and toiletries all into a carry on in an hour of time.

The next trip I took, I sought the help of my expert-packer friend and, after going through the process, I learned a few tricks to save space and make packing a breeze.

Rule of 3

When it comes to taking up space in luggage, shoes are usually the main culprit. Try using the Rule of 3 to save more space for other items you’ll need. It can be hard, but choose only three pairs of shoes to bring with you: a comfortable pair of day shoes, nice shoes for going out at night, and a pair of sneakers depending on where you are traveling.

Make a List and Plan It Out

Making a list is essential when trying to save time while packing. It made a huge difference for me and it helped to lay my outfits out on my bed for what I was planning to wear each day, which helped me pick my three shoes to pack. Using the list while you pack is helpful as well, since you can cross off the items you’ve already packed to make sure you don’t forget anything. I also recommend packing at least one extra outfit in case something unexpected happens.

Start at the Bottom

Once you’ve made your packing list, it’s time to strategically place everything in your bag. This is something I struggle with the most. Bulky and heavy items are best at the bottom of your suitcase. These items have weird shapes and could wrinkle or destroy the rest of your belongings. Ironing clothes is definitely not something I enjoy, so I’ll do anything to avoid it. Shoes, toiletries, hair dryers, and anything else of the sort are best at the bottom and you can easily place smaller items in between the cracks to still make use of the space. These smaller items could be anything from bathing suits to socks or under garments. Another tip I learned is to put items, such as phone chargers, jewelry, or even your socks, in your shoes to use up even more available space.

Roll Your Wardrobe

I was completely dumbfounded after learning this from my friend. Try rolling your clothes instead of folding. It’s as simple as that. You’d be shocked what a difference this makes. Not only were my clothes less wrinkled, I also made enough room to be able to pack even more. I especially enjoyed not having to sit on my suitcase to get it to close.

Travel Size

Travel-sized toiletries are a life saver! I swear by them. They only hold the amount you’ll need for travel and give you more room for clothes or shoes. As a bonus, these usually only last a week and you’ll actually end up gaining more space on the way back for souvenirs.

Zip Lock Bags Are Your Best Friend

I will never ever go without Ziploc bags. I made the mistake once to pack my shampoo, conditioner and body wash free in my bag and when I got to my hotel, I had to rewash all of my clothes before I could wear them. I now double bag all of my liquids to make sure that mistake wouldn’t happen again. It can be a real let down when you are excited to be in a new place and you have no clothes to wear.