Whether you’re an avid traveler, or just heading out for a short trip, knowing how to pack your suitcase effectively is important. Not only do you want to pack as much as you possibly can—without over-stuffing, of course—but you want to pack smart, too, making sure you can re-wear or reuse clothes and other items.
Traveling can be a hassle sometimes. And regardless of the length of your trip, you don’t want a suitcase that’s too heavy to lug around. You can’t always rely on things like elevators and other convenient modes of transportation, so the best suitcase will be lightweight enough to be picked up or tossed over your shoulder. However, it has to be big enough to fit the essential clothes, toiletries, and travel essentials you need. You’ll also want to save yourself a little space for any souvenirs you might acquire along the way.
Regardless of where you’re going or how long the trip is, knowing how to pack your suitcase effectively will make all the difference—for your back, your body, your adventure, and your peace of mind. If you’re someone itching with wanderlust, or preparing for your next adventure, here are eight tips for packing smart.
1. Coordinate outfits you can re-wear and mix up.
One of the best tips for packing smart is, of course, to look up the weather in the area you’ll be visiting. While it’s always great to pack for a myriad of temperatures, paying attention to the forecast helps you be prepared.
You can also mix and match different tops and bottoms to have clothes that look different each day without the added weight. As much as you may love patterned tops and bottoms (I’m so guilty of this!) you might want to lean towards more solid prints that can be easily matched with multiple items. Something as simple as a pair of jeans can go with a variety of shirts and look like a new outfit each day.
2. Plan out potential washes.
A huge way to save yourself packing room is to actually plan to wash your clothes at some point during your trip. While this isn’t always feasible (especially for short trips), it’s smart for longer trips because it can let you pack half the clothes.
3. Nest your clothing items.
Finding ways to fit all your items is key for efficient travel. These rectangular, stackable packing cubes are lightweight and come in multiple sizes and colors. With ease, you can pack and separate items—for example, shoes and shirts—and keep everything organized within your suitcase or bag. [Here they are in a set of six.]
4. Consolidate your to-do items.
Travel can be a great time to catch up on your to-do list, but be careful—throwing a bunch of items in your bag to hopefully finish on the plane or train isn’t always feasible, or realistic. Instead of, for example, packing three books to read on your flight invest in an e-reader or Kindle. Instead of bringing multiple items, just take one or two things to work on.
5. Be smart about electronics.
When you travel, you have to be smart about electronics. Having your phone, computer, camera, and subsequent chargers is important, but you don’t want to use up a bunch of space with heavy items and multiple cords. Bring a mini portable charger. Also see what items use the same cord and bring one instead of multiple, when possible. Also, and perhaps most importantly, make sure you’re only bringing what you absolutely need.
6. Plan your days.
As silly as it sounds, go through each of the days of your trip and plan what you’ll wear or need. When you have a handle of the outfits and items for each day, it will help you eliminate unnecessary clothing. You can also accessorize, minimally, once you have a handle on what you’re actually bringing.
7. Get travel size (of course).
Well this is a no-brainer (and because of TSA requirements, a necessity!) but anywhere you can slim down your toiletries—like taking only the five medication pills you’ll need instead of the bottle—do so. Cutting back on the little things will add up, making room for what you’re actually going to use.
8. Wear the heaviest items.
Going somewhere cold and need a puffy jacket? Wear it or use it as a pillow to save space. Instead of wasting precious room in your suitcase with bulky items, wear them instead.
PS: If you’re looking for some great travel gifts, check out this gift guide for the travel obsessed.
Featured Image Credit: Arnel Hasanovic