Have you ever been stuck in a loop of endless mind games of how you can finally arrange your belongings inside your luggage perfectly—especially if it is a carry-on?
Well, you are not alone. I personally took a couple of tries and failed attempts, especially when procrastination dawns over me before I was finally able to claim the master packer title!
The point here is to effectively pack your carry-on bag while bringing all your essentials and other items needed for the trip. Aside from that, it also feels nice to have a nice looking suitcase not only on the outside but also on the inside, right?
To be able to achieve that, here are some secrets I would like to share with you!
1. Pack in the right order
When you stack items at home, which goes at the bottom, the heavy ones or the light items?
If you answer light items, you are probably stacking them wrong. You better rearrange them now before anything valuable breaks!
The same rule applies when it comes to packing. Put the heavier clothes first before putting in the thinner shirts. That way, it would be easier to close your suitcase since there are no bulky items on top.
Another factor to consider is that when you pack the heavier items on top of lighter ones, you risk wrinkling them or worse, breaking some of the valuables inside your luggage. You do not want a damaged item surprise once you unpack. It is disheartening as well as annoying!
2. Roll the clothes
This does not sound like a secret trick at all, but I will still include it anyway. Everyone knows this trick but I do not think everyone follows it.
Here’s the deal, take it from those who fly often a.k.a. flight attendants, they know that this process really helps in making sure that every piece of rolled clothing you put inside your luggage will fit fine.
Rolling your clothes also means less wrinkling compared to folding them. That is a plus point anyone would be willing to take because no one wants a wrinkly outfit when you are on vacation, I suppose?
3. Use shoe spaces
Since shoes are most likely to take up much space inside your luggage, might as well counter that negative fact and use the spaces or holes of the shoes.
It could be a nice storage for small items. There is nothing else to do better than using it to your advantage.
You can store your rolled underwear, socks, or valuable items placed in a secure container like tiny burlap bags or zip lock bags.
4. Invest in travel-sized kits
It makes all the difference to have travel-sized kits for certain items like toiletries as it minimizes the use of space inside your luggage.
You do not need to bring an entire bottle of shampoo or shower wash on a 1-week vacation. Aside from the fact that it takes a large chunk of space in your bag, it also adds weight to your luggage.
Travel-Sized bottles and containers for your toiletries that are allowed inside your carry-on will also save you from all the stress of being held up at the security gates because you are carrying a bottle that has more than the allowed quantity.
5. Use the rule of three
What’s the rule of three? It is a traveling trick to bring three pairs of shoes—one casual pair of sandals, sneakers, and a formal evening shoe such as heels or something similar.
Their uneven form and shape makes it hard for them to fit perfectly in any part of the luggage. So to somehow address that dilemma, wear the bulkiest and heaviest one and then put the other two inside. You have one less pair of shoes to think about.
6. Bring multi-purpose items
Bringing multi-purpose items is a trick that I would swear my life by. It has saved me on so many occasions, and it would probably do the same to anyone who decides to bring one too.
Multi-purpose items, as the name suggests, is a heaven of an item that can be used for different purposes.
One best example is a lightweight foldable blanket you can use during the flight, which can also act as a picnic or beach blanket. You can even use it as a rain poncho when the weather decides to challenge you on your trip.
7. Use compression bags
If you have been fascinated by these miracle bags, then why not try it for yourself? Compression bags work best for those who wish to bring more and fit them all inside their carry-on.
It makes sense, right? If you have a small bag with you but you need to bring a couple more pieces of clothing because that is what the trip requires or when you are just one of those travelers who want an extra pair of this and that, then this is the answer to your problem.
Compression bags are sealable plastic bags that has a one-way pressure valve. When you put your clothes inside, this bag removes all the excess air which results in compression — a space-saving trick that does not need much effort.
8. Buy expandable bag
Back when I did not know better, I used to bring too many bags just to be able to bring all the stuff that I need.
As it turns out, it is not the best way to travel around since carrying them all in and out of the airport and on to the streets of the city or country you are visiting is too much of a hassle.
When I realized I can bring everything I need by using just one bag, it literally saved me money and energy. You will get your money’s worth by purchasing an expandable bag that can fit all your needs without having to bring an extra one.
It is about being wise enough to know that having too many bags to carry around might mean additional fees especially because you are only allowed to carry one bag inside the plane.
Besides, is not that what we want? To be able to travel around the world without spending much?
9. Wear bulky items
I love sharing this trick to anyone because it is a really effective one.
It may sound impossible especially for sweaty people, I know, but if you have no other choice but to fit everything inside your carry-on luggage, would you not do the same? Besides, it works well during flights when the air conditioning feels almost sub-zero.
Wearing your bulkiest pieces of clothing at the airport is another space-saving trick that we should all live by.
10. Use packing cubes
If you are an organizer freak, here’s the best packing secret for you: Packing cubes will let you organize your clothing according to whatever category you feel like doing, like colors or uses.
It helps a lot in finding items inside your luggage especially if you have to bring a lot of items.
When you use this trick, you will easily know where to find what. No need to unleash the inner dragon in you and hungrily hunt your entire luggage for the item that you are looking for.
11. Avoid small pouches
While you may think that bringing small pouches for certain travel items is helpful, the reality is that they take up too much space inside your luggage that you end up not having extra space for some of the other items that you need to bring.
I know you want your stuff organized, but then you would rather want to have enough space for other items, right?
What you can do instead is to put them all together in one medium-sized pouch. If it makes you happy, put together on one side your toiletries, and then makeup items on the other side. If that is not enough, you can put some sort of divider inside the pouch.
12. Wash your clothes on the road
Since we are all about saving space and making sure that we have enough clothes to last us the entire trip, washing clothes during your trip is a good option.
Hotel management will not mind if you wash your dirty clothes in the bathroom. You can also have their laundry service do the job for you.
Washing your clothes on the road means you do not have to carry extra pieces of clothing. If you run out of clothes to wear, there is nothing to worry about since you know full well that you can wash them easily.
Just do not forget to bring a travel-sized bottle of detergent to keep your clothes smelling fresh and clean.
13. Know what not to pack
Sometimes, the panic packer in us gets the best of us, which leads to unnecessary items being packed inside our luggage. That’s a big no-no when it comes to packing efficiently. That’s not what we are aiming for.
It is really important to create a list of things that you should pack. That way, you would know what not to pack.
It may sound easy but trust me, the temptation of putting extra pieces of something inside your luggage is hard to resist especially if you are anxious about not having enough items to survive the trip.
Besides, your luggage is not a magical one. It may be expandable, yes, but it can only take so much.
14. Know what to pack
And since you already have a list of items to bring, it will lead you to know exactly what to pack and what to leave behind.
Every trip may require different sets of item to bring, so that would mean making a different list of what to pack every time you go out on a trip. You may try to recycle if the place you are visiting is somehow similar to a place you have already visited.
Having a physical copy of an inventory of items that you will need during the trip gives you an overview of how much space it would take to fit all your items in a bag. It also sends off a fulfilling vibe especially if you have crossed out most of the items on the list.
15. Choose the right luggage
You have all the items with you, sure, but do you have the right luggage to put everything in?
Here is one way to identify if the luggage that you will bring is the right one for the trip: Check the list of the items that you need to bring.
Visualize how much space you need to fit them all in, and then that’s when you can identify the carry-on luggage dimensions that you have to look for to be able to pack efficiently.
Choosing the right luggage for your trip saves you the trouble of not meeting the size requirement for a carry-on. Some airport securities can be strict. But knowing the right size of luggage to bring inside the plane is not just about being able to carry all your essentials, it is also about respecting the space intended for the other passengers.
Remember, this is a shared flight. The other passengers also have their carry-on luggage. The space that you should be taking in the overhead bin must be decent enough and respectful of other people’s space.
Well, I hope after you read the tips and applied it to your own packing style, you may finally be able to do it with ease the next time you pack for a holiday. In fact, if you ask me, I really find packing for a trip to be therapeutic. It helps me focus on the task at hand, thus, making the packing even more effective!
Try some of these secrets and see the magic for yourself. Besides, there is nothing to lose if you try, right? You are only going to waste more of your time if you keep repeating the same packing mistakes you have made in the past.
Time to learn from it, traveling citizens!