How to Pack Efficiently When Traveling

Anna Cadwallader
October 30, 2013
Digital Vision
Digital Vision

Digital Vision


Whether you’re packing for a semester abroad or just a weekend trip, it’s always easy to find yourself sitting atop your suitcase, wrestling with the zippers in the hope that you won’t have to remove any of your beloved belongings. Although we can slide by doing this, it’s much easier to learn how to pack efficiently to avoid the stress — and the workout. Believe it or not, packing can actually be a breeze once you master the basic steps of becoming packing pro.

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How to Pack Efficiently: Preplanning

Check the weather forecast so that you can pick appropriate clothing for the climate. Before you start throwing things in your suitcase, lay all of your clothing out. This way you can visualize outfits and narrow down your selections.

What to Wear

You don’t want to be the stereotypical tourist adorned with an oversized camera, fanny pack, and Hawaiian shirt, so pack items that will help you to blend into crowds. Take dark or neutral colored clothing, preferably in solid colors to maximize its versatility and usage. You can use accessories, like scarves or jewelry, to give flare to your outfits without using mass amounts of room in your luggage. It’s always smart to layer to stay comfortable in changing weather. Lastly, try to pack dual-purpose clothing that can transition from day into night to conserve space.

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The Essential Toiletries

In addition to your shampoo and toothpaste, there are a few toiletries that can be lifesavers on longer trips and help you to pack less. First, a spray on wrinkle release formula will give you a fresh pressed look after flying all night or digging in the depths of your suitcase and finding a wrinkled shirt. Second, a fabric refresher, like Febreeze, will give your clothes a clean smell allowing you to wear them twice or even three times without washing. Third, a portable stain remover like Tide-to-Go is always convenient to have on hand in case of an accidental spill — you wouldn’t have to retire a shirt before breakfast because you spilled coffee on it. Fourth, individual washing detergent packets are great for longer trips when you don’t have access to laundry facilities and need to wash smaller items, like under garments.

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Maximize Your Space

To maximize your space, roll your clothes instead of folding. This technique also prevents wrinkling during travel. If you need even more space, purchase airtight vacuum bags that suction excess air out of clothing to form a compact bundle of clothing. These bags are amazing lifesavers. Don’t pack your bulkiest items; instead wear them both ways on the plane. Also, if you’re traveling with multiple pairs of shoes, stuff smaller items in the shoe cavities to utilize every inch of space.

The most important piece of advice when travelling efficiently is to carry everything important — money, toothbrush, medication, and a change of clothes — on the plane with you in case your luggage is lost. Before your next trip, remember that packing doesn’t have to be a hassle. Simply use discretion and be disciplined when deciding what to bring — after lugging your suitcase on a trip your body will thank you.

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