Packing is simultaneously one of the most exciting things about traveling, and also one of the most challenging. It can be really tempting just to throw everything into a suitcase and attempt to zip it all up, but experienced travelers know that there is a real art to packing. Spend a few hours packing rather than 15 minutes, and everyone will find that there are some serious benefits to consider. It will probably save us more time in the long run, not to mention significant stress and potential awkwardness. Packing like a pro is much easier said than done, and there's a lot to consider.
Luckily for all our readers who are about to hop on a plane to their latest adventure, we've compiled 25 of the most useful packing hacks out there. These range from simple to surprisingly complex, but each and every one of these hacks will save time, space, stress, or a combination of all three. Why spend so much time and effort packing in the most perfect way possible? Simple. Because we don't want to be worrying about our luggage or potential mishaps while we're on vacation. We want to be focusing only on our amazing trip! These packing hacks will help everyone do just that...
25 Wear Your Heaviest Clothes Instead Of Packing Them
This one is a total no-brainer, but a surprising amount of people forget to take this crucial step. It might come as a surprise that you have one extra "bag" that no one ever told you about – your body. That's right, you can use your person as a means to carry a ton of stuff, and you'd be surprised how much space this actually saves. The basic gist is to take your heaviest clothing items out of the bag and wear them when you head to the airport (or wherever you're going).
24 Try Out Some Packing Cubes
Before you dismiss packing cubes as going way over the top, hear us out. These things actually work, and tons of people are relying on them these days. Many different companies make packing cubes, but the basic function remains the same. These cubes allow you to compress and pack items and clothing much more efficiently than just packing clothes straight into your bag. Try them out for yourself, and see if they really are worth all the hype. You might be surprised at the results.
23 Lay Clothes Flat - Don't Roll Or Fold
Now, the obvious thing to say when it comes to packing clothes is that we should all be rolling, not folding. But according to some expert travelers, rolling clothing is yesterday's news. Even though rolling is better than folding, there's a method which is apparently even better, and it's surprisingly simple – just lay your clothes flat. One traveler from Hippie In Heels claimed that they laid their clothing flat and packed clockwise, filling the spaces and gaps that appear. However she also admits that packing cubes are the most efficient way to pack.
22 Don't Bother Bringing Shampoo Or Soap
Some of the first things that we tend to pack when embarking on a new adventure is our beauty products. Some of us even pack our whole bathroom cabinet without even realizing it! But before you go using up half your packing space with your fancy shampoo and soaps, ask yourself if it's really worth it. After all, all hotels provide soap, shampoo and even more items in many cases. Going even further, you might even consider giving your hair a break for the duration of the trip. After all, most beauty experts agree that it's extremely beneficial to give your hair a break from products once in a while.
21 The Heaviest Items Should Go Near The Wheels
We'd like to say that this packing hack comes from our astute knowledge of physics, but in reality it's a case of learning from our (many) mistakes. How many times have you had a piece of luggage that seemed to have a strange tendency to tip over like all the time? The luggage doesn't hate you, you just packed it wrong. To give wheeled luggage a more sturdy and stable base, pack the heaviest items near the wheels. Many people make the mistake of laying the back flat and putting heavy items at the back (which becomes the side of the bag once you bring it upright).
20 Pack Small Items Inside Your Shoes
Shoes are another popular item to bring on vacation, and it's hard not to pack our entire shoe collection when setting off for an amazing vacation. The problem is that shoes are some of the least efficient things to pack, taking up a ton of space and adding a lot of weight in some cases. But there is hope. A lot of people forget that shoes are actually hollow, meaning you can stuff your shoes full of smaller items before stuffing them into your luggage.
19 How To Stop Liquids From Exploding In Your Bag
Perhaps one of the biggest fears people have when traveling by plane is opening up their bag and seeing a messy goo of liquid spilled all over their nice clothes. This does happen, and we all know that it's the worst. But there's actually a really easy way to stop this terrible thing from happening, and all it involves is a little bit of saran wrap. This is one of the those packing hacks that makes us think, "Why the heck didn't I think of that?" And all you need to do is take off the lids, put a layer of plastic over the opening, and then put the lid back on again.
18 Save Your Packing Checklist For Next Time
One of the most important parts of packing is creating a list. Everybody who is at least a little bit organized does this, and it helps cut down on leaving anything behind. Of course, many of us forget things anyway, for the simple reason that we forgot to add these things to the list! And this is exactly why we shouldn't be throwing away our packing lists. If you keep that list safe somewhere, you can add the thing you forgot to the list when you get back from your vacation. In this way, you can constantly update your list, and be sure that you'll never forget anything ever again.
17 Pack By Outfit
Another interesting method that a lot of people use when packing is to pack by outfit. What we mean by this is to plan out what you're going to wear on each day of your vacation, and try to pack all the clothes in one outfit together in one place in your bag. This way, you won't have to rummage through your bag to find various items, and it will be very easy to change into a new outfit each day. The great thing about this is that you never have to actually unpack – you can keep everything in your bag the whole time.
16 Put Fabric Freshener Sheets In Between Clothes To Keep Them Fresh
Some of our readers might have experienced the unpleasant side effect of packing clothes tightly together for long periods of time. Sometimes our clothes can actually start to smell pretty bad after being confined in a non-ventilated area like a bag for so long. This is definitely more of a problem in very humid, tropical countries. Well, there is actually a travel hack for this problem, and it involves something very simple. All you have to do is put some fabric softener sheets in between your clothes when you pack them in your bag, and they'll feel and smell great when you unpack.
15 Invest In Some Lightweight Luggage
There have been some serious leaps forward in luggage technology in the last few years, and luggage is getting a lot more interesting than it was even a few years ago. There are now things like self-weighing bags that can tell you if you've packed too much, and even bags that are programmed to follow you around the airport without you ever having to carry it. But by far the most valuable advancement in luggage technology has been the use of increasingly lightweight materials. Some luggage brands are almost as light as a feather, and they might just be worth the investment.
14 Leave Space For Souvenirs
This packing hack has been around for many years, and it's probably something your parents have told you to do. No matter what we tell ourselves, there's always some kind of souvenir that grabs our attention while we're on vacation, and we usually can't stop ourselves from buying it. But this becomes a major problem when we don't actually have any space in our luggage! The solution to this is obvious and easy – just make sure to leave some space for souvenirs when you leave.
13 Always Pack A Pen For Filling Out Airport Forms
You'd be surprised how many people forget the most essential items when traveling. A simple pen is small enough to fit in our pockets, but a lot of travelers forget to bring one. And expert vacationers know that pens are really important, especially in airports. At the end of our vacation, the only thing we want to do is get back in our own beds and sleep off the jet lag, but there are some things we must do first. A while before our planes land, we are usually handed a declaration form which must be filled out. If you've got no pen, you're out of luck.
12 Don't Pack Things That Can Melt
More often than not, the locations we choose to visit while on vacation are hot – extremely hot. Places like Hawaii, Mexico, and Southeast Asia are famous for having blistering heat, and that can pose a problem for some inexperienced packers. Many of us have found out the hard way that certain beauty products have a habit of melting in hot locations – and Trip Savvy points out that products with coconut oil as a base can melt, causing leakage inside your luggage.
11 Powder Is Lighter Than Liquids - Use This To Your Advantage
Continuing on with packing hacks that relate to beauty products, let's examine something that a lot of people overlook completely. This is something that is actually trending right now in the beauty world anyway, so it's definitely something to consider. We are of course talking about powder based products rather than liquids. The reason this is so essential to packing is the simple fact that powders weight a lot less than liquids. Dry shampoos and other products are a thing, so consider bringing these instead of liquids, because it will save you a lot of space and weight.
10 Don't Bother Bringing Hair Tools
The golden rule when it comes to packing is to ask yourself, "Do I really need to bring this" when putting anything in your luggage. The number one offender when it comes to taking up needless space is hair tools. Most women seem strangely attached to their various hair tools, and this can seriously diminish their packing efficiency. As you can see by the picture, some hair tools can get ridiculously big, and that's space better used for other things. Besides, hotels usually have blowdryers, and your hair would probably benefit from some time away from your hair tools anyway.
9 Always Weigh Your Luggage Before Heading To The Airport
Here is another golden rule that often goes unfollowed by travelers all around the globe. Always, always weigh your luggage before heading to the airport. Trust us, you don't want to be that person unpacking their bag in front of everyone, deciding which of their items they want to throw in the trash so they can board their plane (which is coming in 15 minutes). It takes 5 seconds, but will save you a lot of stress. You can actually buy your own luggage scales for not very much, and some places like 7-11 may have scales that you can use as well.
8 Pack A Collapsible Dirty Laundry Bag
This is definitely not essential, but it's something to consider. For those who like to spend more time focusing on their vacation rather than their dirty laundry, there's nothing better than a collapsible laundry hamper. The best versions of these things fold up into almost nothing, but they definitely prove their worth when you arrive at your destination. Put it in your hotel room, and you won't have to worry about the mess of dirty laundry. Just throw the clothes in the laundry bag, and grab a new outfit.
7 Pack A Small First Aid Kit
This is definitely one the travel hacks that could end up being the most useful. Before you even consider how many shoes to bring or whether to bring your hairdryer, you should seriously consider bringing a small first aid kit. Remember, there is no guarantee your hotel will provide basic medical services or even have supplies on hand, especially in underdeveloped nations. Small first aid kits usually aren't very expensive, but they can definitely pay off in the long run.
6 Collect Travel-Sized Toiletries
Taking those cute, miniature shampoos and soaps from your hotel room is not stealing; we don't care what anyone else says. Those things are meant to be used and or taken, and they put there to make the guests happy. Think of these little items as being included in your hotel fees – because they are, essentially. There are so many people out there who have amassed huge collections of various mini hotel products, and these people are definitely on the right track. These are the perfect things to pack in your luggage, so you might as well start your collection now.
5 Keep In-Flight Essentials In An Accessible Pouch On Your Carry-On
Another pretty basic travel hack, but this will nonetheless save you a lot of time and awkwardness at the airport. Your main goal at the airport should be to proceed from point A to B as smoothly as possible. But this will be pretty much impossible if you're fumbling and rummaging around in your luggage, trying to get your passport and ticket every 5 seconds. These items, as well as any other things you deem "essential," should be placed in an easily accessible pocket or pouch on your luggage.
4 Keep All Liquids Together In One Place
This is another really basic travel hack, but a lot of people do forget about it. You always want to keep your liquids together in one place, and this is for a couple of reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that airport officials will often ask you if you have any liquids in your luggage, at which point you might be required to show these officials your liquids. It's a lot more convenient to grab one bag of all your liquids and show it to the official, rather than spending five minutes rooting around in your various bags for every last little product. The second reason is that if the liquids to leak, they will be contained to the bag you put them in.
3 Customize Your Luggage
This is one traveling hack that is both fun and useful. We've all had that strange moment at the baggage claim area when we realize that everyone's luggage seems to look exactly the same. There's that weird gut-wrenching feeling when you see someone grab luggage from the carousel, and you think they might actually be taking your bag. To avoid this debacle entirely, all you need to do is customize your luggage. Add stickers, sew on patches, and do whatever you need to do to set your bag apart. Then there will be absolutely no confusion when it comes to claim your baggage.
2 Keep Your Most Valuable Items On Your Person If You Can
This is less of a packing hack as it is a general travel tip, and it should be pretty obvious. But it does technically save space, so hear us out. Instead of keeping your valuables in your luggage, you should probably keep everything expensive on your person whenever possible. Obviously you can't "wear" your laptop, but you can keep your expensive camera around your neck and wear your priceless jewelry instead of keeping it in your bag. You never know what might happen, as luggage can go missing or get stolen.
1 Cut Out Relevant Pages Instead Of Bringing An Entire Guidebook
This is definitely a packing hack that is a little extreme, but sometimes travelers really do have to do all they can to save as much space as possible. Guidebooks are some of the best resources when it comes to traveling, and they can provide a wealth of information that is superior to even the best travel website at times. But the problem about books in general is that they are surprisingly heavy. A simple hack is to actually cut out the relevant information from the pages of the guidebook, rather than bringing the entire book itself.