Some people have a knack of knowing exactly what to bring on trips. They use everything they bring and don't ever kick themselves for leaving an item behind. For others, though, packing can be an even bigger stress during a trip than traffic or bad weather. The thought of choosing just four pairs of shoes to bring, or deciding whether to bring a few swim suits just in case is exasperating even to think about.
If you're an overpacker and are preparing for a summer beach vacation, a business trip, or a holiday in France, don't fret! There's lots of things you can do to make the packing process go as smoothly and easily as possible. Do you stress over how to bring all of your necklaces without them tangling into a knot? Do you wonder the best order to put everything in your suitcase? Read on - these hacks will let you pack everything you want and exactly what you need.
8 Chart Out What to Pack
Those of us who struggle with packing need to decide what we want to bring days in advance, not hours before. Use this hack to figure out what you need. First, look up the weather for the location you're going to on the days you're going to be there. (Don't do this TOO far in advance, because the forecast is bound to change.) Take a piece of paper and divide it into columns; head them with the day and the weather (ex: Monday, sunny and 85).
Under that, write the activities you know you'll be doing that day and what you might want to wear for them (ex: Bike ride - shorts, t-shirt, and sneakers; Dinner - dress and heels). This way, when you dig into your closet, you'll know exactly what items to be looking for. Plus, if you realize there's something you don't have, you'll have a few days before your trip to run to the store.
7 Keep Your Cosmetics from Exploding
This is one of the biggest packing dilemmas for women who cherish their high end makeup. Going a week without your favorite cosmetic brands is arduous, but the chance of your $35 foundation exploding in the airplane or your eye shadow palette cracking into bits is too big of a risk.
First, decide exactly what makeup you need to pack. On one of the days at home before your trip, make note of exactly what you use on an average day and pack only those items. Then make sure the journey doesn't damage them with these tips. For liquids like foundation, unscrew the cap, put a layer of saran wrap over the opening, and then screw the cap back on. For powders, stuff pieces of cotton balls in the case so there's less chance of the makeup cracking.
6 Keep Jewelry Untangled
You've just arrived at your destination after a hard day of traveling, and you're ready to go out for a relaxing dinner. You change your clothes and go to pick out a necklace when you realize all your jewelry is now in a big tangled ball. One solution to this problem is wearing the jewelry you want to bring, but what if you'd like a bigger selection?
Try these hacks for keeping multiple pieces of jewelry untangled. Thread each of your necklaces through a straw and it won't tangle with itself or other pieces of jewelry. Another option is laying our your jewelry on a piece of Glad Press'n Seal. Top it with another piece and your jewelry won't go anywhere. For earrings, put them through a button so they stay together. Or, keep earrings and other small pieces of jewelry in a weekly pill container.
5 Put Your Shoes to Use
Over-packers know that it's impossible to choose just a couple pairs of shoes to bring on a week-long trip. If you want to bring several, make sure you do it the right way. Stuff shoes with socks, underwear, and toiletries to save space in your suitcase. For shoes with dirty soles, stick them in an old shower cap to keep the rest of your clothes clean. If you want to bring really large shoes, like knee high boots, wear them while you travel so you don't have to stuff them in your suitcase.
4 Bring Just One Hair Tool
When you're running out of room, a single hair straightener is the only heated hair tool you have to bring because it can be used as a flat iron, deep waver and curler. To create beach waves, braid your hair and run your straightener over the braid a few times. Mist with hairspray, undo the braid, and voila! For loose curls, wrap a piece of hair closest to your scalp around one side of the flat iron. Clamp down and slowly run the straightener towards the ends of your hair. You'll have voluminous, bouncy locks in no time.
3 Get Your Toiletries Past the Liquid Restriction
With soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, face wash, moisturizer, lotion, toner, sunscreen and makeup, it feels impossible to pass the TSA's limits if you're bring everything in a carry on. Just to refresh you on the rules, in a carry on, each liquid must be under 3 ounces, and they all have to fit in a 1 quart plastic bag. To fit this restriction, instead of cutting out products, switch some of them from liquid to solid form.
One possibility is bringing face wipes instead of liquid face wash. Or pack a solid bar of soap for the shower. For your hair, invest in a solid shampoo bar and conditioner bar, which can be purchased from Lush Cosmetics. Bring a powder instead of an aerosol can if you rely on dry shampoo. If you can, pack a mineral powder foundation instead of liquid. Toothy tabs that come in solid form and are chewed to brush can be brought instead of traditional toothpaste. Decide which liquid products you need the most and pack everything else in a solid form.
2 Packing the Suitcase Correctly
After you know exactly what you're bringing, put it in your suitcase the right way so it all fits. Instead of folding (or God forbid scrunching), roll your clothes tightly so they take up as little space as possible and don't wrinkle. For an extra secure roll, wrap a rubber band around each one.
Pack your heaviest items like shoes and liquids on the bottom, wheeled side of your suitcase so it's less awkward to carry. No one wants to try to tote around top heavy luggage. If you're going on a business trip, store your belts on the inside of your shirt collars. It will save space, plus keep your collars stiff. For delicate tops, fold them with a piece of tissue paper so they don't crease.
1 If You're Still Short on Space
If you've used these hacks and you still need some extra room, you might want to invest in one of these life-saving products. If you're really serious about bringing everything, invest in a Pumpack. This specially designed suitcase has a pump on the outside that vacuums out air. It will increase your packing capability by 70 percent compared to a regular suitcase of the same size.
Another option is compression bags that fit inside your regular suitcase. Eagle Creek Compression bags have patented air valves that remove excess air from the bags when you simply roll them up.
Good luck and safe travels!