So you’re running late for your flight, trying to pack a few last minute essentials, and your suitcase won’t close. Instead of sitting on the luggage in a futile attempt to zip it shut, you might want to consider packing smarter.
Consolidating everything you need for your trip can be beneficial on several levels: light luggage will meet airline requirements, you’ll stress less about being able to fit everything back in on the trip home, you’ll have more room for souvenirs, and you’ll avoid having to sit on your luggage. Whatever the motivations may be, packing efficiently is a skill that will come in handy for any traveler. Here are some tips on how to do it:
The obvious solution is to simply pack less stuff, and while that’s a great mindset to have, that alone won’t cut it. In order to avoid the feeling that comes with packing three outfits that you end up never wearing, make an exact list of what you need. Go back over the list, crossing out items that aren’t necessary, keeping in mind that it’s okay to wear the same outfit more than once (especially backpackers). To facilitate this process, remind yourself that you’d rather have room for souvenirs than an extra pair of shoes. Be sure to research what the weather will be like at your destination to avoid packing an outfit for every season. If you’re really pressed for space, consider buying some items at the destination, like toiletries.
Now that you’ve decided to bring only what‘s necessary, it’s simply a matter of fitting it all in to a single space. Carelessly throwing everything won’t benefit you in the slightest. Instead, try rolling your clothing, as opposed to folding and stacking it. You’ll be able to clearly see everything that you’ve packed, further helping to save room. One highly space-optimizing strategy is tucking your socks in your spare shoes. To avoid squeezing bigger items in, wear your bulkiest pieces (jacket and bigger shoes) on travel days.
With all of these tips, you’re now fully equipped with all the tools you need to optimize your packing. It’s a huge challenge, but once it’s perfected you’ll never have to check a bag for anything under a five-day trip. Get ready to buy lots of souvenirs, because finally you’ll have room for them!