Packing Tips for Traveling

By on June 26, 2015

Packing tips for traveling are going to be wasted on a lot of people because they just don’t think it’s all that important. It’s one of those things that everyone hates doing, but it’s also one of the most important things you do in preparation for a trip.

Here are my top packing tips.

Starting With The Luggage…

There are a lot of people out there who can’t imagine taking any kind of trip without checking at least one bag. Those are NOT the veteran travelers.

Experienced travelers know that it’s always best to skip out on the checked baggage if you can and put everything in your carry-on. Here’s why:

  • You often have to pay extra to check a bag.
  • Checked bags can get lost or stolen.
  • A last minute flight change can mean your luggage doesn’t follow you.
  • It’s a pain dragging a huge suitcase with you before you check in and after you get to your destination.
  • Nobody likes anxiously staring at the luggage carousel.

Keeping everything in a carry-on makes traveling so much easier and carefree. You can stow it under your seat or in the overhead bin and it stays with you throughout your flight, during layovers, and you’ll know you have everything if you get bumped… It’s no problem and no stress. This is one of the best packing tips for traveling I can give you.

Here’s what you need to know about carry-ons:

  • Most airlines allow you to have one carry-on and one personal bag (like a purse, camera bag, or diaper bag).
  • Your carry-on usually can’t exceed 45 linear inches (or 114 cm) in combined length, width and height, including any handles and wheels that stick out.
  • Your maximum carry-on size is approximately 22″ x 14″ x 9″ (56 x 35 x 23 cm). Most airlines have a “Carry-on Baggage Check” at the counter to make sure your bag will fit in the overhead bin.
  • Many airlines also have a weight limit, so be sure to check before you fly. You’ll be safe if you keep it at no more than 20 pounds (approximately 9 kg.)

I bet I know what you’re thinking… “That all sounds great, but how am I going to get everything in that tiny little carry-on?”

Packing Tips for Traveling

Packing Tips for Traveling

Once you get the hang of packing light, it’s really not all that difficult, but you have to understand that you’re not going to get EVERYTHING you’d like to have with you in a carry-on bag.

You’re going to need to make some choices.

Gather It All Into A Pile And Scrutinize Everything

This is another one of my packing tips for traveling. Start by laying everything you’d like to take with you out on the floor or the bed. Once you’ve gathered everything together, take a look at each and every item and scrutinize it.

Will you use each item enough to make it worth carrying around?

When you use this kind of thought process, it’s makes it easier to figure out what you REALLY need versus what you might need. It gets you to leave out the “just in case” stuff that will likely never see the light of day.

Don’t panic as you’re taking things out of the pile. If it turns out that you need something that you didn’t bring, you’ll probably be able to buy it at your destination.

Only Pack ‘Travel Size’ Personal Items

It’s tempting to throw a whole bottle of conditioner or saline into your bag when you’re traveling, but that’s just plain dumb. Most anyplace you’re planning to travel to will have all the same essentials that you can’t live without: toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, contact solution, etc.

People all over the world use those things too.

Plus, since you’re putting everything in a carry-on, airport security won’t allow those big bottles. You can only carry containers of liquids, gels, or aerosols no larger than 3.4 ounces (100 mil), and they all have to fit into one one-quart clear, Ziploc style plastic bag.

Here’s another one of my packing tips for traveling… most of those travel size bottles will last you two weeks, maybe even more. There’s just no need to pack full size bottles, especially when you can have the adventure of shopping with the locals if you run out!

Planning Your Clothes

When you’re traveling, there’s just no need to have a different outfit for each day — no one cares if they’re seen you in something before. Here are some packing tips for traveling when it comes to your clothes:

  • Pack clothes for layering, rather than bulky jackets.
  • If you need a heavy coat for a cold destination, wear it on the plane.
  • Plan your clothes to mix and match so you can have different looks with fewer clothes.
  • Wear your heaviest shoes and only pack 2 additional pair, if you really need them.
  • Don’t bother packing flip flops… you can pick up a pair anywhere.
  • Plan to wash clothes rather than packing extra.
  • Don’t bring a bunch of extra jewelry.

Packing Tips for Traveling

Organize It and Suck the Air Out Of It

Once you’ve scrutinized everything and gotten your packing list down to the essentials, it’s time to get it organized. Here’s another one of my packing tips for traveling…

Put your clothes into gallon Ziploc style bags or “space bags,” roll to push all the air out, and seal them up. This will give you a lot more room and keep everything dry and organized, but you’ve still got to watch your bag’s weight.

I do this with all my clothes, even though it may wrinkle some fabrics. If you’re worried about wrinkles, leave the items that wrinkle easily out of the bag or plan to iron them when you get to your hotel. Most hotels and even some hostels have irons available. You can also hang stuff up in the bathroom while you shower and steam the worst wrinkles out.

Stuff Your Shoes and Wrap Them

If you take extra shoes, don’t waste the space. Stuff your shoes with socks or small T-shirts to make the most out of the space you have.

Also be sure to wrap your shoes in plastic to protect your clothes.

The Actual Pack

Everyone develops their own style of packing. This is how I do it. Take a look at the video below to see how another “traveler” does it (although he totally over-packed).

  1. Shoes in the bottom (on the roller side of the bag is best).
  2. Don’t forget to stuff your shoes.
  3. Jeans/Shorts next to the shoes. Rolled up tight or in a bag.
  4. Fill in with socks, undies, accessories, swimsuit, or sleep clothes.
  5. Fill the rest of the space with your Ziploc bags.
  6. Anything you’re worried about wrinkling goes in last.

Make Your Liquids Easily Accessible

When you go through airport security, you’ll have to present your bag of liquids to the inspector. Yes… It’s another one of my packing tips for traveling. The way it easier to present your bag of liquids is to put it in your personal bag so that it’s easily accessible. Doing that usually ensure that you don’t have to open your carefully packed carry-on.

Make Sure You Weigh It

If the airline you’re traveling on restricts the weight of your carry-on, make sure that you weigh yours. The airline might force you to check it if it’s too heavy… which defeats the purpose of doing a carry-on.

Keep Technology in Your Personal Bag

Sometimes you’ll be required to gate check your carry-on, so be sure to pack your computer, phone, iPad, etc. in your personal bag to keep it safe. That also includes any kind of gadgets you’ve brought with you that could potentially get stolen out of your bag… yes it happens.

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