It's time to take a trip! No matter where you're going, you're going to need to pack a bunch of stuff. Hopefully, you already have good luggage. If you don't, get some right away. The best way to pack luggage efficiently is to have efficient luggage - so you may think about purchasing your gear according to how you pack.
Really good luggage is really expensive, but you don't need to spend a lot of money on something that suits you because being thrifty is all about conserving time and energy in the long run. Don't be scared, there are some great mid grade and fashionable brands all over the place. Plain black department store luggage will travel with you to your destination(s), but how will you find it at the luggage terminal? Lots of people carry black luggage. Maybe you should have something more defining to your personality, (unless you're on business - stick to black). Also, keep in mind the durability of your luggage. You don't want to find your personals trailing through the airport or worse because your luggage couldn't handle the load.
You want your luggage to be particular to the way you travel, too. How often do you travel? Where and why are you going there? How many accessories do you pack? Do you think it's necessary to have compartments, zippers, extra bags for dirty laundry or perhaps separate bags within the luggage for bathroom toiletries, cell phone/mobile chargers, medications, snacks! - - This list could go on. It all depends on your personal needs and travel arrangements.
Prepare for the weather
First, it may seem like the most obvious factor to consider when you're packing for a trip, but do not forget to be prepared for the weather at your destination. Remember that some parts of the country, or the rest of the world for that matter, are on differing poles during the year. You may be going somewhere that is unseasonably warm or cool, not to mention storms that may pop up in the middle of the day without warning. This means extra shoes and socks, a jacket, maybe an umbrella wouldn't be a bad idea.
Of course, you can't really plan for the weather, but you can plan for your activities. Are you planning to travel for business or leisure? Your itinerary should define your wardrobe, but will also necessitate random items that you can use to keep your trip focused on that itinerary. If you're traveling for business, you may want to pack a hair dryer. It can double as a steamer for wrinkled clothes! Leisure travelers often forget to leave space for souvenirs.
Maximize your space
Speaking of space, save some by rolling your clothes. This also helps to keep the wrinkles out. If you have little children, organize outfits (including hair accessories for the girls) into Ziploc bags. Remember to roll everything and even label it if you want to! This method can also help you be better prepared for accidents, and attitudes from your kids - if it's pre-packed, they won't notice the other options.
Again, this is where it's a good idea to purchase luggage specific to your travel style. If you're going for a short trip, one carryon might do the trick. Remember, you're only allowed one personal item (bag/purse) and one regulation carry-on bag for air travel. For longer trips, think to bring an extra duffel bag for dirty laundry - roll that too, and the dirty laundry that you put in it throughout your trip. It's a good idea to have smaller bags specific to each room from which you will be bringing items. Bedroom bag is for clothes, that's the bulk of it. The bathroom gets a bag. Office - yep, you'll need something for everything that you're bringing from that room too. Then see how many bags you can fit into one to condense the amount of luggage you'll actually be toting around.
Only pack necessary items
If you don't think you're going to wear makeup or worry about your hair when you're gone, don't bring all of your bathroom items. Just bring the mascara and a comb. Invest in travel size containers for shampoos, conditioners, soaps, lotions, etc. Look for kits that include zippered bags and labels or again, Ziploc bags come in handy - especially for air travel if anything will be in your carry on. TSA will want to be able to see those liquids.
Before you start packing though, you should really start the task off with a checklist. What do you NEED and what do you WANT to bring? Be realistic. You'll need clothes, that's a given. Shoes, how many pairs will you need? We've already covered the jacket and umbrella, but what if it's sunny and warm the whole time? Did somebody say sunscreen? Ladies, if you wear a lot of jewelry or other accessories, it would be a good idea to get a jewelry bag to keep everything organized and prevent tangles or loss.
Chargers people! Bring extras. If you don't have extras, buy some specifically for your trip. It may seem like added cost but you'll be better off in case you forget one somewhere. Finding extras like that in a quick minute can be expensive and unreliable. Wherever you're going and whatever you're packing should coincide. It's also important to remember that just because you're traveling (on vacation or otherwise), life doesn't just stop while you're gone. Think of medications, phone numbers you might need and of course you'll probably want something to read. Travel can be boring at times.
Use every pocket in your luggage
The designers were thinking of you when they created it. But you already knew that because you spent the time to carefully pick out the luggage that would allow you to pack the most efficiently for your own needs. I recommend flat pockets for books and paperwork. Don't try to stuff something where it doesn't fit, it will only cause chaos - in your luggage (think broken zippers!) and in your mind (where did you put that …?). You don't need to measure each space in your luggage to compare what you're going to put where but it's a good idea to lay everything out (the bed is always a good space) around your suitcase(s). If you're traveling with more than one bag, try to keep them organized. Clothes and jewelry in one, shoes and laundry get a separate bag, mobile devices and chargers should be protected in bags designed for them.
Now, just try to remember all of this when you're packing to come back from your trip.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.