One of the key things any traveler should attempt to master is the “art of packing.” The trend many frequent travelers are tapping into is eliminating checked baggage and flying only with carry-on luggage. It's particularly liberating to walk off the plane and straight out of the airport instead of lingering around the baggage carousel, waiting impatiently for the moment your luggage rolls around.
Here are a few simple steps to help make packing easier for your next trip.
1. GET ORGANIZED
If you find yourself writing the same packing list over and over again, it's time to work smarter. When you find some down time on your next flight or airport layover, start a packing list in Google Sheets or the Notes on your phone. Put everything on the list, knowing that what you actually pack will likely vary from one trip to the next. Consider different spreadsheet tabs or groups in your notes for your laptop or work bag, wardrobe, and toiletries. Before you embark on your next adventure, review this list and work your way through it as you pack.
2. PLAN YOUR SUITCASES
Decide in advance how many bags you'll be bringing. A great way to get into “non-checked luggage mode” is to take a smart-looking but functional laptop bag along with a carry-on suitcase that can fit into the overhead compartment. Try a minimalist packing approach and wear layers on the plane to allow for some leftover space in your carry-on bags. This keeps them both light while also leaving room for any shopping you might do on your trip, gifts you might receive, or assorted travel items you might pick up.
3. MIX AND MATCH
When it comes to clothes, be mindful about what will actually fit in your luggage. Travelers tend to specifically overpack in the clothing and shoes areas. We recommend picking out specific outfits for each day of your trip and then adding on to that base. Think about re-wearing the same travel outfit on your trip there and home or throw on a blazer or jacket over a “day” outfit for an evening out rather than packing an entirely separate outfit. Once you've planned clothing for each day, be strict about sticking to the plan!
4. CONSIDER THE CLIMATE
Adding that extra jacket and pair of jeans is fine if there's ample room, but if your suitcase is already bursting at the seams, you need to be thinking about removing some items. The biggest challenge when heading into a climate cooler than your own is that you'll need the thicker jackets, and possibly even gloves, hats or scarves. Make sure you leave extra room for this situation: choose the right bag and cold weather clothing and resist adding too many “just in case” extras. The best tip: putting heavier items (such as shoes) at the bottom of your suitcase, where the wheels are, makes it easier to roll the bag through sprawling airport terminals.
5. BUY PACKING CUBES AND FOLDERS
Packing cubes and folders arguably take up more space than loose packing, but they’re great for organizing items if you do decide to check a bag. Instead of digging around for particular items in a jumbled mess of things, these soft fabric containers keep everything together, making it super-easy to unpack and repack at the hotel.
6. KEEP SOME TOILETRIES IN YOUR PERSONAL BAG
Most airlines now allow for a personal bag to be brought on the plane along with your carry-on luggage. Consider packing some toiletries in the smaller bag for easy access either on the plane or when you land. For example, keeping toothpaste, facewash, and daily pills in a place that’s not at the bottom of your suitcase will make a late-night arrival much easier.