It should come as no surprise that our members do a lot of travelling. So we went to Twitter and Facebook to ask them for their top packing tips. Here they are, with a little extra information and advice from us.
Roll your clothes instead of folding them
Rolling up your clothes will not only help minimize wrinkling and fold creases, it also takes up less space in your suitcase. Make sure you roll your clothing items tightly so they take up as little space as possible and don’t come unrolled in transit.
Always pack one extra pair of underwear and socks
Put one extra pair of underwear and socks in your carry-on bag – because you just never know! Maybe you’ll end up getting storm-stayed an extra day, or maybe your checked back goes astray. This way, even if you end up having to wear the same clothes for a day or two, you’ll be able to change into a fresh pair of underwear and socks.
Keep your important documents on you and not in your checked luggage
Checked bags can get lost from time to time, or may end up on a different flight if there are last-minute changes. You never want to be without your important documents like your passport and your ID, or even your itinerary. Keep these documents in your carry-on bag, or even better, on your person, because you may need to access them often.
Use a packing app
It seems like there are digital apps to help with every aspect of our lives, so why not packing apps? There are any number of apps, such as Kayak, PackPoint and The Vane that can help you by creating customized packing lists depending what your destination is, the weather forecast or your style – lists designed for the traveling fashionista, for instance.
Use packing cubes
Packing cubes are great for keeping your packing organized. You can even organize them by days! These containers come in various sizes and shapes – though they’re often square or rectangular and made of soft, lightweight fabric – and zip closed to provide a little bit of compression so that you can fit several in your suitcase. You’ll wonder why you never used them before.
For even tighter packing, try compression bags. These look like heavy-duty zip-loc bags, but they have a valve for squeezing the air out, and a zipper to seal it tight. They’re great for bulky items like sweaters and jackets, which can be compressed to take up as little as one-quarter of the space.
In addition to rolling your clothes and using packing cubes and compression bags, there are other ways to make sure you don’t over-pack. Shoes tend to take up a lot of space in your luggage, so always try to wear your bulkiest footwear on the plane and pack the smaller shoes and sandals.
Most of us take far more clothes than we need. Some packing gurus advise that your clothes should only fill about a third of your suitcase; any more than that is too much. Some travel ninjas even advocate for the 3-3-3 rule: Take three pairs of socks, three pairs of underwear and three shirts. When you’re wearing one, you can be washing one, while another is drying.
If your suitcase has wheels (and if it doesn’t, why not?), try to place the heavier items at the bottom, nearer the wheels, for better balance. This can make a real difference when you’re pulling your suitcase through airports or down long hotel hallways.
Put all liquids in a sealed zip-loc bag
There are two very good reasons for this. The first is that if the liquids are in your checked bag, if they explode or leak, the contents won’t make a mess on your clothes. The second is that if the liquids are in your carry-on, having them all in one transparent bag makes it easier if customs officials want to inspect them.
Of course, if you’re flying internationally, make sure any liquids you take follow the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule: They must be in travel-sized 3.4-ounce (100 millilitre) bottles or smaller and inside one single, clear, quart-size zip-top bag.
Put your shoes and sandals in the outer pockets of your luggage
As mentioned above, footwear items tend to take up a lot of space in your luggage, and they can’t be compressed like some other clothing items. One way to free up more space in your suitcase’s main compartment is to put shoes in the exterior pockets and compartments.
If you need space, put smaller items in your shoes!
Another way your shoes can help you free up space is to use them as storage. Socks make good candidates, and can even help maintain the shape of dress shoes. Small breakables or delicate jewelry can also be stored in shoes, giving these precious items some added protection.
Always leave extra room in your luggage so you can bring back souvenirs
The sense of pride you felt when you managed to cram everything you need into your suitcase will disappear quickly once you pick up a few souvenirs to bring home and realize you have no room for them. It’s always nice to bring back some mementos of your trip, so be sure to leave room in your luggage for them.
Do you think our members got it right? Let us know. What’s your ultimate packing tip?