Clever Packing Hacks for Smart TravelersBy Barbara Norris
Over the last few decades, travelers over the world have been honing the process of packing down to a fine art. All sorts of hacks and methods have been discovered, each one designed to suit different tastes, lifestyles, and purposes. Although certain basic standards still apply, more and more unusual and ingenious ideas are being revealed as the years go by. Space-saving tips are highly prized by smart travelers, but you don’t have to be as hardcore as Bear Grylls to pack more efficiently.
Throughout the pages of this list, you will find a plethora of ideas to save space, allowing you to travel lighter or fit more into your suitcase. Save these tips and tricks for the next time you travel, and you’ll be in for an effortless vacation. Enjoy, and don’t forget to take notes!
Shower Cap And Shoes
The first hack on our list is this unusual use of a shower cap. While the traditional purpose of a shower cap is to protect hair from getting wet, it can be used for other things as well. When traveling, it’s imperative to keep your clothes, shoes, and other garments clean and itemized.
Unfortunately, due to space and weight issues, bringing a shoebox is not feasible. That’s where shower caps come in handy. Use them to keep each pair of shoes neatly packed together, with the soles wrapped up so they don’t get the rest of your items dirty.
Shoes As A Container?
This might not be new to everyone but for those who aren’t familiar with this hack, then this is your lucky day. There’s a big misconception that bringing extra shoes while traveling is a mistake due to the space they take up in the bag. That’s certainly a factor, but it doesn’t have to be a problem.
Come to think of it, the inside of a shoe is a perfect compartment for t-shirts, underwear, or extra socks. To execute this properly, you need to first fold your clothes perfectly. If you’re worried about cleanliness, it might be time to give those shoes a wash.
Packaging Cubes To The Rescue!
Packing cubes are nothing short of brilliant. These small bags help you organize and compartmentalize, all while compressing clothing to ensure optimum use of space.
They might vary in shape, size, and materials, but they all have one common goal. Their rise to prominence started in the mid-2000s, and they were initially big among hikers and campers. Nowadays, they are used by many savvy passengers, from business travelers to families on vacation.
Clever Cord Compartments
Whoever invented the hardshell case for glass and sunglasses deserves all the credit in the world. Yes, there are some other styles, but they just don’t offer the same level of protection.
If you don’t have tech cord organizing pockets or magnetic straps, a hard shell sunglasses case will do the job for you. Not only will it keep your cords in one place, but it’ll also prevent them from tangling.
When traveling, it is essential to research the local climate of the places you’ll be visiting. This way, you can properly prepare and budget for your trip. Fans of Mr. Bean may remember the time when the titular character went on vacation with his teddy.
Despite having a huge suitcase, all of his items wouldn’t fit. Then he started sorting his clothes out. He even separated his outfits into the days he was going to wear them. Back then, we laughed at him, but now, we see that Mr.Bean might have been a genius after all.
Roll With It
A usual part of traveling is the packaging fiasco. Decisions must be made as to whether you’ve packed enough or too much, and excess luggage must be avoided at all costs. If you want to maximize the number of outfits you can fit, then rolling clothes instead of folding them will be perfect for you.
There are many advantages to rolling clothes. The method is easier than folding, it saves a lot of space, and if you roll your clothes neatly, it prevents them from developing wrinkles.
Another travel issue that troubles many people is the fact that you can’t bring more than 100ml of liquids with you on a flight. This means doing without your usual bottles of shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, and other beauty products while in transit.
Instead of bringing the whole bottle, why not portion your essential products out into travel-sized bottles? For shorter trips, this may be all you need. If you’ll be away for a few weeks or more, you can bring the larger bottles in your checked luggage. Just make sure to wrap them in plastic in case they leak.
Time To Use All Packaging Hacks
Traveling to distant parts of the world makes you appreciate the culture, beliefs, and creativity of other people. It is also a constant reminder that the world is a beautiful place. If you are about to leave a majestic place, souvenirs are a great way to commemorate your trip. The question is, do you have enough space in your luggage?
If you don’t want to be hit with excess baggage fees, then the hacks we’ve already introduced should come to the rescue, especially if you work them all together. There’s no need to hesitate in buying these awesome tokens. Just make sure you know what kind of space you’re working with first.
Why Planning Is Important Before Travelling
This echoes the phrase “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Since you are going to visit a place that is new to you in unfamiliar territory, careful planning is needed. Not only will it save you a few bucks, but it will also maximize your time while exploring new horizons. Bear Grylls said it best – you don’t just go to a place without knowing the possible dangers it may present.
So before you start packing, why not list the items you need first? The simpler and more precise, the better. Did you know that in Japanese culture, listing items is part of their lifestyle? This is taught at an early age and is mastered as the years progress. The practice allows you to always have what you need – no more, no less.
The More Clothes You Wear, The Better
If you are fond of saving every single penny, this is a travel hack you might want to hear. As Joey from Friends demonstrated, you can save a lot of luggage space by wearing your bulkier clothing items. Of course, you don’t want to take it as far as Joey did, but it’s worth keeping your jacket with you instead of packing it.
Airplanes tend to be quite cold anyway, so wearing two shirts, your bulkiest shoes, and keeping a jacket and a hoodie with you may also keep you more comfortable on your flight. If you don’t need the extra warmth, jackets and hoodies can be rolled up to create a comfy pillow.
Summertime Packaging Hack
To those who love summer travel and beach vacations, this clever idea is all you need. It’s similar to the trick where you use the inner sole of the shoe as a temporary compartment for your clothes. The only difference is, this time, we are going to use a hat.
Big, floppy beach hats can hold multiple things, depending on the thickness of each item. We strongly suggest filling the hat with lightweight clothing such as scarves, blouses, or underwear.
The Art Of Folding Clothes
While rolling is considered the best option for keeping your clothes tidy while traveling, a different way of folding your clothes may come in handy as well. This bundled folding technique can minimize creases for certain items. It is an art form that needs a lot of practice and patience.
What you are looking at right now is a different technique for folding clothes. By bundling them, you can create a neat package. However, this is best for people who will unfold and hang all of their clothes at their destination.
Socks As Protection For Glass Bottles
If a bottle breaks in your bag, it can ruin your clothing. Bottles of shampoo, conditioner, cosmetics, and fragrances can easily leak if your bag is accidentally dropped or handled roughly in transit.
Thankfully, we have a clever solution to that unpredictable problem. Who would have thought that putting these bottled fragrances inside your socks could provide dependable protection? Doing so will ensure your precious bottles won’t break. If you’ve ever opened a bag at your destination and found it filled with broken glass and ruined clothes, you’ll understand how valuable this hack is.
Makeup Artist And Enthusiast
Another problem for makeup lovers is the fragility of makeup compacts. Either the plastic casing or the makeup itself can break, leaving you with an expensive product that’s no longer usable. To avoid this kind of issue, you can use cotton balls to protect your compact.
Just be sure to mold the cotton to the same shape as your compact. You can double up the protection by wrapping the outside of the compact in something soft. This is a simple trick that will surely save you and your makeup from any troubles.
The Marie Kondo Way
If you are a fan of organizing kits or organizing in general, you must have heard of Marie Kondo. She is a Japanese organizing consultant, author, and TV show host. Kondo has written four books on organizing which have collectively sold millions of copies around the world.
Her method of folding clothes, as illustrated in the picture above, is considered the best way to keep them neat and organized. There’s a reason why she is called an organizational expert!
Pill Cases For Jewelry?
You don’t have to be a Kardashian to enjoy this hack. Anybody who loves any type of jewelry needs to have a pill case. Let us explain why. Who has experienced misplacing or losing jewelry while traveling? It’s so common to leave a ring resting on a bathroom sink or have an earring mysteriously disappear.
Then there are those times when you take a plunge into the water, and instead of hiding your jewelry in a safe place, you forget where you placed it. That’s where these pill cases come in handy. It’s an unusual thing to use, but it definitely serves its purpose.
The Best Method For Packing Luggage
Thank God for these convenient cases that come in handy while traveling. Lightweight and easy to wheel around, they give you maximum space for packing your important belongings. However, there’s a proper way of packing these cases to protect your gear and make them easier to lug around.
The trick is to put the heaviest and hardest item in your luggage at the very bottom. By doing this, not only will it protect the lighter items, but it will make the luggage more stabilized and balanced.
Folding Clothes In Reverse
This trick sounds unorthodox at first, but anyone who has experienced their clothes getting ruined due to leakage from shampoo, perfume, or conditioner bottles will understand the reasoning behind it.
Folding your clothes inside out doesn’t save you space, but it does give them some protection from accidental leakages that may occur despite your best efforts to avoid them.
Marie Kondo 2.0
Here’s another clever tip from a well-known organizing consultant, Marie Kondos. You’ve already seen her method for folding shirts, now let’s check out her tips for folding pants.
The illustration consists of five easy steps that are doable by any age group. The trick is to make sure that the pants are properly straightened out before even starting to fold them. It looks effortless, but you’ll find it takes a certain amount of practice to perfect this method.
How To Perfect The Skivvy Roll
If you are part of the marines, navy, airforce, or any other military group, this ingenious folding method probably won’t be new to you. There was once a time when military secrets weren’t shared with the public, but now, some of their tricks are being published widely on the internet.
The skivvy role is designed to fold a bundle of clothes in the most convenient way. This works perfectly for those who are part of the armed forces since they don’t have the luxury of bringing extra bags or luggage.
Iron Curlers Storage Using Mitts
Ladies, if you are having a hard time storing your hair tools, or if there’s no space in your drawers, a simple trick is all you need. If you accidentally disposed of the box your curler or straightener came in, that’s okay. Though there’s a reason why special boxes are created to hold curlers or straighteners, we have an alternative storage option that’s even better.
You aren’t restricted to using only the box they came in. Try putting your hair tools inside oven mitts. The big portion of the mitt will hold the curler or straightener, while the thumb area is perfect for keeping the cords tidy.
Contacts Case For Makeup Storage
As much as we love traveling, there are strict protocols and rules that we need to follow. If you have a large bottle of foundation, for example, you might not be able to bring it with you in your carry-on luggage as there are restrictions on bottle sizes. However, we have a neat little hack that will take care of your makeup needs while you’re in transit.
Pick up a contact lens case and transfer in enough makeup to get you through the flights. If you still need more makeup, then we suggest picking up more contact cases. Thankfully, they are inexpensive.
Protect Your Backpack
If your vacation includes camping, hiking, or even swimming, then buying this should be on top of your list. Although certain backpacks are indeed made to last, it’s always nice to add another layer of protection. Having a waterproof backpack cover will ensure your gear stays dry while helping your bag last longer.
With a cover neatly fitted onto your backpack, you can eliminate all worries about your gear getting wet or damaged. You can also choose whatever color suits your personality, making it a protective measure and a fashion statement all rolled into one!
Planning Ahead Is Always An Advantage
Picture this: You were able to successfully book your travel, accommodation is set, and the only thing left to do is pack your clothes. Sounds easy, right? If you didn’t plan according to your travel itinerary, however, your suitcase could be a total mess.
Overpacking can cost you more money and weigh you down while traveling. However, if you under-pack, you might not be prepared for the climate in your destination. There’s no need to bring extra shirts or jackets if the place you are visiting doesn’t require it. So, do your research, and pack accordingly!
Always Bring A Laundry Bag
Simple though they may be, laundry bags are key to proper hygiene while traveling. We all have that one friend who doesn’t have a designated compartment for used clothes and garments. We love them, but their luggage always ends up stinky!
If you don’t want to be “that one friend,” it is imperative to bring laundry bags while traveling. In this way, you can easily protect your clean clothes from the dirty ones.
The Secret To Staying Fresh
Another common issue while traveling is the fact that you might get a bit stinky! Since you’re constantly on the go, and you don’t always have the opportunity to take a quick shower, you can end up sticky, sweaty, and smelling not so great. Thankfully, we have an easy hack that will help you stay fresh.
Spraying perfume or cologne can only do so much to mask bad odors. However, a fabric softener sheet can be a lifesaver. They are inexpensive, take up a small amount of space, and can be used to deodorize all sorts of things, including your clothes and shoes.
Prevent Bottled Water From Spilling
Researchers recently conducted a poll about the most common issue encountered while traveling. It’s not surprising at all that liquid spillage was one of the top ten problems on the list.
Thankfully, we have a hack that will save you from having to deal with spillage from plastic water bottles. Placing plastic over the mouth of a water bottle and screwing its cap on will do the job for you.
Belt On Your Button-Down Shirts
If you are on a business trip and you are worried about your button-down shirt getting creased, there’s no need to worry about getting special luggage. You can use your belt to keep the collars of your button-down shirts neat and tidy.
You don’t need special luggage or even big compartments to make sure your shirts stay crisp and neat. This belt trick is another technique from Marie Condo, and it is all you need. Go ahead and share this with your workmates!
Frozen Sponges As Cold Packs
Traveling is fun and exciting, but it’s common to find yourself with a rumbling tummy and no easy access to food. Since you can’t always bring a cooler with you, this clever hack will be your savior.
Keeping foods fresh while traveling is challenging. However, this simple trick will do the job for you. Instead of bringing a cooler, try freezing an unused sponge and putting it in a sandwich bag. This gives you an instant cold pack that will keep your food fresh.
The Mother Of All Packaging Tips
The packing cubes, skivvy rolls, shoe packaging hacks, and Marie Kondo’s innovative folding techniques are great, but nobody tops this space saver type of packaging. If those methods or tricks still leave you space-deprived, compression bags will ultimately do the job for you.
Compression sacks come with a little hand pump that helps remove excess air in clothes to compress them and lessen the space occupied inside the suitcase. No wonder almost 95% of those who travel prefer this method over any other.
The Anti-Tangle Plastic Straw Technique
If you want to be able to bring a few different chains with you on your trip, you’re in luck. These beautiful decorative touches can easily tangle or break in your bag, but if you take advantage of this hack, you’ll never have to deal with a tangled chain again.
There’s a simple way to keep your chains safe. By the way, we are not condoning the use of plastic materials, but if you already have some plastic straws, you can put them to good use. To avoid your necklace from tangling, one end of your jewelry inside the straw until it reaches the other hole, then connect the ends.
Easy Carry-On Cosmetics
Here’s a trick that doesn’t need skill or practice. Who has wasted a lot of time trying to find things inside their luggage? Instead of enjoying your vacation, you spend more time trying to sort through and find things in your baggage.
All you need is to itemize and compartmentalize everything properly with the use of zip lock bags. You can purchase clear pouches like the one in the picture, but zip lock bags work just as well.
Cloth Bags Are A Trend
If you’re the kind of traveler who prefers to pack light, taking everything you need in a backpack, duffle bag, or gym bag, this next tip is for you. While storage cubes are ideal for the shape and size of large luggage cases, cloth bags are perfect for duffle bags and backpacks.
Why use cloth bags? Due to their nature, you can easily alter the shape and form of the cloth bag to make sure it fits its surroundings. This makes them perfect for organizing your packing. For example, you could have all socks and underwear in one bag, all t-shirts in another, and so on. Alternatively, you could pack each outfit of the day into its own cloth bag.
Weighing Your Luggage First Before Travelling
Luggage limits differ depending on the airline you fly with and the type of ticket you purchase. To eliminate your worries about going over the allowable amount and being hit with a massive excess baggage fee, why not invest in a luggage scale?
These scales come in handy and are not pricey at all. We would rather do this than continuously worry about whether we are beyond the weight limit with our bags.
The Half And Half Method
According to studies, travelers tend to pack more than twice as many things as they need. We do this not because we might be extending our vacations but because we want to showcase our favorite clothes. In this day and age where social media is dominating the world, everyone wants to take snapshots in their most stylish outfits on vacation.
Unless you are traveling in a private jet, however, you can’t bring everything. This is where the half and half method comes in. All you have to do is lay out everything you want to bring and then pack half. Doing so will usually ensure you have everything you need without going over luggage limits.
Don’t Forget Your Medicine
Some medications have restrictions on them in certain countries, so it’s important to be prepared. Check out the legalities of what you can bring, figure out how much medicine you’ll need to take with you, and ensure you have all the documentation required.
You can’t be too prepared when it comes to your medication, so be sure to do your due diligence. If you’re taking restricted medications, your doctor may need to provide you with a letter to keep with them.
Buying Travel Adapters
Buying a travel adapter before traveling should be on top of your list. Different countries have different plugs and outlet voltages. Rather than getting a country-specific plug each time you travel, pick up an adjustable travel adapter.
There are many different types of plugs, from Type C to Type J, but it is more economical if you just buy one plug to fit them all. Imagine being in the middle of an important meeting on your business trip and your laptop battery runs out. Save yourself the drama and get a travel adapter before you leave.
Keep Valuables In Your Carry-On Luggage
Whenever you check luggage, there’s always the chance that it may be lost. The chances are slim, and travel insurance can offer some level of protection, but travel experts still recommend putting your precious items in your carry-on bag. This is the best way to ensure your most important items don’t get lost or damaged.
Valuables don’t only mean jewels or money. The term also covers documents, technology, and even your favorite clothing items or a child’s favorite toy.
No Need To Bring Towels
Another costly mistake often made by travelers is to waste precious space by bringing a towel. Whether you’re staying with friends, at a hotel, or in another form of accommodation, you’ll generally find towels are provided.
Bath towels take up too much space, and they add a significant amount of weight. If you happen to be camping or staying in a place that doesn’t provide towels, you’re better off picking up a travel towel as they are light and quick-drying, and they don’t take up much space.