With summer ending soon that means most vacations are coming to a halt. If you’re taking Labor Day weekend to get all of the summer vacay out of your system then I have a few tips too help make packing not only a breeze but simple so you can concentrate on other things like getting fun events set up for your stay.
Size Up Your Carry-On
You’ll run the risk of paying a big unwanted fee if your bag exceeds your carrier’s size requirements for carry-on luggage. Before you consider which particular suitcase to take, check your airline’s carry-on baggage restrictions to avoid extra fees. Carry-on bag size dimensions vary by airline. New, cutting-edge luggage designs are rolled out every year, but you should stick to the style that suits you. A roll-aboard with soft sides that can be easily laid into an overhead bin allows you to breeze through the terminal on wheels, while a lightweight duffel bag allows you to traverse a variety of terrains.
Make a Checklist
Checklist can be a lifesaver. It can help avoid running around like a crazy person 30 minutes before your trip trying to pack things you forgot. Write down exactly how many shirts, pants and shoes you will need, taking into account the climate of your destination. After you’ve thoughtfully calculated what to bring, cross off each item as you lay it next to your bag, and ignore the urge to add any extra articles of clothing at the last minute.
A general rule of thumb for packing light is selecting neutral shades. If you’re traveling on business, bring along shirts, pants and blazers that complement each other in whites, blacks and browns. If basics aren’t really your style, pick an eye-catching color like red and work around it. Another tip: If you’re traveling for work, bring along a crisp, white-collared shirt. You’ll find it’s easy to mix and match pieces on the road. Plus, you’ll allow yourself extra room for packing casual clothing and heavier items like shoes.
Pack Ahead of Time
It probably goes without saying, but if you pack at least one day prior to your departure, you’ll be far less likely to hastily insert extras that aren’t necessary. Allow yourself enough time to assess the pieces you need. You should lay all your items in a way that allows you to see everything — this will help you lighten your load and prevent you from bringing that extra bathing suit or pair of shoes that you could probably do without. Plus, by starting the packing process early, you’ll give yourself enough leeway to thoughtfully pack your bag instead of trying to balance stuffing your suitcase with scrambling to get to the airport on time.
Compress and Conserve
What’s the secret to bundling it all in? Compiling your bulkiest items into compression packing bags. These helpful bags allow more room for your clothes and other items by reducing excess air. If your trip doesn’t require clunky articles of clothing, skip the space bag and tuck accessories and smaller necessities into larger items. Stuff socks, underwear and belts inside running shoes to save space.
Shoe It In
Before you toss any shoes inside your bag, ask yourself one question: “Do I really need these?” Since you have your outfits picked out, it’s a good idea to see what pair of shoes can match with your outfits and what you can actually wear the day of the trip (that also matches the outfits) to save room in your suitcase. Once you’ve decided which shoes to bring, be sure to place them in your suitcase first and to the side as shoes tend to take up a lot of room. By doing so, you’ll not only maximize your space, but also evenly distribute your heaviest items.
Roll It Up
Instead of folding, start rolling. You’ll be surprised how much room you’ll save if you roll your clothing instead of laying it out flat. Stack the bulkiest items, such as pants and sweaters, into the corners of your bag (after shoes, of course) to distribute weight evenly, and then continue compiling rolled items at the center of your bag.
Save the Lightest Items for Last
Once you’ve bundled the bulkiest articles of clothing inside your carry-on, it’s time to stow lighter items like toiletries. Opt for a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner or a shampoo bar that can double as soap. You may purchase specific toiletries on the road or rely on hotel shampoo bottles to save extra space, too. You’ll also need to reduce your tech gear to the essential travel tools: Must-haves include your cellphone, camera, headphones, chargers and laptop or tablet (if you’re planning to work while on the road).