This is not another typical how to pack guide. This is a method for systematically packing quickly and efficiently for every single trip. whether it’s a business trip, a road trip, or a weekend getaway – This how to pack guide will ensure you will have an easy time going through this boring task.
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Whether you’re starting with a carry-on or a full suitcase, packing is not an easy task. You probably forget at least one essential thing while over-packing stuff you don’t need. And that’s just the start – your luggage won’t close, you can’t find your things when you arrive at your destination and when you pack your stuff back – things won’t fit!
Well, I say no more – it’s time to fix the system and create an easy to follow guide.
Personally, I think most guides on how to pack are too simplistic. Not every single vacation and person are the same, so I don’t like the approach of telling you exactly what to pack. I’m more into teaching a good method to pack specifically for your destination every single time. This method has worked great for me consistently for many trips.
Plan Your Trip In Advance
Once you know where you’re headed to, it’s much easier to know what you should pack.
Being spontaneous can be great (said the most organized person ever), but it makes packing more complicated.
Make general plans of what you’re going to do on your trip:
- What are you planning to do?
- Is this a work trip? In that case, will you go out to explore off work hours?
- Which sites are you planning to see?
- Are you going out at night?
- Will you be participating in physical activities such as hiking?
Ask yourself these questions every time you plan a trip.
When you have your general plans, try and make a daily schedule. Having a schedule will make things simpler – you will be able to continue to the next step and plan your outfits.
Plan Your Outfits
I used to pack by intuition, by what I loved the day of packing, but too many times I haven’t packed enough, or even worse – I packed way too much. Once I started planning specific outfits for each occasion, it was a lot easier to omit the unnecessary.
After creating your trip schedule, you should write down exactly what you’re planing to wear each day. With the answers from the last step and the schedule you’ll be able to do so easily.
For example – I had recently visited Napa Valley for 4 days. I created a schedule and then wrote down what I’m planing to wear during the day and another outfit for night since the weather was different during day and night. I literally wrote each outfit down– a T-shirt, ripped white jeans, brown sandals. I didn’t generally plan it in my head. That way I ensured I won’t forget anything and that I’m packing the right clothes.
Create Outfits Around Basics
Especially if you’re traveling for more than a few days, you should plan your outfits around basics that you can incorporate in more than one outfit.
Don’t create unique outfits that its pieces don’t match other pieces in other outfits.
If you’re not able to plan outfits in advance, pack basics, neutral and versatile clothes.
Read more: Summer capsule wardrobe.
Follow A Packing List
After planning your schedule and your outfits, create a packing list, so when you gather your items, you won’t forget any.
A week before leaving, I always get stressed and make plans in my head, but if I don’t write it down, I forget! That’s why I went back to the beloved old system of actually going through a list! It actually works.
You should have an essential list and a trip-specific list.
Each trip calls for a different amount of the basics – you can use the same packing list and just change the amount of things you pack.
For example, I had my outfits written down for my recent trip, and then I filled my packing list with 6 tops and 4 pants.
Use Travel Sized Toiletries
It saves space, it’s more convenient and if your forget something – no worries.
You can try and purchase your favorite products in travel size, but not all products come in travel size and it’s the more expensive option.
I suggest to get empty, reusable bottles and label them. There are many options for your needs, just choose your favorite kind and you’ll never have to worry about toiletries again. These are my favorite reusable toiletries containers and I even found this cool perfume container on amazon! You can easily transfer your own perfume to the travel size container and not worry about TSA.
If you’re packing only a carry-on, you might want to consider getting a TSA approved clear bag for your toiletries.
Use A System
Having a good system is essential to packing. If you throw all your stuff inside and expect it to just be organized – things are not going to work out for you. There are many systems you can choose – using packing cubes, rolling your clothes, folding, bundling, air-compression, packing by category, packing by outfit, and more, much more. After reading an article about comparing between the systems, I had to agree that combining them is the only answer.
Being aware to all the systems is great since you can choose which one to use in each occasion. Some systems will work better for a suitcase and some will work better for a carry-on.
For example, I think air compression is good for a carry-on since the weight is not an issue, and packing cubes are great for a suitcase when it’s hard to stay organized with a big space.
More tips for fitting things in your suitcase:
- Fill unused spaces with small items.
- Roll up socks, underwear, and other small items and stuff them inside your shoes and bags.
- Use the space between the metal bars of the suitcase first and create an even layer above it.
- Use shower caps for shoes or get these shoe bags.
Be Prepared To Repack
Arrange your items in a way that are easy to unpack but also easy to repack. For example, a cube system with hangers is really easy to unpack in your room’s closet and also to repack when done. A hanging toiletry bag is also nice to have and easy to use.
Another item that I like to bring with me are these netted laundry bags. I place my laundry neatly in them, so when I get home, I unpack them straight to the machine without the effort of separating it from the clean cloths.
Take Extra Of The Necessities
When I was backpacking with a friend, we landed in Panama City in the middle of the night and our luggage has just disappeared. They arrived eventually, after about two hours. But it really made me scared ever since!
In case you check your suitcase and don’t take a carry-on, I recommend taking extra of the important stuff with you. In case your luggage goes missing, you will have extra medication, underwear, etc.
I also carry a charger with me, even for short flights, just in case.
Check Your List One Last Time
So yeah, make sure you packed everything in your list. It will take you only a few minutes and it’s totally worth it.
That’s it, you’re ready! You are now an officially pro packer.
I hope my how to pack guide and system will help you in your future trips. I would love to hear what are some of your favorite packing tips and hacks so please share 🙂
Read more about organizing and travel:
Cabo San Lucas – a perfect weekend
How to maintain a minimalist wardrobe
Love your tips. Now that i’ll be travelling about twice a year to the office, will definitely keep these tips in mind.
I would have never though to use a cube system with hangers. That is a very interesting tip, thank you!
I love that one, it makes things faster.
I’m absolutely excited about these tips to help me pack more efficiently! I travel so much and would love to streamline my packing.
Hey Daisy, I’m glad you liked my tips 🙂
I am definitely a last minute packer, and when you are packing for 2 adults and 4 kids it gets overwhelming. I will definitely have to try these tricks.
Hey Kayle, packing for 6 sounds crazy! I hope my tips will come to use.
These are great tips! Those shoe bags are adorable, I’m going to get some. Now if unpacking were just as easy!
Hey Jessa, if you use the laundry bags in advance, unpacking becomes so much easier! Good luck 😉
Thank you for the tips. It’s summer now and I am going to visit a lot of places. These tips would be super helpful.