Many of us take into consideration what we can do to make it to our destination on time. However, it's easy to forget what to do in order to make the most of our time away. Intelligent, planned packing is key in both regards. Packing light and smart can enhance your entire travel experience.
Would you venture out to the grocery store without a list? Go shopping for school supplies or a new wardrobe without thinking about what you need and what you don't? Travel shouldn't be any different.
Don't shove everything you think you might need into a bag at the last minute. You risk far too much that way. From overweight baggage fees to getting stopped and searched by the TSA, it's simply not worth it. Your money and your time are precious.
Take into consideration the key points of your trip. Namely: the duration, the climate of your destination and the places you need to go while you're there. Not much else matters, especially if it's a business trip.
Not only should you make a list, but actually stick to it. Then after you've made your list, give it a go (following the other tips below) and re-edit. If you're only going overnight or less than 3 days, you shouldn't need more than a spacious carry-on. Make an attempt to layer your travel wear, and you give yourself not only more fashion options, but more space.
One way to make packing easier on yourself is with a color palette for your trip. Have fun with it! Are you going somewhere sunny and warm while you live in a colder climate? Maybe you have a couple of pieces in your wardrobe that you don't wear as often that would be perfect for your travel location. Get them out and dust them off!
Maybe you live in LA but you're traveling to New York for an autumn meeting. Why not pull out a few of the more neutral tones in your closet and choose accessories that add pops of color.
Either way, if you decide on a color scheme for the clothes for your trip, you will make packing much easier. A great article from Apartment Therapy wisely suggests first picking a neutral color for the base of your mini wardrobe and selecting your outerwear and accessories in that color, then choosing two other complimentary colors and mixing them in.
If you're struggling to find the perfect palette for your trip, visit Design Seeds. You can browse their palette search and find the perfect set of colors based on destination, theme, time of year and personal preference. Many palettes include neutral tones along with stronger colors. It can be a big help if you're not sure where to start.
One thing not all of us consider is how your luggage can be an accessory. Bags come in so many shapes, sizes and fabrics that you can easily find something to meet your packing needs and give a strong nod to who you are.
If there isn't room in your budget for new luggage, you can still adapt your existing luggage to match your fashion taste. If you're crafty, why not create an eye-catching bow out of scraps of fabric that speak to you and sew it onto your bags. Find some embellishments that you can add or maybe a piece of embroidery to attach.
The more apparent that your luggage is absolutely yours, the less time you'll spend scanning the luggage carousel. If you can spot your bags right away, all you have to do is grab them and go.
Once you've selected the clothes for your trip and found the right luggage that represents you it's time to get it all in the suitcase. Remember to do a dry run at least 24 hours before you leave. It really will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run.
Unless you're traveling with a full length ball gown, the best thing to do is roll your clothing and fabric accessories. Before you start putting everything in, double check and make sure that the inside of your bags is completely clean. You don't want to risk there being an old ink pen, crumbs or leftover toiletries in there that could harm your wardrobe.
Start with your bottoms - pants and skirts - as well as any dresses. It's best to put larger, bulkier items in first. For pants, lay them flat on a table or other hard surface. Fold them in half long way, smooth them out, then roll them tightly from the bottom. Do the same for skirts and dresses, then put them in your bag.
For shirts, again lay them flat and smooth them out. Fold in the arms and a couple of inches on each side so that you have a rectangle. Then starting at the neck, roll your shirts up tightly. If you have buttoned shirts, roll them from the bottom instead, making sure that the buttons are facing out. Place your shirts on top of and around the clothing already in your bag.
Finally, roll up the accessories that you can and place them inside. If your luggage has a pouch, use it for your underwear. Otherwise, roll those up as well and place them on top of and around your clothing. If you've wisely invested in a travel jewelry box, you know your non-cloth accessories are safe and sound as well.
If you are only using a carry-on for your trip, be mindful of the limitations on carrying liquid. Shampoo, body wash, hair products, face wash...these all count as liquids. Any container with liquid in it must be 3.4 oz. or less and put inside of a clear plastic bag.
Mini-sized toiletries are the way to go. If you don't want to shell out the money for the travel size duplicate of all your toiletries, purchase several 3 oz. plastic containers and fill them with what you already have at home. Just be absolutely sure that you are not going over the container size limit.
If you absolutely need larger amounts of everything with you, then you should definitely check your bags. The TSA does allow for larger sizes of liquids for checked baggage only.
This is where the packing dry run comes in especially handy. If you test out everything fitting in your luggage, but you don't weigh it to see if it meets the airline's standards, then all your planning will be for nothing.
After you've packed your luggage, make sure that absolutely everything - toiletries, appliances, shoes - are inside, and weight yourself holding the bags on a scale. Then simply deduct your weight.
Different airlines have different weight limits on luggage. For carry-on bags, the weight limit could be as low as 11 pounds and the checked luggage limit could be as low as 20 pounds. Make sure that you check with the airline you are traveling on so there aren't any surprises when you get to the gate.
If you plan ahead and follow these steps, there's no reason why your trip coming and going shouldn't be a total breeze!