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Savvy Packing Tips For a Hassle Free Travel Experience

If you want to become a seasoned traveler, you need to learn how to pack efficiently. Not only will this save you money at the airport by avoiding over-weight limit costs, but you’ll be able to travel lighter while ensuring you still have everything you need.

How many times have you packed for a trip or vacation only to discover you didn’t really need or use half of what you brought with you? It’s easy to over-pack or include unnecessary items because you haven’t carefully planned out your trip.

Here are a few tips to help you become a savvy packer:

A backpacker on top of the mountain enjoying the sunrise

Purchase a Travel-Savvy Backpack

Whether you plan to check luggage or not, a travel-savvy backpack can help you bring the essentials while saving weight and room in your suitcase. Backpacks will fit into carry on storage compartments while giving you one centralized place for all of the important documents you need throughout your travel.

Plus, a backpack just makes traveling easier, freeing your hands and helping you better navigate. This is especially true if traveling Europe with cobblestone roads that will tear up even the highest quality suitcase wheels. When choosing a backpack, make sure you invest in a high-quality travel-ready bag. You’ll end up paying more for it upfront but if you select a high-end bag you’ll never have to buy another one again. You want your backpack to be flexible in size and shape with comfortable straps and even weight distribution.

Roll Your Clothes

This is a packing hack I discovered years ago and it saves me a ton of space in my bag but it also surprisingly helps decrease wrinkles in a lot of my clothing. Simply roll your shirts and pants into burrito-style packages to save room and fit more into your luggage.

Group your Luggage

This tip came from an experienced flight attendant who wanted to make sure she got through customs quickly during each leg of her flight.

By segmenting your luggage, you are placing all liquid items into separate plastic bags, grouping your luggage by type. This will make it a lot easier if you’re asked to open your luggage for quick inspection through customs.

Pack a Pen or Pencil with a Thin Notebook There will be plenty of times you’ll likely require a pen during your travels, including when filling out custom and immigration forms.

Pack pens in a Ziploc bag so prevent them from leaking, or bring extra pencils in the event one breaks or snaps. Not only will a pen or pencil be handy when it comes to filling out required travel documents but you can use it to jot down reminders, notes or when asking someone for directions. Choose a Colorful Suitcase

This is a great tip, especially when you travel a lot and find that you’re spending a lot of time looking for your luggage on the carousel.

By choosing an unusual color or pattern when buying a suitcase, you’ll be able to easily spot it at the airport. And make sure you add a luggage tag to your suitcase that includes your full name and address should you lose your luggage.

Airport Carousel colored like a roulette
airport carousels can be confusing, and can sometimes make it hard to find your luggage

Pack Chargers with Devices

Whenever possible, keep chargers with associated devices. If your luggage is lost or delayed, at least you’ll still be able to use the devices carried in your day bag. Be Careful with Over-the-Counter Medications

While certain medications are permitted into some countries, you’ll want to double-check before bringing any medication with you. Some areas, such as Japan, don’t allow common medications like Sudafed into their country.

Tape Bottle Lids

Tape the lids of bottles closed before travel to protect against potential leakage. Just a piece of masking tape will do the trick and you can easily remove it when you settle in.

Also, keep in mind that visiting higher elevation areas like Nepal or North India can cause toiletries to be under pressure; they’ll spray when you open them. Plus, those reusable plastic bags will come in handy during your travels.

Consider Lithium Batteries

If you need to pack batteries, consider lithium as they are lighter and often last longer. One thing to keep in mind however is that many airlines require that lithium batteries be carried on board and not checked into luggage. Choose Powder Over Liquid

Whenever possible, choose powder based options over liquid. This includes things like deodorant and laundry detergent. Powder is a lot lighter and will help you reduce weight. Above all else, don’t pack to capacity. Ideally, you should pack at least a week before you’re set to leave. That way you have time to reconsider items, organize as needed and not be stressed out packing last minute (which will also increase your chances at forgetting something!). So, start packing at least 5 days in advance. Packing is best done modularly. Try to pack in "kits" based on need. If your luggage is even remotely close to capacity, you’ll want to set it on a scale to ensure it’s not over the weight limit.

Don’t go into survival mode! Pack only what is necessary. No bloat bags. The last thing you want is to be charged an extra $50-100 at the airport because you failed to double-check weight limits.

Also, remember to leave room for souvenirs or gifts you may buy while traveling.


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