Packing 101: 6 Tips to Improve Your Packing

By Megan Capone      

via: flickr.com/photos/lassec/

What kind of packer are you? If you tend to wait until the last minute and throw anything into your luggage, this article is for you. Here are a few packing tips to help you become an expert packer.

Check the weather. A quick glance before you start packing – and before you make your list even – to make sure that you’re prepared for whatever Mother Nature has in store for your trip. It might make sense to invest in a small umbrella and pack your raincoat if rain is on the horizon. A shawl or wrap is always a good idea for the flight and any chilly moments on your trip.

Make a list. Packing is way too important a task to leave to your memory alone. A list helps you organize everything you’ll need in one place. It’s easy to add items as you go and checking items off your list gives you a mighty sense of accomplishments.

Limit shoes. How many pairs of shoes are you really going to need on your trip? A comfy pair of slip-on sneakers or shoes paired with socks is perfect for travelling – they’re easy to take off and put on at security checkpoints and they are great for sight-seeing and exercising at the hotel gym. If you have dress-up occasions, pack a pair of basic neutral pumps. They go great with everything.  

Remember your plastic. Bags, that is. Plastic zip-up bags have a number of travel uses. Zip up bags can prevent any toiletry leakage issues. It also helps to have a larger zip up bag for dirty clothes and to separate types of clothes for easy packing.

Skip the basics. Some of us are very connected to our favorite shampoo, but if you’re not, why not leave it at home? Most hotels provide basic toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, lotion and cotton swabs so you don’t have to. It’s probably also best to forgo your own hair dryer or iron. Just be sure to call or check the hotel website to confirm that these items will be available.

Watch your weight. Well, not your weight – your luggage’s weight! With airlines trying to squeeze the most cash out of its passengers as possible, it’s entirely likely that you could be charged an extra fee for your over-stuffed bag. Be sure to weigh it before you go with a nifty hand-held luggage scale or try this trick. Step on your bathroom scale and note your weight. Then weigh yourself holding your luggage and subtract your weight from the final weight to get the weight of your luggage. (Quick tip: try to avoid packing jeans – wear them instead – since they are one of the heaviest articles of clothing.)