Packing tips and checklist for the smart traveler – (courtesy of Travel + Leisure)
Throwing a suitcase together may sound like a no-brainer, but we can always offer a few pointers to make the whole process better.
We keep tabs on the latest in packing innovations (like machines that pack your suitcase for you), tips (like how to get your Thanksgiving dinner past airport security), and news (remember the time that man wore all his clothes at once to avoid a checked bag fee…and then passed out from the heat under all those layers?).
Often the best packers are only as good as their luggage, so we also evaluate the newest carry-ons, checked luggage, backpacks, and laptop bags for style, sturdiness, and safety. We love dust bags for storing shoes and separating delicate items of clothing. Travel-sized jewelry holders help make sure necklaces don’t get tangled and rings don’t get lost. And new, high-tech suitcases have charging ports, GPS trackers, and other innovations to make packing less of a chore.
Here’s a great little video of some packing hacks: https://www.facebook.com/travelandleisure/videos/10155304860239073/
T+L editors have also been known to layer dryer sheets in between items to ensure their freshness over longer journeys. For heavy bags, we like to put the weightiest objects on the bottom-end of a wheeled suitcase, which makes it easier to maneuver. Dry shampoo, of course, is a life saver.
1. Distribute weight intelligently
Put heavier items on the bottom of your suitcase. This includes shoes (in shoe bags), rolled jeans, and blazers (folded into dry-cleaner bags). Lighter pieces go at the top.
2. Use bags to organize
Ziploc bags are great for small accessories and toiletries. If you’re not checking, make sure cosmetics are on the top of your packed suitcase, for easy access as you go through security. To protect undergarments from damage (and prying TSA agents), place them in a lingerie bag.
3. Roll your casual clothes
This approach minimizes creasing and maximizes space. It’s best for lighter-weight pieces—cotton shirts, khakis, jeans—not bulkier items like sweaters (see step 4). Put compactly rolled pieces in organization cubes to create extra room. Roll smaller items (yoga pants, socks) and use them to fill in air holes.
4. Fold sweaters and delicate items
Bulky articles should be folded and placed in compression sacks, like the Spacepak Bags from Flight 001. Delicate pieces can be protected from wrinkles by using tissue paper and dry-cleaner bags. Dress shirts and skirts should be folded and separated by tissue paper.
5. Don’t forget the laundry
Bring a laundry sack (or extra-large Ziploc) and stuff it with a few dryer sheets to keep everything smelling fresh. Put it at the back of the suitcase, so that clean clothes are easily accessible during the trip.
One Week Before Takeoff
- Freshen up your suitcases
- Air out your bags before you pack. And next time you put luggage away, leave lavender sachets in the pockets.
- Stock up on storage Bags for small items
Three Days Before Takeoff
- Get your gadgets in order
- Empty memory cards and charge your phone and camera. Consolidate power cords, chargers, and extra batteries in your carry-on (new DOT regulations prohibit putting them in checked luggage). Pick up an electronics charger kit, with adapters that work in other countries.
- Refill necessary prescriptions
- Bring medications with you on the plane; make sure they are properly labeled according to TSA requirements.
- Copy important documents
- Carry paper duplicates of your passport, visa, and itinerary, and e-mail yourself electronic copies. With a password-protected itinerary on Google Docs, close friends and family can keep track of where you are.
- Pare down your travel wallet
- Only bring essential documents: driver’s license, medical insurance cards, passport, and credit cards.
- Alert your bank and credit card companies before you depart, so that they won’t be alarmed by out-of-town charges and ATM withdrawals.
One Day Before Takeoff
- Record the contents of your suitcase
- Take pictures of your clothes, shoes, and jewelry, which will serve as documentation if your bag is lost or stolen. Download the shots onto your home computer, just in case.
Simple Right ??!! We hope you find these tips and tricks helpful.