Tips for Fitting More in Your Bags When You Travel

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We’re blessed to live in an age of readily available planes, trains, and automobiles… And you bet millennials and other lovers of the wanderlust lifestyle are taking full advantage of that! I know I am. Not only does our generation love travel more than ever, but we’ve even gone and put our own spin on the globetrotting lifestyle.

You may be a travel enthusiast, but are you a travel pro yet? Whether you travel for leisure or for work, it’s a lot easier to stay in a happy and productive mood when you prep your stuff (and hence, yourself) well. You don’t want a hopelessly overflowing suitcase; you want a compact traveling companion. Use these tried-and-true tips to fit every single travel necessity in your suitcase – and maybe some stuff you don’t technically need as well!

Train

1. Write a List Before You Start

Have you ever noticed how writing a grocery list before you go to the store can help keep you from buying too much? A similar principle applies to packing. Before you begin, start by making a list of all the casual clothing, electronics, work-related supplies, and other must-bring items. If you’re the kind of traveler who likes to bring some things just for fun (books, cameras, journals, etc.) then go ahead and make a list of those, too!

Pack the stuff on your essentials list first. Then, if you have the space, pack the stuff you want to bring purely for pleasure. Don’t forget to leave some space for gifts and souvenirs as well!

luggage

2. Roll, Bundle or Vacuum-Seal Your Clothes Instead of Folding Them

Folding is, quite possibly, the easiest way to get your clothes ready for a trip. Aside from that, though, this method doesn’t come with many perks. Not only do clothes get wrinkly this way (unless you’re some kind of master of folding), but it’s also near impossible to get an item out without undoing all of your other folded items. The result tends to be a chronically overflowing suitcase.

When packing clothing for your next trip, try rolling your clothing into little tube-like shapes, or folding and then bundling them one outside of the other. When done correctly, both methods should keep your clothing virtually wrinkle-free. These two methods have their pros and cons, too, though: rolling takes care and time to do, while bundling requires that you unfold EVERYTHING just to get at one item.

If you’ve got a mountain-load of clothing to bring, you can also consider vacuum-sealing them in special compression bags. They don’t look very attractive in your suitcase, but they do get the job done.

3. Use Packing Aids to Compartmentalize

Cramming is one way to put as much stuff in your suitcase as possible, but it’s not sustainable, especially on longer trips. As a happier alternative, I suggest that you invest in packing aids. There are plenty of innovative models out there, from cube-shaped compartments to clothing “folders” to flat pouches.

It’s common practice to pack your toiletries in a simple, zippered baggie, but you can get even more organized by designating special compartments for your socks, underwear, chargers, baby supplies, and other small/medium-sized items! Packing aids may take up a little space, but they do help to create a space for everything. That way, you’ll never have to cram again!

4. Bring Travel-Sized Toiletries

sun bed

Travel-sized toiletries can save you a lot of luggage space, and they take no time at all to prepare. Simply pick up these tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and even body wash at the store, or be self-sufficient and create your own by just pumping the amount of lotion, cleanser, or other product that you need into a small container,  such as a contact lens case, a well-sealed Ziploc bag, or a repurposed hand-sanitizer tube.

In the meantime, make sure you know your liquid limits. You don’t want to lose your sunscreen or favorite sea salt spray right before your special trip! You’d be surprised to discover how little product you actually need for a week-long vacay, so use travel-sized options whenever you can.

5. Leave Your Books and DSLR Camera at Home

Books help prevent boredom, and cameras are essential for making memories. Unfortunately, they also tend to be the two bulkiest (and heaviest!) items in your suitcase. That being said, there are alternatives to the stacks of paperbacks and the DSLR camera you may be planning on taking!

DSLR

Instead of physical books, bring a compact e-Reader that has all of your vacation reads downloaded onto it. Rather than lugging an expensive DSLR camera and its accessories with you, try bringing a disposable camera or two instead. Film photography has a bohemian, back-to-basics vibe that will change the way you take vacation photos for good.

Pack Smart to Pack More!

Don’t pack light (unless you’re going backpacking), pack smart! That way, not only do your bags stay organized, but you can also bring more of the stuff you love with you. So go ahead – make some room in your suitcase for your favorite stuffed animal and enjoy a trip that is customized for YOUR unique sense of wanderlust.