A. 30 Best Packing Tips And Travel Hacks – Ultimate 2021 Guide
Whether you’re packing for a short break or a full-day trip, these exclusive packing and travel tips will help you maximize the space in your luggage.
1. Invest in packing cubes
We used to think it wasn’t necessary. We were so wrong! You will be surprised how much you squeeze into these cubes and your shirts, pants, etc. This makes it a lot easier to find items rather than rummaging through your suitcase to find “the” t-shirt. It also means keeping things organized and tidy. We recently switched to Eagle Creek Specter packaging cubes. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, try the highly rated packaging cubes from AmazonBasics. We have been using these affordable packaging cubes for years and they do the job.
2. Wrap your clothes
The roll-versus-fold debate. It is well known that curling takes up less space than folding and also prevents creasing. This also makes it easier to find the item of clothing you are looking for and you can stow things in the additional compartments and compartments in your luggage.
3. Use a light suitcase
It is easy to forget that your suitcase takes up part of its permissible weight. The lighter your suitcase, the heavier you can bring it with you. When packing for air travel with low-cost airlines, you need to pay more attention to this due to the strict weight restrictions. Choose a light suitcase or consider a large backpack. This is generally preferred if you move from place to place every few days or travel to a remote location with gravel roads where carrying a roller bag can be a hassle and damage the wheels.
When choosing a suitcase, we recommend one with 360-degree wheels and a rigid outer case, as well as opting for the best and most popular brands. American Tourister and Samsonite offer some of the best pieces of luggage available, while Amazon Basics is an excellent, lightweight, and affordable option.
4. Create a packing list
Write down all of the things you need to bring for five minutes, and this will save you a lot of time and stress in the long run. It’s so easy to forget little things like a phone charger, pen, or hairbrush. Make a note of everything and mark the items after packing them.
5. Leave half of the packed clothes at home
I have to admit that even when traveling full time with 40 liters of luggage space, I packed too much every time. After you’ve made a packing list, remove half of the clothes there. If you pack something as a “suitcase”, you probably won’t use it.
6. Cut the shoes
Shoes are the bulkiest items you will ever pack. Limit the number of shoes you bring to save a lot of luggage space, especially if you are packing for air travel. Bring a good pair of sandals that can also be used as nightwear and a pair of comfortable shoes. Two pairs are really all you need. Consider bringing no paragraphs. I bought high heels on a five week trip to Southeast Asia and ended up not wearing them. Instead, I went for a good pair of sandals as I spent a lot of time walking around.
If you plan to bring heels, consider bringing shorts that weigh less and take up less space. High-heeled shoes are not a good idea if you plan on doing a bit of walking or driving to gravel or cobblestone spots – your ankles will thank you for it. 90% of the time (on vacation and at home) I live in my Birkenstocks or Adidas Ultraboosts. They’re both super comfortable and I can walk around with them all day without hurting my feet. Better still, they’re both unisex, so they’re perfect for everyone. Here is the male version of the Ultraboosts.
7. Tumble dry
Put sheets to dry in your laundry bag to prevent your clothes from smelling, especially if you haven’t been able to wash your clothes for a week or more. Sheets take up practically no space in your luggage.
8. Plastic and zip lock bags
You will never know when it will be useful; when you need a place to store wet swimsuits, dirty clothes, or leaked toiletries.
9. Maximize wasted space
Some effective packing tips to help you use all of the space in your suitcase:
- Store socks in shoes
- Stack the bras and tuck the underwear into the cups to keep fit
- Keep a belt in a collared shirt to keep your shape
10. Pack two complete outfits in your hand luggage
Crossing your fingers in your luggage will not be missing, but when that happens you will be prepared. If you have space, pack your swimsuit, another pair of shoes, and lots of underwear. Also pack all chargers and technical equipment.
11. Get an international travel adapter
If you travel a lot and travel to different countries in one trip, invest in an international travel adapter. They take up less space than multiple adapters from a single country. We have two power banks with two USBs and two sockets for charging phone, laptop, power bank and camera batteries. We used one from Belkin and this one from Joomfeen. Before buying the adapter, check the voltage capacity required for your country of destination, if it differs from your current location.
12. Pack travel items
Don’t worry if you bring full size toiletries. Liquids make up a large part of the weight of your bag, and if you won’t be traveling for months, you probably don’t need to bring the original size with you. These silicone travel bottles from Amazon are great and come in a variety of colors. For even shorter trips, consider filling up spare contact lens cases or testers with creams, moisturizers, and liquid makeup.
13. Keep similar items together
When you’re going through airport customs, the last thing you want to do is rummage through your suitcase for all of your liquids. Don’t be that person who holds the line! Keep everything together in a ziplock bag and it will make life so much easier. This goes for things like cables, camera equipment, toiletries, etc. It just makes it easier when you have something to look for in your suitcase.
14. Place a plastic sheet under the bottle caps
To avoid spillage, put plastic wrap under the bottle caps before screwing on the cap. Then put them in a ziplock bag. This is an easy hack to prevent spills.
15. Take an empty water bottle with you in your hand luggage
After clearing customs, water is incredibly expensive to buy. One of our favorite packing tips for travel is to bring an empty water bottle to fill before boarding the plane.
16. Invest in a travel towel
I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but the Drylite Sea to Summit Travel Towel changed my life. It takes up a fraction of the space of a regular microfiber travel towel and folds down to the size of my hand! Towels take up a lot of space in your suitcase so opt for a travel towel. Be sure to choose one that absorbs water well and does not smell after repeated use.
17. Pack shoes in shower caps
You never know what’s on the bottom of your shoes, so don’t let it touch your bag. Instead, pack your shoes with shower caps (they are sometimes provided in your hotel room) or just opt for a plastic bag.
18. Bring a mini first aid kit
While I mentioned earlier that you shouldn’t bring anything “just in case”, this is an exception to the rule. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, a first aid kit makes things a little easier. Take it with you in your backpack. Remove the packaging from the box to save space.
This is what our mini first aid kit contains (hand-sized):
- Immodium, ibuprofen, paracetamol, lozenges for sore throats and flu / cold tablets
- Antiseptic and antihistamine creams
- Plaster / plaster
- Cotton soaked in alcohol
19. Wear a sarong
Instead of wearing some beach dresses, bring a sarong to disguise. They take up very little space and serve a dual purpose, like carrying your temples to cover your shoulders and knees. Better still, buy one when you are there and keep it as a souvenir when you get home.
20. Get rid of the bulky umbrella or raincoat
Umbrellas and large raincoats are bulky. Forget it and buy a lightweight, pocket-sized raincoat. Don’t be fooled by a jacket that advertises “water resistance” as it can only withstand showers. Instead, make sure you have something waterproof. We thought the Columbia brand was great for waterproof raincoats. Even better, they can be carried in your pocket so they take up almost no space and are easy to carry around during the day. Ideal for hot, humid climates and for colder climates, they can simply be placed underneath.
21. Use bulky items on the airplane
A quick fix for overcrowded luggage is to use your bulky items. This includes a flabby sun hat, a large coat, or thick boots. You can also lose some weight this way.
22. Bring neutral colored clothes
This is an easy way to cut down on the amount of clothing you have to bring with you. Neutral clothing packaging makes matching easier and enables more clothing matches. If you love wearing colors, consider wearing brightly colored dresses that you would wear yourself while sticking to neutral shirts and pants that you can easily mix and match.
23. Choose your clothing fabrics wisely
Another great way to cut down on the amount of clothing you bring with you. Choose breathable and antibacterial fabrics so they don’t smell after a few uses. The sheets are great for hot weather as they are super breathable to prevent overheating. Merino wool is ideal for hot and cold temperatures. Wool is antibacterial so you can wear clothes several times before they smell, and it regulates your body temperature to keep you warm in the cold and cool in the heat. We spend a lot of time in tropical climes and my partner swears by these icebreaker t-shirts. They have long sleeved shirts for colder weather and icebreaker shirts for women too.
24. Pack from bottom to top
It will be easier to turn your suitcase when you pack the heaviest items below. Put shoes and toiletries in the bottom of the suitcase.
25. Take a pen with you in your hand luggage
You will need a pen to fill in the departure / arrival cards on your flight and if you need an address written down on the street by a local resident this can also help.
26. Print out your flight / hotel / tour details
Print it all out if the technology works. If you have everything saved on your smartphone or the hotel has been booked twice, it can be worthwhile to have your reservation information on paper. This is extremely convenient for us in more remote locations. Paper takes up very little space in your luggage and you can recycle it after your flight or when you check in at the hotel.
27. Use a microfiber makeup remover towel
Make-up removal liquid takes up a lot of weight and make-up removal wipes take up space. Opt for a hand-sized makeup remover wipe that can be rolled up. All you need is water so you don’t put chemicals on your face or create waste, which means it’s better for the environment too. For just a few euros you save in the long run. This is the makeup remover wipe that I am using.
28. Pack earplugs, a face mask, and an inflatable travel pillow
Close your eyes when you have a long flight. Hearing protection and a face mask are incredibly compact and can come in handy in a hostel or accommodation in a busy city. Travel pillows take up a lot of space. Choose one that attaches to your carry-on luggage or opt for an inflatable travel pillow. Buy something relatively cheap so you can throw it away if you need extra space. I use the Moldex SparkPlugs, which are designed for use on construction sites. They are extremely comfortable and block almost all noise.
29. Place cotton balls on makeup pallets
Opting for powder makeup instead of liquid makeup will save you a little extra weight. Place cotton balls in the makeup palette to keep it from breaking.
30. Dry your clothes on a hiking rope
Instead of taking a lot of clothes with you, wash your clothes while on vacation. Bring a few teaspoons of laundry detergent or liquid laundry detergent in a small bottle and a travel rope. Buy a clothesline that doesn’t need hooks so it’s super compact.