5 years ago, we imagined a business built on the type of travel that we love – story driven, community based, built on direct relationships and a commitment to respecting provenance. Passion aside, there’s a lot about the practicality of travel that adds more stress than necessary: namely the packing process. What do you bring? What do you leave home? How do you avoid buying unnecessary (and expensive) things at your destination?
Here are 10 things you can do to save your space, energy, and time for when you head off to your next travel itinerary:
1. Pack staples that you can mix and match
Similar to the concept of the capsule closet, packing staples that you can mix and match while at your destination is crucial if you want to lighten your load. Staples include plain shirts, jeans, cardigans or sweaters, leggings, and jackets.
Although some travelers advise to plan all outfits beforehand, we know that we probably won’t be able to stick strictly to these plans once we reach our destination. By packing staples that you can coordinate flexibly with each other, you can both avoid the hassle of overpacking and having to plan your outfits carefully beforehand.
Check out this website for more packing tips on mixing and matching a limited number of clothes while traveling.
2. Snap out of the “what if” mentality
We admit–we’ve all had that moment of panic where we think we need to pack everything we own in a suitcase in preparation for a long trip. But chances are, we probably don’t need to pack two formal dresses if we’re going on a hiking tour, and we won’t need winter boots to go to a country that’s not expecting snow. It’s always important to be prepared, but it’s also important to be realistic in our preparations. Let go of the “what ifs,” and instead use your research skills to guide your packing process.
For more specific advice on how to combat this, see packing tip number 8 below.
3. Research your destination well
Which leads us to our next piece of advice, research your destination well. Not only will this help with your packing, but will also allow you to maximize your traveling plans. Some important research you should do beforehand include research on the location you’ll be staying in (i.e. Are there hospitals near your hotel? Are there shopping areas located nearby?), the weather, and the news. The more knowledge you have, the better prepared you’ll be in case something happens while you’re traveling.
4. Bring travel size everything
Although travel-size products are convenient, they’re usually overpriced and they’re unsustainable. Instead, we recommend that you buy a refillable kit that you can use over and over again. Travel size also doesn’t have to be limited to liquids like lotions and shampoos, you can also get travel-sized makeup, hairbrushes, scissors, and even blow dryers.
Check out The Luxe Adventure Traveler for tips on how to find the best refillable travel kits.
5. Make a checklist (and check it twice!)
One of the easiest (yet most important) ways to make sure that you don’t overpack is to make a list. This will allow you to physically tick off things that you need and don’t need so that you won’t be frantically shoving things into your suitcase at the last minute. Lists will also allow you to double-check if you’ve packed everything you need right before you leave your house.
6. Cut the footwear
According to USA Today, the golden rule for packing footwear is to limit it to three pairs. Usually this means one for walking/physical activities, one for dressing up, and one miscellaneous pair. Shoes take up more space than we think in a suitcase, so limiting it to only two or three pairs will allow you to save a lot of space when traveling. On a related note, shoes also serve as great small compartments where you can stuff your socks, underwear, and other small items to save space.
7. Use packing cubes or roll clothes up
Packing cubes, or flat, zippered containers for your clothes, will not only let you stay organized, but will also help you save much space in your suitcase. Other options include compression bags or vacuum bags that can also drastically minimize the amount of space your clothes take up in your suitcase. If you don’t want to purchase extra items, rolling your clothes up tightly will also help you make space (as compared to folding them as per usual).
Click here for a tutorial on how to roll your clothes to fit your limited suitcase.
8. Pick out what you need, and get rid of half
A rather drastic piece of advice that frequent travelers give is to “pick out what you need first, then get rid of half.” While this may seem like a daunting task, the point of this activity is to go all out (including getting into that “what if” mentality) but then calmly reviewing what you need and what you don’t need.
Here’s a list of things you should never pack.
9. Avoid packing too many electronics
Chances are, you don’t need to bring your phone, iPad, laptop, Kindle, and all of their chargers while traveling. Keep your electronics to a minimum, and take this as an opportunity to unplug from your devices.
10. Start packing early
Finally, the best packing tip we can possibly give you–start packing early. Packing early not only will give you a peace of mind, it’ll also give you the opportunity to edit the contents of your suitcase many times over for maximum efficiency. In fact, most of the advice we gave you here won’t work if you don’t start early! Make sure you’re prepared at least hours in advance of your flight so that you don’t risk overpacking in panic.
Now that we’ve given you advice about packing in general, here’s a master-list for all your specific travel needs:
Packing a carry on:
Packing for summer weather:
Packing for winter weather:
Packing for transitional weather:
Minimalist packing tips:
(More) sustainable packing tips:
If you have any more that we’re missing, go ahead and leave your packing tips and tricks in the comment section below.