In Part 1 of this article (Planning a Trip? Try These Clever Packing Tips), there was a link to the “Comprehensive Packing List” I use when traveling. I also explained the purpose for some of the items that sound odd or questionable. Believe me, that list has been invaluable! In Part 2, I’m sharing a few packing hacks I’ve learned through the years. So, let’s get started:
- Instead of folding your clothes, roll them. They’ll have fewer wrinkles and creases, and will take up less room in your suitcase.
- If you’re going on a cruise or visiting a resort, read up on the dress codes — for daytime as well as nighttime.
- If you’re traveling to a cold-weather destination, it’s best to layer. Wear lighter-weight tops with sweaters and/or jackets. If it warms up during the day, it’s so much easier to remove a few layers.
- When taking longer trips, pack only 1/2 of what you’ll need. Halfway through your trip, wash your clothes so they’re ready for the second half of your trip. If you’re taking a cruise, check with the cruise line to see if your particular ship has a self-serve laundromat. If not, laundry cleaning specials are usually offered during the cruise. It’s a lot cheaper to pay for the laundry service than to pack an additional suitcase and pay for it to accompany you on a flight.
- Always “cross pack.” Pack some of each person’s clothing (be sure to match outfits) and shoes in each suitcase. If one suitcase gets lost, everyone still has clothes.
- Put all liquids in a Ziploc plastic bag, then into another Ziploc bag. Should a bottle leak, your clothes won’t be destroyed.
- In Part 1 of this article, I mentioned using a backpack as your carry-on bag. Your carry-on bag should definitely include anything you can’t live without for a few hours, or even a few days (if your suitcase is lost). Prescriptions and valuables should be at the top of that list. Valuables such as jewelry, credit cards, cash, passport, laptop, and cell phones should never be packed in your suitcase (this is to avoid the possibility of theft – it does happen on occasion.) If your cruising, sometimes it takes a while for your luggage to arrive at your cabin, so it’s not a bad idea to include a swimsuit w/ cover-up, camera, a few toiletries, and a change of clothes. And, you’ll have those things if your suitcase doesn’t reach you for a couple of days (it’s rare, but it does happen).
- Don’t pack your shoes empty. To make the most of the room in your suitcase, stuff your shoes with small items, or you can even roll up a t-shirt and stuff it in there. Make use of every nook and cranny!
- I am so excited I discovered wrinkle releaser. This stuff works great! Just spray on the wrinkle, smooth it with your hand, and when it dries, the wrinkle is gone! This stuff is good on virtually all fabrics.
- When you’re putting together outfits to be worn on the trip — whether for yourself, your husband, or your kids — take pictures. For instance, take a picture of the complete outfit you are planning to wear – include both the blouse/shirt and the shorts or pants. Do this with each of the outfits. Then print out four pictures to a page and bring the pictures with you. When it comes time to pull out an outfit, you don’t have to ask yourself, “Was I going to wear this blouse or that blouse with these shorts/pants?” All you have to do is look at the pictures and you’ll know exactly what you planned. In the picture, you can take it a step further by including the shoes and jewelry you’re planning to wear as well. In doing this, there’s no second-guessing yourself — those decisions are already made.
Would you believe I did this for my husband, as well as myself? At first he thought I was crazy, but quickly learned to appreciate it. Each morning when it was time to get dressed, he’d look at his pictures and decide which outfit he wanted to wear. He said it made things so much easier. (It’s kind of like taking ‘Garanimals’ to another level!)
There’s another advantage to having these pictures. If possible, do this ahead of time when you have more time on your hands and you can think more clearly. When it comes time to pack, all you’ll have to do is look at the pictures and you’ll know exactly what to pack — and it won’t take as long!
- Another take on the idea above is one that a friend of mine does for her kids. She actually puts each entire outfit in a Ziploc bag. When it’s time for her child to get dressed, he just pulls out one of the bags and everything he needs is in there!
- And now for my latest finding! You know how sometimes when you’re packing, your suitcase isn’t completely full? And when it’s not full — even though you use those elastic straps to hold your clothes from getting all jumbled up — your suitcase is in chaos when you open it? Well, just put some layers of bubble wrap in there to take up the empty space! Then, when you’re packing to return home, you’ll have extra space for the souvenirs you’ve purchased. Plus, if necessary, you have bubble wrap on hand for any breakables you bought. Any bubble wrap you don’t need for the return trip, just pop (bonus!) and throw in the trash can!
Traveling is so much fun, and by getting yourself just a little organized and using these packing hacks, it can be a lot less stressful. If you’ve learned some any packing hacks, please email me, I’d love to hear about them. Who knows — there may be a ‘Part 3’ to this article! Happy travels…and be safe!
Image via Flickr by Elitatt
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