Smart Packing Tips

My suitcase for Ireland. Notice the roll!
My suitcase for Ireland. Notice the roll!

Everyone dreads it and waits 'til the last minute to do it, but packing is an essential part of traveling. For any of you who claim to be experts at it, I would love to hear from you because I'm always looking for new ideas on how to make it easier. Despite how often I travel I still struggle at it, but along the way I've picked up some helpful tips and tricks to get the job done. And I'm proud to say I've never had to pay extra for my bag being overweight. So, here you are:

  1. Choose your suitcase first and make it smaller than you would think you need. If you go the other way around (pick your clothes first, then the bag to fit it all), you're doomed. And if you choose the biggest bag you've got because you will be gone for an extended length of time, you might as well just fork your wallet over to the airlines now.
  2. Don't wait 'til the last minute. Why? Because if you start a few days in advance, you can go back to your pile later and realize you might not need that 3rd pair of white jeans. I promise, it works. Just like writing a long paper, it's good to take breaks.
  3. Roll, roll, roll. It seriously makes that big of a difference. And your clothes are less wrinkled, usually. My friend and fellow travel enthusiast Sara, has seemed to perfect this technique and actually packs a smaller bag than her husband (eh em, a carry-on for a 2 week trip, seriously?!). Check out her blog post on that here.
  4. Stuff small items inside shoes, like your socks and underwear. It really is all about maximizing space.
  5. If you plan on being active on vacay, bring a pair of old sneakers and leave them at your destination. Hey, we all love to free up space for souvenirs!
  6. Although this is pretty intuitive I can't stress enough to bring samples or travel sizes of your cosmetics. We all have that collection of goods sitting in our drawer that Sephora gives us Beauty Insiders or the bonus goods Kiehl's throws in the bag to urge you to try more products. Well traveling is the perfect time to use those up and save on space.
  7. Last but not least, invest in a luggage scale. They are inexpensive and totally worth the expense of not being surprised at the airport. Those extra airline fees add up quickly! Just make sure it does both kg and lb. You know, for when you're traveling internationally.

Have anything to add? I'd love to hear it!