Packing for a trip or vacation can be fun or a headache especially if you don’t know what to do or where to start.
It has always been my struggle before since I tend to bring stuff that I don’t necessarily need or forget things that I didn’t think I would be needing.
But over time I learned some tips and tricks from the experts that worked for me and I still keep on improving so I want to share those to you and you might want to apply these in your future travels.
Of course, I still have those ‘panic packing’ moments from time to time but nonetheless, I enjoy doing it and I get better and better every time. I even pack maybe 3 or 4 weeks before my trip (lol). Excitement to the highest level.
This will be a general guide that applies to most or should I say my version of an “Ultimate Packing Guide.”
I’m not a packing expert but I try to be organized, minimal and just be comfortable and at ease to bring my luggage anywhere I want.
So let’s get started..
Table of Contents
Plan and Visualize
Well, before you even take those dress out from your closet. Sit back and think about what your trip would be like. This way you’ll have ideas as to what clothes you’ll be wearing and must-haves specifically for that destination.
Planning involves writing them down or if you’re like me I do a bullet list on my notes using my phone. So whenever I have random ideas I just jot them down on my list.
I do research on the destination like the kind of weather, mobility or transportation options, do I need a lot of walking, do I have to go on many transfers, and so much more.
Then, I decide if I’ll go with a backpack or four-wheel luggage.
Normally, I just bring 2 bags- an essentials bag (which is typically a small hand carry) and either a backpack or luggage.
I try my best to be organized as much as possible to the point that I would list everything starting from day one until the last day.
TIP: If you’re traveling by air, always and always make sure to check your airline’s baggage policy. Remember that though there is a typical standard for how many kg/lbs you should be carrying, every airline has their own inconsistencies.
I made this horrible mistake of bringing some ‘not so oversized’ lotions in my hand carry because I didn’t have many pieces to check-in at that time and I was hoping I can get through the security checks, but unfortunately, the scanners are still smarter than you do. So I ended up leaving them at the ‘restricted items box’.
Lesson learned: always read and be in the know.
When making your list, try to ask yourself these questions:
Is it lightweight?
Do I really need it?
Will I use it multiple times or just one time?
Here’s how my checklist looks like:
TIP: Always end by reviewing your packing list especially the essentials (a must!)
Lay It All Out
Now that you have the list, it’s time for you to put them out and start packing.
To keep yourself organized, choose a specific section on your checklist to do first, then move on to the next. This will help you to avoid clutter and mess. I usually start with clothing, accessories, and shoes, then personal care etc.
TIP: Pick out what you need and then cut it in half. Yes, packing is like you’re on a shopping spree! Though you have a list, we still tend to be impulsive and end up overpacking. Sometimes it’s hard because we think that you need it or you know ’just in case’ but more often than not, they don’t usually come up.
Don’t forget our goal here is to be a smart and light traveler, right?
The Color Palette
Actually, this isn’t hard for me since most of my clothes are just black, white and gray(pretty basic, huh).
But recently, I tried playing with different colors to spice up my OOTD and stop from looking so boring.
Though I plan what to wear every day during the trip, sometimes there are unexpected events or situations where I needed to change my whole outfit.
It really helps when you have tops that easily matches with your bottoms and your accessories and shoes as well.
I try to stick to a simple and one color scheme only.
The Rolling Technique
To really save as much space as you can, this technique really works and you’ll be amazed at how much space you can free up on your luggage.
Try to aim for an equal length of your rolls so they perfectly fit inside.
You might think that rolling your clothes and put them in the luggage is pretty simple. Well, you’re wrong.
If you want to save space and at the same time keep your clothes wrinkle-free, you need to properly do it.
Here’s a step-by-step tutorial from Go Expiremental to give you an idea:
Use Packing Cubes
Though I like the idea of rolling than folding, I don’t do that with all my clothes. Packing cubes are a must have for me now, since they can save really a lot of space at the same time keep everything organized.
If you don’t have packing cubes, put the clothes that are easy to wrinkle at the bottom and the lighter and important dresses on top.
TIP: Always leave extra space on your luggage. If you’re like me, I like shopping for souvenirs and gifts. So I always make sure there is enough space for that.
Zip Locks and Extra Bags or Pouches
I use a separate laundry bag or pouch and I put my undies and socks inside. Later on, you’ll be putting them back on to the same pouch anyway.
Turning your clothes inside out will help you to prevent stains or marks which we don’t know exactly how and why it got there. To be safe, use a separate cover or plastic pouch for some of your dresses.
I always wrap my shoes in plastics with my socks inside as well. The socks will help to keep your shoes in shape at the same time, saving space.
TIP: Use dryer sheets to avoid weird smell and to keep everything moist-free.
Toiletries and Personal Kits
I like to keep them in one or two small pouches. And if you only have a carry-on, make sure to use a transparent one so you won’t have to open it for the security guys in case they want to check what’s inside.
If you have liquids, keep the bottle sizes below 100ml or just enough for you to use during the trip.
TIP: Use plastic to cover the top of the bottle to avoid spills.
The Bulky Stuff
If you’re planning to wear coats, thick jackets, boots or anything heavy and bulky, it’s better to wear them on the plane. Not only it will save up a lot of space but it will also help you to keep warm inside the aircraft as well as some freezer-like boarding gates.
As much as we want to be fashionable, wearing comfortable clothes at the airport should always be the priority here. You will go through a lot of security checks and that includes removing this and that.
It’s just inconvenient. So, if it’s not really necessary, it’s better to leave the bulky items at home and stick to warmers like a scarf or a simple coat.
I like to pack my essentials always at the end. There’s a good reason for this, I keep on adding and removing things on my essentials bag.
Anything that you absolutely need at any given time must be in your essential bag or carry on. This saves you from opening your main luggage which you made a lot of effort to stay in place. And you don’t want to be digging and re-organizing your stuff again, right?
That’s it! I hope that you found this guide helpful and if you like it don’t forget to share it with your friends. Sharing is caring!
If you have any other tips, questions or post suggestions, just leave a comment down below.
As always, happy travels!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I personally use.