As a woman who travels a lot, I’ve had to learn how to cut back on what I bring. With airlines such as United Airlines getting stricter about their carry-on regulations and airports in general enforcing tighter security, it is especially important that you know how to avoid overpacking. There are certain essentials for any trip that you’ll want to make sure you include, but if you follow these tips, I think you’ll find that there are many items you can afford to leave behind.
If you’re traveling on a plane you should, of course, be aware of the carry-on limitations, such as the maximum dimensions for carry-on bags (9”x 14”x 22”), prohibited items, and the liquids rule established by the TSA. Nevertheless, whether you’re escaping for a week-long getaway to an exotic destination or just an overnight trip, there are some general guidelines you can follow for a smarter, less-stress packing experience. Why lug a giant suitcase around and practically throw your back out hoisting it into your trunk or onto the baggage check conveyor belt when you end up using only half of what you brought? Follow these simple tips and you’ll be an expert packer in no time!
- Tip 1: Plan your outfits ahead of time for every day of your vacation and pack one extra. Instead of aimlessly throwing shirts and pants into your suitcase, actually put pieces together and pack one extra outfit just in case of an emergency (spills, rips, etc.). Certain pieces of clothing, such as jeans, can be worn more than once. You will save yourself a lot of space and also a lot of anxiety over whether or not you’ve remembered everything if you plan ahead.
- Tip 2: Make a list. Again, to save yourself from unnecessary stress, make a checklist of everything you absolutely need for your trip. If you’re unsure about something, then you probably don’t need it, but if it helps, you can divide your list into sections- definitely and maybe, for instance- and cross off items as you go.
- Tip 3: Check the weather before you go. There’s no sense in taking up extra space and weight in your suitcase with heavy, bulky clothing if it’s going to be 80 degrees and sunny wherever you’re going. There’s a glorious invention called the internet that allows you to check the day-to-day weather predictions several months into the future.
- Tip 4: Use organizers. Organizers are your travel buddy when it comes to efficient packing- this is what they were made for! Use a separate pouch for your toiletries, makeup, and jewelry to save space and keep your things organized.
- Tip 5: Give yourself plenty of time. Trust me, you do NOT want to make the mistake of scrambling to pack your bags an hour before you have to leave to catch your flight. That just creates unnecessary stress! Have your bag completely packed (zipped and ready to go) at least the night before you leave so you won’t impulsively toss in excessive items in your haste to leave on time.