Packing smartly may be the most important activity when travelling abroad. A well-packed bag means that you’re organized, unencumbered, safe, and most importantly, ready for any situation. Below, we’ve listed top packing tips that make any adventure a walk in the park.
Roll and fold accordingly
Rolling clothes and folding multiple items together is an incredible way to save space. Rolling works particularly well with pants, skirts, and T-shirts—lay the article face down, fold the sleeves inward, and roll from the bottom up. When folding clothes together, take two or more garments and fold half of one piece over half of the other, and so on. It’s intuitively satisfying to have a bag that looks like the New Arrivals section at the Gap, but proper rolling and folding techniques will save you a lot of space.
Pick the right luggage
Many travel bags these days are equipped with simple but innovative features that make packing easy. Compression straps maximize space and make a mountain of clothing manageable. Separate compartments for suits and dress wear keep special clothes clean and wrinkle free. And pouches for computers, tablets, and phones save space while keeping your valuables secure.
Use packing cubes
Packing cubes are organizational miracles. They condense your stuff, separate the dirty from the clean, and allow you to clearly organize your belongings based on when and where you may need them over the course of a given trip. Some packing cubes even convert to bags themselves, thus becoming the perfect purse or backpack when out in nature or about town.
Split up your valuables
Wallets, passports, computers, tickets, cash, travellers’ cheques—whatever—pack each of these items in different compartments of your luggage that aren’t easily accessible. Most theft takes place in seconds; thieves want to evacuate the scene of the crime as quickly as possible. By splitting up your valuables, you have a better chance of being prepared in a worst-case scenario.
Wear the heavy stuff
Shoes, boots, and coats take up a lot of space and are no fun to carry. If these items are essential to your trip, try to wear them on the plane, bus, train, or what have you.
Understand your backpack
If you’re travelling with a backpack, remember that it rests on your lower back, so placing lighter items at the bottom will make the bag feel lighter. It’s also a good idea to place the items that you use the most on top for accessibility, while packing things like dirty laundry on the bottom.
Do you really need that?
Sometimes packing smartly is knowing what not to pack. How often have you returned home only to find that half of the stuff in your bag wasn’t even touched on your trip? And if you don’t mind spending a little bit more money, items like toiletries, snacks, and medicine—even socks and underwear—can be purchased abroad. It’s good to be prepared, but what are the chances that you’ll use that extra pair of flip-flops or heavy-duty flashlight? Know what you need.