How to Pack Like a Pro for Your Next Trip

Being a master packer is something that most of us can never figure out. Here are some tips to help you pack optimally so you can breeze through your travels without stress. By Kat Velayo-Greenberg

How to pack like a pro
Always forgetting something to pack or do you bring way too much stuff?

Travel is a huge part of living your #bestlife. But being a master packer is something that most of us can never figure out. Who hasn’t been on a trip where they had way too much or forgot something they really needed? Here are some tips to help you pack optimally so you can breeze through your travels without stressing over having the right stuff.

The perfect bag

Having the “perfect” bag really depends on your preferences and travel plans. There is no bag that is perfect for everything, but there is a bag that can be perfect for you, wherever you are going or whatever kind of activities you will do.

In general, bags that are cleared to be carried on the plane are the most convenient. For most trips, limiting yourself to carry-on allowance will prevent you from over-packing, help you get around more easily, and save you money as most airlines charge for checked baggage. The most commonly used dimensions for allowable carry on are 22″ x 14″ x 9″, but always check your airline’s rules since cabin allowance is different for every airline.

Next, decide on whether you prefer a backpack or a rolling carry-on suitcase. Sporty types who love adventure travel will prefer a backpack – they weigh less allowing you to pack more, and they allow you to move around different kinds of settings more easily. Those who don’t feel strong enough to carry a lot on their backs and prefer a more relaxed kind of travel love rolling suitcases – they are also easier to pack and to dig through when you need something. (You can pack a smaller bag to carry your day-to-day stuff, leaving the suitcase or big backpack in the room.)

Double duty

Items that can be used for more than one purpose can seriously cut down on the number items on your packing list. A Turkish peshtemal or inabel towel can serve as a towel after bathing, a sarong at the beach, or even a blanket or shawl when you’re cold. A small pouch can be used as a packing organizer, and as a beach wallet when you get to your destination. A chambray button-down shirt can be a top and also a light jacket on top of a sleeveless top.

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Plan your wardrobe

When planning your travel clothes, you should visualize putting together a capsule wardrobe. This means that every piece should work with every other piece so that you can put together endless outfits from just a few items. Start from a foundation of basic tops and bottoms in neutral colors, then build on that with accessories and other clothing items that can add a pop of color or flair. These accessories should be in colors and patterns that work with each other too.

Depending on your plans, bring at least one nice outfit (fancy separates can serve double duty with more casual pieces), more tops than bottoms (since bottoms can be re-worn), a pair of dressy shoes, a pair of comfortable walking shoes, and one pair of sport shoes if you expect any rugged adventures.

Pack for 7 days

No matter how long your trip is, try to limit your packing to enough items for seven days. Wherever you travel in the world, you will be able to find places to do laundry so there isn’t any need to pack for more than a week. You can help this by not packing anything delicate. And some items, like underwear, can be washed and air dried in a private bathroom.

Depending on the weather and the kinds of activities you have planned, many clothing items can be worn several times before they need to be washed so you can probably go longer than a week before you actually need to do laundry.

Edit your selection

Make a packing list so you can think through the things you will need, and then gather those items. Before you pack, lay it all out on your bed or on the floor. Not only does this give you an opportunity for a cool, flat lay insta photo, but this will also allow you to see all your supplies at a glance.

Once you’ve taken stock of your baggage to make sure you have everything on your list, remove items you probably won’t need. That leopard print blouse might be fabulous, but will it really go with any of your other clothes? Sure, that third book might give you reading options, but will you have time to finish the first two?

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Pack like a pro

Two folding tips favored by pros are rolling or flat packing. You can either roll your clothes into tubes or layer your clothes on top of each other with as little folding as possible. Figure out which works best with the space in your bag and go with that one. Packing cubes or organizers can also compress your clothes into a fixed space and help you get more into your bag while keeping things sorted neatly.

If you pack logically, it will keep you from having to dig through everything to find what you need. Maybe fold some clothes together to have outfits for the first few days. Put items you are likely to need often – such as travel documents or a pen – closer to the openings of your bags in an organizer or any built-in pockets.

Use all the empty space available to you, such as the insides of your shoes (a good place to put breakable things), the hollow part of a hat, the cups of bras or the insides of an eyeglasses case. Put your documents in a separate organizer so you can access them easily when needed. Put toiletries in a Ziploc or waterproof pouch in case of leaks. And pack the heaviest items closer to the bottom of your bag so they don’t squish your other clothes.

Once you’ve get everything packed and put away, weigh your bag and make sure you’re good to go. One last tip to keep in mind is that if it turns out you’re missing something you need, you can almost always buy what you need where you’re going. So don’t stress and enjoy your next adventure!

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