Do you ever feel like you need a moving company when you travel? If you’re like me, your packing list can go on for days.
But traveling with everything you own is really not necessary unless you’re truly moving😊
Keep reading to find packing essentials and learn how to pack clothes so you can finally travel light on your next trip.
When It Comes to Your Packing List, Size Matters
If you’ll be traveling by plane, a huge packing list can get expensive.
So, it’s important to know the size requirements of carry-ons as well as the price for each checked bag on your airline before you ever decide what to pack.
It’s obviously less expensive to carry on but each airline has different limits.
They change from time to time, but this is a current list of the major airlines and their carry-on luggage size requirements.
When a Carry-On Just Won’t Do It
If you’ll be away for longer than a few days, a carry-on may not provide the space needed for everything on your vacation checklist.
If that’s the case, choose the largest luggage your airline allows without charging oversized baggage fees.
For most airlines, this is luggage that exceeds 62 linear inches (height + width + length total is less than or equal to 62”) or weighs more than 50 pounds.
But double check with them before you pack to avoid unexpected fees.
If you’ll be checking your bag but still need a little more room, most airlines will allow you take one personal item like a purse or briefcase and one larger item like a backpack or small piece of carry-on luggage.
You can fit any extra items in those to avoid another checked bag fee. Just be sure you follow the TSA rules for liquids if you’ll be taking them on the plane with you.
Making the Perfect Packing List
I once went on vacation to the beach and forgot my swimsuit. That’s when I realized how important having a packing list really is.
It can be difficult to remember everything when you pack in a rush or don’t travel often.
Luckily, there are several free online packing list generators that can help you remember some of those items that may otherwise get left behind.
This one is by far the simplest and quickest to use. In fact, you only answer 10 questions and it generates a pretty good list of packing essentials.
One of my favorite things about this site is that it lets you easily customize your packing list by adding or removing items.
However, being that you only answer 10 questions about your trip, it’s not as detailed or customized as some of the other options.
This one is the most detailed by far, even asking about the temperature of your destination, means of travel, and your packing style.
One of the best things about this list is that it reminds you of things you need to do before you leave, like watering your plants, switching off your alarm clock and taking out the garbage.
It also allows you to add more people to your list of travelers, so you can choose to have one combined packing list or a separate list for each.
Since it asks more detailed questions, you get a more detailed list. It takes slightly longer but is definitely worth it.
This list is great because, while it only asks 10 questions, it gives a surprisingly detailed list broken down by category.
These include preparation and documents, packing and accessories, entertainment, clothing and foot-ware, special gear and equipment and even the weather forecast.
The only downside is that this list is not as customizable as the others. However, it provides a thorough packing list and is a great option.
All the lists above allow you to print or email your packing list once completed.
One tip I’ve found to be extremely helpful is to keep a list of items you use in the week leading up to your trip.
When you’re getting ready to go out or for bed, jot down items that you use so you don’t forget about them. Then, add them to your packing list.
Deciding What to Pack
By using one of the online packing list generators above, you’ll likely have most of the items you’ll need for your trip already listed and ready to go.
However, your specific clothes and shoes are unique to you.
This is where you can really save room in your luggage and avoid those annoying airline fees if you choose the right pieces.
These tips will help you pack smart.
- Shoes take up more room than anything else. So, wear your largest pair and pack the smaller ones.
- Aim to pack 1 pair of sandals or flip flops (if you’re traveling to a warm climate), 1 pair of casual shoes or sneakers and 1 pair of dress shoes, heals or wedges.
- Choose neutral shoes that will pair with more outfits.
- Select clothing pieces that will mix and match.
- Bring 2-3 tops for every 1 pair of bottoms.
- Choose neutral, solid bottoms that will pair with more tops.
- Pack pieces that will do double duty like yoga pants that can double as pajamas.
- Select wrinkle free items when possible.
Toiletries and Jewelry
These tips will help you pack your toiletries and jewelry in the most efficient way.
- Fill small containers with shampoo, lotion, moisturizer and other toiletries and label them according to what’s inside. These are reusable and cheaper than buying trial sizes of your favorite products.
- Put similar items in the same zip lock bag so you can locate them quickly and easily when you unpack.
- Don’t fill bottles all the way to the top if you’re flying. The pressurized cabin can cause them to leak.
- Don’t pack expensive jewelry. If you must take it, wear it when you travel.
- Keep your jewelry in a jewelry bag to avoid necklaces getting tangles and earrings getting lost. Or try these hacks to pack your jewelry safely.
How to Pack Your Clothes
Just like organizing any small space, there are ways to pack your luggage to fit more in.
To save space, stuff your shoes with small items like sunglasses or phone chargers and then place them into a shoe bag or zip lock bag. Put them in the bottom of your suitcase.
You can also try rolling your casual clothes like T-shirts and wrinkle free items. This take up less room than folding.
If you’re concerned about wrinkles, you can try the bundle approach. This will allow you to pack your clothes in a small bundle while avoiding wrinkles.
This works well if you plan to unpack once you arrive but not so much if you’re going to live out of your suitcase while away.
This video will give you an idea of how each method works.
A Few Extras to Round Out Your Packing List
Bring a large zip lock bag if you plan to swim the day you depart. This way, you can pack your wet swimsuit while keeping the rest of your clothes dry.
Pack a laundry bag with a dryer sheet. By keeping all dirty clothes in the bag, you can easily unpack and know which clothes need to be cleaned. The dryer sheet keeps them smelling fresh until they’re laundered.
Pack a Tide-To-Go stick in your purse or carry-on. This is a life saver. I can’t tell you how many times this has helped me avoid changing before a meeting or dinner.
Travel Like a Pro
With these tips and techniques, your packing list should be lean and mean. You’ll have the packing essentials without the extra fluff.
And with the tricks on how to pack clothes, you can avoid many of the outrageous airline fees, so you can spend that money on more productive things – like souvenirs!