Summer has arrived, and for many of us, that means traveling season. We won’t try to hide it, when it comes to packing, it’s easy to leave everything to the last minute. But regardless if you’re ready a day in advance or mere hours before an early morning flight, there are a few simple things you can do to help ensure that the contents of your suitcase don’t end up looking like Dorothy’s Kansas after a tornado.
As you select what to pack, think through your itinerary and plan out exactly what outfits you’re going to wear. By packing precisely what you need, you’re saving yourself from having to make outfit decisions later. Bringing a few extra items, such as socks, underwear, or different clothing types based on changing weather, counts as being prepared. But don’t just grab a handful of clothes and decide what to wear later. That only qualifies as overpacking, and you quite literally don’t need the extra baggage.
As far as how to pack your suitcase, I’m personally a big fan of using packing cubes. It may not seem necessary at first, but packing cubes can make a huge difference when it comes to keeping your luggage organized. They not only keep your clothes sorted by category, but allow you to use every square inch of space in your suitcase. There are several different brands of packing cubes on the market, but my favorite is Eagle Creek (available at REI, The Container Store, and several places online). Made from a material similar to parachutes, these packing cubes are incredibly lightweight and flexible. The transparent ones are especially handy, because they allow you to see they cube’s contents.
Despite the term ‘cube,’ these luggage organizers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The larger traditional cubes include a compressible zipper, allowing you to save even more space, perfect for large, airy items such as sweaters. The smaller containers are great for t-shirts, pants, pajamas, socks, undergarments, and accessories such as sunglasses and chargers The pack-it folders are perfect for button down shirts and other clothes that you don’t want to get wrinkled. Most wrinkles in luggage come from shifting during travel, and the pack-it folders keep your shirts securely folded, minimizing wrinkles as much as possible. There are also bags designed for toiletries and shoes.
An organized suitcase also helps when it comes to re-packing. We’ve all had the problem where we’ve reached the end of a trip and had trouble fitting everything back into a suitcase. Clothes have a funny way of seeming to grow the longer you’re away from home. The cubes compress clothes (convenient for laundry) and stack nicely in a suitcase. They help you to re-organize and remember how you arranged your suitcase in the first place, saving you from spending your last precious hours of vacation packing. Besides, you know your house is a more relaxing environment when it’s organized, so why wouldn’t you want the same for you suitcase?
Over-Enthusiastic Vacation Packer