If you’re planning on travelling, follow this guide on how to pack your suitcase efficiently and have one less thing to stress about.
Always remember to give yourself plenty of time to pack — don’t leave it till the last minute because the more time you give yourself, the less likely you are to forget something or pack too much.
1. Choose the right luggage
The type and length of the trip will determine what size and type of luggage you’ll need. For a weekend, a small suitcase or tote bag will probably do, and for a longer trip choose a big suitcase (but not too big!) with wheels for ease of movement.
2. Check the weather
It’s always worth checking the weather forecast for the time you’ll be at your destination. It won’t be 100% accurate, but it’ll give you an idea of what to expect and help you decide what clothing you’ll need to take.
3. Go over your itinerary
Have a look through your itinerary and see what your plans are or think about where you’re likely to be going. Days on the beach, hikes through the mountains or city sightseeing? They all require very different gear. Pack for what you’re definitely going to do, then add extras for unplanned events. If you know someone who’s been there before, ask them what they packed or what they wished they had taken with them.
Read more: How to keep kids busy when travelling
4. Create a checklist
Spend some time writing a comprehensive list of everything you want to take with you and everything you think you’ll need. Once your list is complete, go over it and delete items that seem unnecessary. It’s a good idea to take your list with you, so you’ll be sure to return with everything you brought with you.
5. Invest in travel size items
If space is limited, buy travel-sized toiletries, like a mini brush and comb, toothbrush and toothpaste. Buy small plastic bottles and decant your shampoo, conditioner, body wash and cream to save space. And definitely invest in a small hairdryer and straightener. Zip lock bags in various sizes are very useful for jewellery and placing all your toiletries inside in case anything spills.
Read more: Road trip snack hacks
6. Put everything out first
Before you start packing your suitcase, get everything together that’s on your list and place them next to your suitcase. Once it’s all in front of you, decide if you need everything, remove what you don’t want and add any other necessities. Try and stick to neutral colours so you can mix and match and add colour or accents with a scarf or t-shirt. For shoes, the best rule is to wear your heaviest and pack the light ones, and remember to pack for comfort!
7. Pack awkward items first
Items like shoes, hairdryers and purses should first be packed around the outside of your suitcase and pack to the centre. Fill any gaps with socks, belts and costumes. Place underwear into shoes to save space and prevent shoes from getting squashed. Try and distribute the weight evenly in the bag.
8. Learn to fold
Pack similar clothes into bundles, then roll each bundle (thicker items like jerseys are rolled individually). This will keep your suitcase organised and prevent wrinkling. Pack the bundles side by side.
9. Wear bulky items
If possible wear your bulkiest items, like your coat and jersey and jeans. Wearing layers will help you to dress according to the temperature as you can just add or remove layers.
10. Leave room for shopping
If you know you’re going to shop for clothing or souvenirs, remember to leave some room in your suitcase.
11. Plan your carry-on luggage
Your carry-on luggage, if you’re flying, should be treated like an emergency kit. That way, if your luggage is lost or your flight is delayed, you should have the essentials you need right with you.
Here’s a list of the essentials you’ll need to have a great trip no matter what:
- Prescription medication
- Wet wipes and hand sanitiser
- Pain killers, antacid and anti-nausea tablets
- Ointments and bug spray
- Glasses and sunglasses
- Bottled water and snacks (if allowed)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Books or magazines
- Cash and any relevant documents (like IDs and passports)
- Cellphone charger
Read more: 15 life-changing travel apps