Read these tips to learn how to pack efficiently for any expedition.

Everyone dreads packing their belongings before going on a trip. Trying to fit everything you need in one or two suitcases is often challenging. Since there are so many different packing methods, it’s hard to know which advice is best. Read these suggestions below and you’ll know exactly how to pack efficiently for your next trip.

1. Plan it out

how to pack efficiently - Plan it out

Figuring out what you need before you start packing can help make the entire process easier. It also means you don’t have to worry about forgetting something necessary. Make a list of all crucial items, like underwear, socks, pajamas, toiletries, and electronic equipment. Seeing items written down can help clarify what are actually necessities, like a comfortable pair of sneakers versus a third pair of heels.

Certain things like shirts and pants can be numbered based on the amount of days you’ll be staying at your destination. Having multiple pairs of undergarments and socks are more important than bringing four pairs of jeans. You can also think about whether you’ll have access to a washing machine, or if you don’t mind walking down the street to a laundromat.

When you have gathered everything you need, you can check the items off your list. This is also an advantage during the repacking process at the end of your trip. You can go through your list and make sure nothing was lost or forgotten. Likewise, by going through your list, you can see which items weren’t used as often as others. By the time you go on your next trip, you’ll know what not to pack based on your previous experiences.

2. Check the weather

how to pack efficiently - check the weather

The type of clothing you bring in your luggage will depend on the climate of your destination. These decisions might be obvious depending on the location’s environment. While shorts and flip flops might be no-brainers for a trip to a beach-side town, the weather can still be unpredictable. A sudden thunderstorm or another extreme weather pattern might mean cancelling special plans without the proper gear. Thus, it’s important to pack for any type of outcome.

Researching the forecast for the period of your travels gives you a better sense of how to pack efficiently. If there’s a chance of rain, you’ll want to bring a waterproof jacket. Possible snow showers mean packing a heavier coat, plus gloves and a hat. Even those travelling to a tropical destination should still bring some warmer clothing just in case. The night time can bring much cooler temperatures than you would expect.

Additionally, knowing the weather ahead of time helps in deciding which items don’t need a place in your luggage. Deciding to leave that thick sweater at home opens up more room for other belongings. Identifying exactly what you must bring is an essential step when learning how to pack efficiently.

3. Folding Techniques

how to pack efficiently - folding technquie

Everyone has a different routine when it comes to folding their clothing. Some say rolling is the best, while others swear by folding them in a pile. Identifying the best way to place your clothing is essential if you want to know how to pack efficiently. Find some time to experiment with different methods to find the best one that works for you. Here are a couple of techniques to get you started:

The Fold

how to pack efficiently - folding

This is a technique that a large majority of people use. However, stacking your clothes on top of each other doesn’t utilize space very well. Placing rectangular piles of clothes side by side often leaves gaps of unused space, unless all your clothes are the same size. If you’re not too worried about utilizing every inch of your suitcase, then the folding method will most likely be sufficient. It’s also probably one of the quicker methods if you’re in a hurry. Those who are tired of the same folding technique will want to read ahead and attempt something new.

The Roll

how to pack efficiently - roll

The roll method is lauded as the best for maximizing luggage space. There are multiple different manners of rolling. One is to start with folding sleeves towards the center of a shirt and then rolling up from the hem. You’ll want to make the layers as tightly wound as you can manage. It might take a few tries before you get the technique right.

A downside to rolling is that it might leave your clothes more wrinkled and creased. Save this technique for casual clothing, like t-shirts and items you don’t need to iron. Don’t roll delicate pieces, such as silk shirts or lace dresses.

The Bundle

how to pack efficiently - layer cltohes

Credit: William F. Yurasko / Flickr 

While a less common manner of folding, the bundle is a great way for saving space and reducing wrinkles on your clothes. This method involves layering clothes in a strategic manner and then folding them together in a bunch. Items you don’t care about wrinkling, like socks, go on the inside of the bundle. Button-downs and slacks would represent the outer layer, ensuring less wrinkles are produced. Though slightly more complicated to follow, the bundle technique is easy once mastered.  

4. Revamp Your Organization Methods

Organization Methods

One of the hardest parts about packing your suitcase is knowing where to start. Practicing how to pack efficiently leads to better utilization of space. You’ll be more satisfied knowing you organized your belongings in the best possible manner.

Any shoes should be placed on the bottom of your suitcase. You can even stuff socks and underwear inside the soles to eliminate additional clutter. Heavier items fit best on top of your shoes, followed by lighter folded clothing. If there are any fragile belongings, you’ll want to place them in between layers of clothes to provide padding.

Think about which items you want at the top of your suitcase. You might put your pajamas and your toiletries bag on the top, so they’re easily accessible when you arrive at your destination. If you know you’ll need to access a laptop to do some work, you don’t want to leave your equipment buried underneath heavier items. Random belongings like belts and phone chargers can be pressed into any available area of space.

Additionally, make sure to leave some room for items you might buy while travelling. You don’t want to pay to ship items home or buy another piece of luggage to carry your new belongings with you.

5. Use Compression Bags To Maximize Space  

Compression Bags To Maximize Space

Credit: Jody Morris / Flickr

Compression bags can be an ideal option for those wanting to learn how to pack efficiently. Large items like coats and blankets can take up much-needed space in your suitcase. Using a compression bag for bulkier belongings is an easy way to save room when packing. Instead of trying to fold your clothes as tightly as possible, the compression bag saves the effort for you. Items inside the bags are rolled to eliminate air, making the bundle flat and compact.

You might also consider placing your laundry in compression bags at the end of your trip. Rather than using a normal laundry bag, which might be soft and bulky, you can place items for washing inside these space-saving containers. Separating clean from dirty clothing will be easier, and you’ll have much more room when repacking.

6. Utilize Your Carry-On

Utilize Your Carry-On

Credit: Free Images / ​Flickr

Belongings you want to have handy should be placed inside your carry-on bag. Passports, identification, and credit cards or cash are important to keep by your side at all times. Bringing a number of items useful for emergency situations is also highly recommended. Things like medicine, water, snacks, are invaluable to have with you in case you’re lost or stranded somewhere. 

Other items, such as makeup, a toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush, and lotion, are helpful if you can’t make it to a store but want to look more presentable. Remember to pack your glasses if you wear contact lenses, as you don’t want to walk around with limited vision after losing a lens.

You might also consider putting a book or magazine inside your carry-on. Airport delays or lengthy train rides mean a lot of time spent waiting. Instead of counting the minutes on your watch, you can entertain yourself by reading. This might also be helpful if you rely on your phone or tablet to keep you occupied, as these can quickly run out of battery. 

Things you couldn’t quite fit in your suitcase can also make their way into your carry-on. A hat or a swimsuit can be stowed away at the bottom of your bag. More valuable belongings should also be kept close, so you don’t have to worry about anything being stolen from your luggage.

Save your energy for more exciting activities and learn how to pack efficiently.  

There a few things to remember when packing your suitcase. Researching how to pack efficiently can help you make the most of your luggage. The next time you travel, don’t forget to follow some of our tips. These suggestions will make getting there and back easier and less stressful.

Related Article: Best Checked Luggage Pieces (Plus How to Choose Yours)

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