How To Pack And Unpack For Your Next Trip

Packing your suitcase can be one of the more tedious and stressful tasks in the preparation for a vacation. Some people fret over not having enough space for all of their belongings, or their suitcase out weighing the airport regulations. Others may even stress about forgetting items that are vital in their day to day routines. There are countless ways to go about packing your suitcase, but what is the most orderly and stress-free method of preparing for a trip? Here are our tips to pack your suitcase in the most efficient way.

Start with a list

Whether it be a month-long vacation or an overnight stay at a friend’s house, the first thing you should always do is make a list of everything you will need throughout your stay. The best way to begin is to break down your trip: how many days and nights will you be there? What will the weather be like? What type of activities are you participating in, and what shoe wear may be recommended for said activity? What hygiene products will you need to bring with you? Not sure where to start? Check out our packing list at the end of this article. 

Once all of your items are listed out, lay out clothing for each day of your trip.  In this process it is good to remember that pants, sweatshirts, and pajamas can be recycled throughout your stay. Do not forget to take into consideration your luggage size, as well as your mode of transportation. For example, if you are traveling with only a backpack, you may not want to pack bulky clothing as they tend to take up more space. If you are taking an airplane, it is important to know what size luggage you can pack, as well as the weight restrictions. Once you have your outfits for each day planned, then you can start filling in the other essentials on your list. The best way to make sure you do not miss an item is to lay everything out on a flat surface and double check your list before packing your items in your luggage.

Use your space wisely

When it comes to physically packing your luggage, there are many methods to use ample amount of space. If your trip is going to be shorter and you are depending on a carry-on bag to hold most of your essentials, the best way to use your space is to start by packing your shoes at the bottom of your bag. If you can help it, try to pick shoes that can go with multiple outfits. That way you will only need to pack one or two pairs of shoes besides the pair you are wearing while traveling. The next thing to do is to roll up your outfits into tight rolls. You can roll them individually or you can roll them in their sets– i.e. skirt with blouse, jeans with t-shirt, etc. When traveling with a baby, don’t forget essential items. Check out this guide for a smooth trip.

A great way to keep these items rolled while they are in the suitcase is to wrap a hair tie or a rubber band of sorts around it. Once your outfits are packed away, you can fill in the empty spaces with smaller clothing items, such as undergarments and socks. If you are needing to pack a sweatshirt or rain jacket, either fold it neatly and pack it at the top or wear this item while traveling. If you are traveling for a longer period of time and need more space, follow the same steps. The only other thing to consider is putting a few outfits and other essentials into a carry on bag, that way if your checked in luggage becomes misplaced you will have a few items to help you get through a few days. At this point, all of your clothing and wearable belongings have been packed into your luggage. 

Pack your essentials

Packing the essentials can be the most daunting part of packing. These are your daily items that can be more challenging to replace– passport, wallet, jewelry, medications, chargers, technology, and even skin care and hygiene products. To make this process as easy as possible, begin by packing your liquids into the appropriate size bottles. Whether you are taking a plane or not, taking smaller bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and other hygiene products tend to be the best for space.  Place all of your liquids into a smaller toiletry bag. This way if an item leaks, it will not get on your other items packed in the suitcase. If you have the space, pack your toiletry bag in your carry on bag. If not, we suggest carrying a backpack as your personal sized item and placing the toiletry bag in there. In your backpack, you can also pack all of your electronics and any other essentials you may have. This way these items are always with you and you do not have to worry about them getting lost or damaged during your travels.

During your trip and on your return

Once you arrive at your destination, unpack your belongings. Whether you are placing these items in a drawer set or simply laying them on a flat surface for the duration of your trip, it is important to have empty luggage. This way, once an article of clothing has been used, you can place it back into the suitcase the way you originally packed it. When packing to return from a trip, it is best to follow the same steps. However, oftentimes you return from a trip with more than you arrived with. While on your trip, keep in mind how much space you have left in your bags. If you purchase an item that cannot fit into your luggage, for example a coat, you can wear it on your return flight or lay it on the backseat of your car. However, if the item is not wearable, you can check it in separately at the airport, attempt to ship it, or simply place it in your car. 

Why the stress?

Packing does not have to be a daunting, stressful task– breakdown your trip and create a packing list, pack your luggage efficiently, keep yourself organized. As long as you follow these guidelines, you are bound to be successful while packing for your long and short trips. Now that you know the secrets to being efficient and practical while packing luggage, are you ready for your next trip?

Our Expert packing list

  • Outfits x (amount of days)
  • Undergarments x (amount of days + 1)
  • Socks x (amount of days + 1)
  • Sweatshirt/coat/rain jacket
  • Pajamas x (amount based on personal preferences)
  • Shoes (keep in mind what activities are taking place– exercise, special events, etc.)
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Hair care (brush, comb, hair accessories, etc.)
  • Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, lotion, make-up, etc.)
  • Medications
  • Phone Charger
  • Any electronic/work needs (laptop, tablet, notebook, pen, headphones, etc.)