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Packing Tips & Tricks

Posted January 23, 2017

It's a day or two before you leave and the suitcase is sitting on the edge of the bed - ready for whatever you're ready to throw at it. Shirts - check. Pants - check. Socks - check. You've created a list and everything is in there, but the bag now weighs 90 pounds!

You think to yourself, "What to keep, and what to get rid of?" If you're like most travelers, you've probably had a distressing moment or two when packing for a trip, but by keeping the following tips and tricks in mind, you'll enjoy a more comfortable fulfilling trip regardless of your destination.

Most of us pack everything we think we may need to prevent any unforeseen inconveniences during the trip. Instead, shift to a new way of thinking and pack only what you absolutely know you will need. This gives you an opportunity to pick up a few things where you're headed, which is another opportunity to experience local culture.

When packing your suitcase, try to fill it only 70% of the way. This practice will enable you to easily carry home any of the treasures you find while at your destination. A great way to maximize the room in your bag is to roll your clothes instead of folding them. This technique minimizes the amount of space taken up by the clothing, and even helps keep them wrinkle-free during travel.

Even for trips across the globe, try to pack everything you can into a carry-on bag. While this may seem impossible for some, truly pare down what you need and skip the stress-inducing shuffle over to the luggage carousel after your flight. Depending on the length of your trip, check if you will have access to a washer and dryer, now available in many hotels.

One of the most stressful elements of travel today is navigating the airport. Minimize the hassles of security checkpoints by wearing loose-fitting clothing devoid of metal adornments, then pair your outfit with a pair of easy slip-on shoes. Better yet - sign up for TSA pre-check to minimize security checkpoint frustrations, especially if you are a frequent flyer.

Packing the right way is important, but it's also crucial that you bring along the essential items that you'll need during your trip.


  1. Photocopies of documents - Keep originals on you and pack the copies. Great idea to email a copy to yourself and a friend so it can be retrieved from virtually anywhere.

  1. Guidebook - Even if you are traveling as part of a tour, grab a good guidebook or two before you leave, so you'll enjoy a more in-depth understanding of the sights and sounds of the destination.

  1. First-aid kit - If you get a cut in the hotel room or feel a migraine coming on, don't worry about trying to find a drugstore open in the middle of the night in a strange city.
  1. Swimsuit - Even if you haven't booked hotels with pool and jacuzzi amenities, you never know when you're going to encounter a swimming pool or spa.

  1. Toiletries - Bring the basics. You can get what you need when you arrive, and part of the fun of traveling to a new place is checking out the local shopping scene. Plus, nearly all accommodations offer toiletries in guestrooms.

  1. Eye care - If you wear contact lenses, ensure that you bring plenty of cleaning solution, eye drops, and replacement contacts, if applicable. You want to be able to see everything on your trip.

  1. Phone/computer chargers - Keep your electronics adaptors close at hand by stowing them in a backpack or handbag. It will likely be more accessible during a flight than the luggage.

  1. Collapsible bottle with filter - When you have one of these ingenious items, you don't have to worry about the quality of the drinking water from the hotel's tap. Staying hydrated is important no matter where your travels take you.

  1. Snacks - Bring along sealed, individual-size bags of trail mix, pretzels, and similar items. The idea isn't that you subsist on these foods, but it'll hold you over between meals (and be less expensive), especially if you're not on a set eating schedule.

  1. Vitamins and Emergen-C packets - Flying can make us sick and travel can be exhausting. Pack a multi-vitamin and Emergen-C packets to stay one step ahead of any impending illness.

The moral of the story here is to pack light and bring only the essentials. By doing so you'll feel fresher and more able to tackle all that your exciting travel destination has to offer.