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How To Pack Like A Pro— A Comprehensive Guide


After taking hundreds of flights in my life, I’ve picked up many packing hacks. My goal is for this to be a truly comprehensive list, which is why you will find several sections. I go deep into how to pack clothing, toiletries, makeup, jewellery, electronics, and even how to avoid packing!

In general, the advice focuses on how to stay organized, pack efficiently, and protect your belongings. Even if you travel more than you’re at home, I guarantee there will be some new ideas for you! Enjoy 😀

Clothes Packing Hacks 👕

1. Make a checklist. If you like making lists, or are prone to forgetting things, then a checklist of what to pack will be your best friend. Breaking it down into these sections will ensure you don’t miss anything — clothing, toiletries, electronics, passport & money, medicine, jewellery, misc.

2. Pack by outfit. Prevent taking clothes you will never wear by packing outfits, not individual items. If you have an individual piece of clothing you can’t imagine wearing with anything else, don’t bring it. Also, think of the activities you will be definitely be doing and only pack outfits for those. Don’t pack for every possible scenario. If you end up needing something you don’t have, you will probably be able to buy a replacement (which can be quite fun!).

How To Pack Like A Pro— A Comprehensive Guide

3. Pack everything you want, then remove half. If you find point 1 and 2 difficult, then try packing everything you want to bring. The next step is to remove half of it so that you are left with just the essentials.

4. Use compression bags. If you’re not using compression bags, you’re really missing out! You will be amazed by how much space they save. Just put your clothes in the bag, roll it to squeeze the air out, and seal it. In addition to saving room in your luggage, they also reduce the amount of wrinkles in your clothes. And because they are air tight, you can use them to pack wet bathing suits or dirty clothes.

How To Pack Like A Pro— A Comprehensive Guide

5. Use packing cubes. Packing cubes are an amazing way to organize your clothes, or any other item you pack. When you arrive at your destination, only open the packing cube(s) you need. This prevents the contents of your suitcase exploding all over the room. They also provide some degree of compression, just not as much as compression bags. If you really want to be fancy, you can put your packed compression bags into packing cubes.

6. Roll your clothes. This classic packing trick is perfect for when you are without compression bags. It’s another excellent way to reduce the footprint of your clothes. If you have packing cubes, rolling your clothes inside them will save you even more space. 

How To Pack Like A Pro— A Comprehensive Guide

7. Put underwear and socks in shoes. Save space by putting underwear and socks in shoes. Be sure to fold or roll your underwear to get additional space saving.

8. Put small fragile items in socks. If you having anything small and fragile in your checked bag, like a fragrance bottle, then slip it into a sock. For extra protection, put your sock+fragile item into a shoe.


How To Pack Like A Pro— A Comprehensive Guide

11. Wear bulky clothing on the plane. If possible, avoid packing large clothing or shoes (like hiking boots). But if you need to bring something bulky, consider wearing it on the plane to save space in your luggage.

9. Put shoes in a shower cap. Keep the items in your bag clean by putting shoes into a shower cap. You can also use a shopping bag for the same effect.

How To Pack Like A Pro— A Comprehensive Guide

14. Put wrinkle prone clothes in a dry cleaning bag. If you have any clothes that wrinkly easily, try putting them flat in a dry cleaning bag. This prevents creases.

10. Put rolled belts into collars. If you are packing a collared shirt, be sure to use a rolled up belt to protect it.

12. Pack in-flight essentials in a separate pouch. Prevent fumbling for your phone, kindle, headphones, water bottle, and gum by putting everything you need during a flight into a separate pouch. This way you only need to remove one thing from your carry-on when you find your seat.

13. Pack clothes that are wrinkle resistant. It’s a pain to have wrinkled clothing. The good news is that there are many brands which specialize in high quality & fashionable wrinkle resistant clothing. 

How To Pack Like A Pro— A Comprehensive Guide

15. Pack rain jackets or shells at the top of your suitcase. If you think your suitcase may be rolled through rain, then give your packed items some extra water protection by packing any waterproof items at the top of suitcase. If you have enough water proof items you can line the entire suitcase with them.

16. Pack heavy items close to the wheels. If you need to pack anything heavy in a rolling suitcase, be sure to place it at the bottom close to the wheels. This will make your bag much easier to handle.

How To Pack Like A Pro— A Comprehensive Guide

17. Put a dryer sheet in your bag. Keep your clothes smelling fresh by placing a dryer sheet in your bag.

Toiletries, Makeup, and Jewellery Packing Hacks 💍

18. Have a dedicated toiletries bag for traveling. Put a toothbrush and toothpaste in a toiletries bag that you use exclusively for travel. This can be a big time saver if you travel frequently, and will prevent you from forgetting that special silky smooth dental floss.

How To Pack Like A Pro— A Comprehensive Guide

19. Collect travel size toiletries. Ask your dentist for extra mini-toothpastes, or your hair stylist for samples of shampoo and conditioner. Put them in your dedicated toiletries bag.

20. Put liquid toiletries in travel sized bottles. If you have any liquids or creams you want to take, put them in small travel bottles. This will allow you to pack them in your carry on if you, and will reduce space in your bag. 

21. Put a binder clip over the head of a razor. Not only does this protect your razor blades, it also protects your fingers when searching your toiletries bag.How To Pack Like A Pro— A Comprehensive Guide

22. Put makeup into a contact lens container. If you only need to bring a small amount of makeup, consider putting it in a contact lens container instead of its original container or a travel sized bottle.

23. Put makeup applicators in a pill container. Cotton balls, Q-tips, swabs, and sponges can all be stored in a medicine bottle.

24. Put jewelry in a pill organizer. Pill organizers are perfect for holding rings, earrings, and necklaces.

How To Pack Like A Pro— A Comprehensive Guide

25. Put necklaces in a ziploc bag or plastic wrap. Ziploc bags are great at protecting necklaces, and can prevent them from tangling. You can also isolate your necklace by folding it in plastic wrap.

26. Use a drinking straw to protect your necklace. This works particularly well if you have a thin necklace. Just slide your necklace into it. This helps prevent tangling and knotting.

How To Pack Like A Pro— A Comprehensive Guide

27. Use buttons to secure earrings. Fasten earrings in button holes to prevent losing them. Then toss them in a ziploc bag.

28. Put hair clips in tic tac containers. Tic tac containers are a perfect way to store those pesky wandering hair clips.

29. Put plastic wrap over the opening of bottles. Placing plastic wrap over open bottles and then screwing the lid prevents liquids from leaking into your luggage.How To Pack Like A Pro— A Comprehensive Guide

Electronics Packing Hacks 💻

30. Use an electronics organizer. Keep all your electronics and cords in one place, and in excellent condition with an electronics organizer.

31. Use a glasses case to store your cables. If you don’t have an electronics organizer, an old glasses case can be an excellent way to store your cables.

How To Pack Like A Pro— A Comprehensive Guide

32. Wrap headphones around a binder clip. Protect your earbuds and keep them in excellent condition by wrapping them around a binder clip.

33. Use a pen spring to protect chargers. Pen springs wrapped around cords are an amazing way to prevent charging cables from bending and breaking.

Hacks to Avoid Packing 🚫

34. Buy it there. Consider giving yourself a settling fund of around $200 when traveling to a new place. Use this money to buy things you need while on the road. By giving yourself permission to spend this money when traveling, it will allow you to avoid packing for every possible contingency, and reduce the amount of stuff you need to haul around.

How To Pack Like A Pro— A Comprehensive Guide

35. Cache it. Do you repeatedly travel to the same few locations (parents house, hotel on business trips)? Consider creating a travel cache! A travel cache allows you store clothes, toiletries, supplements, or anything else in a bag at your frequently visited location. This allows you to travel ultra-light, and prevents forgetting any must have items. Some hotels will actually provide a trunk exactly for this purpose at no extra cost. Just ask.

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