Traveling can be stressful, from booking flights and hotels to making sure that you get to the airport on time. But before you even leave, you have to pack your suitcase and ensure that you have everything you need. To be as efficient as possible, follow these tips for organizing your suitcase.
Make a list
Before you simply start to toss things into a suitcase, make a list. This will help you cut down on bringing too many things while also ensuring that you have everything you need on your trip. A good way to begin is to imagine how you start your day. Start with the shower and all of the products you will need while you’re in there. Don’t forget post-shower things like lotion, hair products, medications, and other related items. If you are packing medication, be sure to bring extra in case you need to stay longer than expected, whether it’s due to flight delays or other unplanned issues. You will want to be sure that any medications are in your carry-on or personal item in case your checked luggage gets lost.
When packing clothing, count out the number of days you will be traveling and be sure to include travel days. If you are an extra cautious or anxious person, consider adding two to three more outfits in case of spills, excessive sweating, or inclement weather. Do the same for shoes, keeping the possibility of various weather patterns in mind. If you are going on vacation, you may need additional unordinary items like bathing suits, flip flops, and sunglasses. When it’s actually time to pack your clothing, New York Times writers Shivani Vora and Michelle Higgins suggest a variety of techniques. They refer to the rolling method to avoid wrinkles and maximize space, using packing cubes that keep clothing compact and organized, or bundling outfits together.
After you’ve gotten the basics like toiletries and clothing sorted, consider other everyday items that you use. This includes any charging cables and technology devices that you absolutely need while you’re traveling. Try not to pack unnecessary tech that will simply take up space and likely won’t be used that much. Keep in mind, laptops often need to be taken out of carry-on luggage at airports, which can be stressful to manage when you’re going through security.
Pick the right size
Vora and Higgins also note that you are likely to pack more unnecessary items if you use a larger suitcase. Therefore, try to keep things minimal if you can manage it. If you plan on avoiding checked bags, keep your carry-on below 22 inches tall. This is the standard domestic carry-on luggage size, but you will definitely want to check with your airline before making this decision. Going with hard shell suitcases also limits what you pack, as they don’t expand like soft luggage does when you overfill them.
Bring the essentials with you
As mentioned previously, be sure to pack any medications in your personal item or carry-on so that you have it readily available. Keep this in mind with other essentials, too. This could be a variety of things, like foods for dietary needs or other health-related items. It’s also a good idea to have a small first-aid kit with things like bandages or anti-nausea medicine. Be sure to check airline and airport guidelines so that you don’t accidentally pack restricted items that you will need to abandon before your flight.
With these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to having an organized, well-packed suitcase for your next trip.