Ten Hacks For Efficient Packing

Overpacked Suitcase

Packing everything that you need is not always easy. If you don’t know the tips and tricks related to packing well, you can end up running out of space quickly. Believe it or not, there are some things that you don’t need to pack! Check out the following tips that can help you add space to your suitcase.

  1. Make a list of what you will need to pack. Check these items off once you have packed them, and double check the list before you close everything up and head out of the door.
  2. Use the complimentary soap, shampoo and other toiletries at your hotel. If these things are provided for you, there is no need to pack them. It doesn’t make sense to bring your own and bring the complimentary ones home because you simply won’t use them.
  3. Skip the large containers. You can eliminate the need for a clunky container simply by using zip-lock bags. This is ideal for cosmetics, hair products and other items. You can also put these zip-locked bags into a plastic grocery store bag if you are concerned about spillage.
  4. Use combination products to save space. For example, some moisturizers also provide sunscreen.
  5. Avoid bringing pricey jewelry or other valuables if you can. If you do bring these items, make sure that they are insured. Check it into the hotel safe when you are not wearing the jewelry. Make sure you keep valuables as a carry on if you are flying.
  6. Don’t pack every area guidebook you can find. Choose the one with the most information, and pack only that one. Find out if you will have access to the internet during the trip, as you can always look the information up. Otherwise, photocopy a few unique and useful pages found in separate guidebooks and bring only those pages.
  7. Select your outfits according to the weather forecast. Don’t worry about possible changes in the weather, because you can always buy a poncho or sweater to use and keep as a souvenir.
  8. Pack clothes that are neutral colors so you can mix and match tops and bottoms. Bring shoes that you can wear with several of these outfits. Don’t pack more clothes than you need.
  9. If you like to read, buy magazines or newspapers at the airport. You can read them on your trip and leave them to be recycled at the hotel.
  10. Final tip: Are you unsure about whether or not to pack certain items? Consider the fact that there are many items that you can purchase at your destination. If you can buy it there, why pack it? It you make a list and only pack what you really need, you won’t run out of space. Happy packing!

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3 Responses to Ten Hacks For Efficient Packing

  1. Pat says:

    Happy Birthday Kathi! My husband and I went diving in Belize a couple of years ago….loved it!

    Thanks for the travel tips and if I may ask, how many pieces of clothing did you actually take? I too am trying to pare down to as little as possible (and do hand laundry as I go).

    Thanks for the tips.


    • Kathi says:

      Thanks for your question. Here is the list of the clothes I carried in my backpack:
      2 cotton skirts ~ lived in them!
      2 pairs of shorts ~ never used
      1 little black dress ~ of course!
      2 pairs of Reef flip flops ~ dressy and everyday
      1 pair of water sandals ~ never used
      3 swimsuits ~ only used 2
      1 lightweight sweater ~ never used
      4 t shirts ~ only needed 2
      3 sleeveless shirts ~ could have used 1 more, we had a freak heat wave and temperatures soared over 100 degrees a few days
      1 pair of all purpose hiking shoes ~only wore on airplane because my feet freeze without socks in the air
      1 pair of jeans ~ only used in transit
      1 long sleeve cotton t-shirt ~ only used in transit
      1 cashmere hoodie ~ only used in transit
      2 pairs of socks ~ only needed 1 for airplane
      1 organic cotton hat ~ thank goodness
      1 pair of cotton dress slacks
      7 pairs of undies
      2 bras

      We had our laundry washed half way through at Tobacco Caye and it worked out perfectly. In retrospect, I could have culled down my clothes collection even more. Since we had no set itinerary, I was not sure what types of activities we would engage in. The hikers and shorts might have been used if I did not spend so much time island hopping and explored the jungles and more ruins. We ended up spending 13 days sailing around and exploring islands and only one day on shore seeing ruins and jungle.

      As you can see, some of my items never left my backpack.You will be better able to pack if you know exactly what you will do during your trip. The one thing I have learned after years of being a road warrior is that the worst thing that can happen if you forget to pack something is that you have to buy it when you arrive. It is possible to replace almost everything you might have forgotten, even in third world countries.

      I have written a new post with more details about my Belize trip. Click here to visit that page.

  2. Pat says:

    Thanks Kathi for the clothing suggestions. Yes, you did take a lot more than I did for our trip. Fortunately, summer clothing is light to begin with so that helps if we overload. I am working on a seven piece travel ensemble for warm weather travel (excluding a tankini in black which I always include). I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Again, hope you enjoyed your birthday.

    A faithful fan,

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