6 Ways to Pack Smarter

By: Mike Garcia | @mikeonthemove_

Raise your hand if you are not the best packer? Admittedly, I am one of those people. I’d pack the fish tank if I could. Okay, maybe not that far but you get what I mean…. right?! Or maybe you are one of those people that lack the organizational skills and eat up all the space in your bag. I’m raising my hand for that as well. Over the years I’ve broken bags, busted zippers, and paid countless overweight fees at airports. Today I’m on a journey to travel smarter and I’m taking you with me. Now I’ve spoken to friends, watched countless YouTube travel videos by “The Vaga Brothers” (my favorite travel duo), and had some good old fashion experiences to bring you a better way of travel. We reserve the right to shed some of those luggage pounds and be a wiz at organizing our bags. Let’s explore 6 things you could implement on your next trip.

Table of Contents

Learn to Say No

1. From saying yes to saying no! – Something that I have a hard time with is permitting myself the ability to leave the extras. I’m the type of person that will pack 3 or 4 extra emergency underwear, 4 pairs of sunglasses, 3 sneakers to go with outfits and that’s just for a weekender! I struggle with saying I don’t need that and find the most random excuse as to why it has to come with me. On almost every return home I find outfits I didn’t even wear. Well, I’ve started saying no to extra items bringing it down to 1 pair of sunglasses, a dinner shoe, and a day sneaker. I’ve also got it down to 2 extra pairs of underwear. I’m still working on it so don’t judge me!

Do More with Less

I’ve learned from one of my travel buddies Brittany that it’s way easier to carry some travel-size soap powder than to carry more clothing on a trip. Let’s say your first day of vacation is a travel day. Use some downtime at the end of your night to wash the items you used by hand if possible. This allows you to reuse an item or two by freshening it up instead of having to carry an extra one for another day. You may also use that outfit to return home. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Add accessories to revive the look or give a different feel.  

DITCH the Fit

The outfit for every single moment of your vacation is already tiring as it is. The planning, the shopping; even trying things on. How many times are we going to be shamelessly staring out of our windows waiting for the Amazon truck for our new “by the pool look”. IT’S EXHAUSTING! I’m notorious for having an outfit for travel, an outfit for exploring, a “vibe” for the pool, and dinner clothes for the night. Now I always believe in having a classy dinner so we aren’t getting rid of that outfit…However, the pool vibe has to go! Let’s focus on the relaxation function a pool provides instead. After all, are we not tired of having to worry about how we look at every turn? We can also drop the day outfit. As for my little day outfit habit… Well, here’s a rule of thumb. The outfit I’ve traveled in is my day outfit for the first day. If the flight is longer than 4 or 5 hours, I’ll shower, and change clothes to freshen up. Especially if it’s a red-eye flight. Seems like a decent compromise, don’t you think?

Now that we’ve got the chance to trim the fat, let’s talk about organizing our wardrobe and electronics.

Swear by Packing Cubes

Place your folded or rolled clothes in the packing cubes. The cubes come in an assortment of sizes to fit smaller items like your undergarments and the larger bags fit your larger items like jeans, tops, and t-shirts. If I need a t-shirt I just grab the bag with the shirts in it. Need socks? Just grab the small bag with the socks in it. This gives you folks that live out of the suitcase – instead of unpacking and storing things in the dresser – a chance to be organized. And by those folks I mean me!

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Use Vacuum Bags

Are compression bags that you can roll/suck the air out and flatten your clothes; organizing your wardrobe as well. When I use these bags unusually put heavier knits or any type of layered clothing in them. knitted clothes take up more space being that they tend to be fluffier and heavier. I save my regular clothes for the packing cubes. Once I’ve purchased these bags, it has been one of my favorite tools to use for travel. It’s amazing seeing how much space is now available for things like souvenirs to return home with. 

Get an Electronic Organizer Bag

We all have multiple things that need to be charged. Our watches can be charged, headphones, phones, you name it. If there is one thing I can’t stand it’s an unorganized set of wires! Charger cords make knots inside of the bag or you can’t find the cube but have the wire in hand. It’s frustrating, especially while traveling. To solve that purchase a wire/electronic organizer. I have one and it stores 6 sets of wires and the cubes have a separate storage compartment. I keep this organizer in my carry-on at all times for easy accessibility. I didn’t know how much I needed this until I purchased mine and now, it goes everywhere!

Moral of the Story: Pack Smarter

Implementing these things has been an incredible help for my travel life. I’ve seen an increase in space in both my carry-on and suitcase. I’ve said goodbye to praying my bag makes it an entire trip and hello to welcoming souvenirs for a ride home. It’s been great not having to struggle to repack. Most of the things I am carrying have it’s own space now and it makes coming home to the unpacking phase a lot easier. All of these items for organizational purposes can be found on Amazon if you’d like to pick some up. There’s nothing like dropping off the extra pounds and opting for a much simpler way of travel.

About the Author

Mike is a travel enthusiast and more recently a travel blogger with 20 years of experience traveling for business and leisure. Mike has been traveling since birth; from the routine family vacations to basking in the architecture of Roman Catholic Churches. Mike remains open to the many wonders of the world, as travel remains second nature. 

IG: @mikeonthemove_