True travel efficiency doesn’t stop at the selection of your bag. Sure you’ve done the most important part but once you’ve come to embrace the benefits and convenience involved in one-bag travel, there’s a slew of additional resourceful tips at your disposal. For everything from the way you pack to what you should leave behind and how to optimize the space inside your shoes, here are the 10 top proven tips on how to get started packing smarter.
1. Keep a Packing Checklist On Your Phone
Think before you pack. This one is a bit of a no-brainer, but many people are still in the habit of throwing things into a bag without gauging what they need. Planning ahead with a quick list on your phone will undoubtedly save you time, energy, and weight down the line. Cross-check your list with your clothes and gear all laid out to make sure you have everything you need. Pro tip: save the list! Keep a template with all the essentials you know you’ll need for every trip -- phone charger, toiletries, passport, etc.
2. Use Packing Cubes
Once you make the switch, you’ll realize that life can be divided into two chapters: before packing cubes, and after packing cubes. Packing like with like cuts down on space and keeps things extremely organized. Plus, once you arrive you’ll be able to quickly throw your cubes into drawers or lockers without unloading a mess onto the floor.
3. Roll Don’t Fold
Spatial economics tells us that clothes take up less space when they’re rolled instead of folded. Obviously, this isn’t practical for every type of fabric, but when in doubt, opt to roll your everyday shirts, shorts, and underwear. Also, this technique usually keeps wrinkles at a minimum, so go ahead and make your mom proud.
4. Keep a Prepacked Washbag
Keeping a wash bag stocked with travel-sized toiletries makes for an extremely efficient packing process. Instead of hunting down half-used tubes of shampoo and toothpaste, just grab your wash bag that’s already been packed. For frugal travelers, use Dr. Bronner’s soap (that will literally last for years) and make sure to pocket your hotel’s complimentary products.
5. Pack Socks Inside Shoes
This one doesn’t need much explaining. Space is at a premium in the travel world, and the area inside your shoes should not go overlooked. Consider bundling your socks and fitting as many as possible inside your shoes.
6. Don’t Pack What’s Already There
Beach towels, shampoo, soap, bathrobes, q-tips, cocoa butter-scented age-defying lotion -- usually all of these things come complimentary in your hotel room. One of the best tips in regards to packing efficiency is knowing what you won’t need. Take a second to call ahead to find out.
7. Wear All Your Bulkiest Items
Before packing your bags, decide what you’re going to wear. Most people do this anyways, but expert travelers go the extra step in wearing their bulkiest items while traveling. Make sure you’re still comfortable, but there’s no shame in wearing hiking boots and a jacket at the airport.
8. Empty Out Your Bulky Wallet
When setting out on your next vacation, it’s very unlikely that you’ll need those frequent-customer punch cards to your local cafes, your gym membership and everything else bulking up your wallet or purse. If you’re looking to travel like a minimalist, every ounce matters. And after all, the less you bring, the less you risk losing.
9. Place Heavier Items At The Bottom Of Your Bag
How you pack your bag is just as important as what you pack. In considering weight distribution, be sure to place your heavier items -- your jackets, pants, shoes, and the like -- towards the bottom of your bag. If you’re traveling top-heavy, it’s going to limit your maneuverability and your overall ease of travel. Several studies have found that a low load placement causes less neck strain, fewer changes in posture, and less of an effect on spinal curvature.
10. Learn To Not Be Sentimental About Objects That Take Up Space
When traveling or living life abroad, it’s tempting to accumulate objects. However, these things can take up serious space and add weight as well. As a general rule of thumb, learn to differentiate between whether you’re sentimental about the object itself, or about the people or place it represents. Try to err on the side of only keeping things unto which you assign intrinsic value.
Written by: Dillon DuBois