When it comes to getting ready for a trip, being able to pack like a pro is a learned skill. After awhile you build a system, a mental checklist of sorts that you follow without even realizing it. Who am I kidding…it’s usually a total gong show and a race against the clock, resembling my nieces playroom after 12 friends have been over. Although I usually forget something when travelling, I have built up a pretty large suite of habits for packing a pretty stellar bag. I’ve laid out my best tips below – this is a long one, so grab a cup of tea…or better yet, a glass of wine.
To Carry-On or to Check?
This is always the question I struggle with. Oh the dilemmas of being a shoe addict…but in all seriousness, this is dilemma central. If you are able to smush everything into a carry-on suitcase and bear the weight of your shoulder bag, go for it! For me, these are usually trips to semi-warm destinations where I can wear my heaviest belongings on the plane (cough*running shoes*cough) or trips under 6 days. I once did Calgary Stampede with a carry-on suitcase. Yes ladies, I did do that! Here’s a little test that can help you decide whether to carry-on or check. If you answer “Yes” to more than half, you should be checking that bag immediately.
- Are any of your liquids over 100ml?
- Does the zipper on your suitcase look like it’s about to break?
- Are you planning to buy anything while away?
- Are you packing your blow dryer?
- Does your destination require hats, gloves, boots, etc.?
- Does your clothing wrinkle easily?
- Are you packing more than one pair of heels?
- Is your trip longer than 6 days and not of a backpacking/nomad style?
Let’s just say I check bags more often than I carry on…#shoes.
Face Wash or Face Wipes?
This is up there with #shoes. Toiletries and hair supplies can be the bane of your existence or saving grace whilst travelling. This is one area that I really win the race. I actually have an entire drawer in my bathroom devoted to my travel toiletries. Now, I’m not referring to itty bitty bottles of shampoo and conditioner. What I am referring to is products that are small enough to bring onboard a plane (under 100ml) but are still top notch. Here are a few of my toiletry hacks:
- Olay Face Cloths – no need to worry about spilled cleanser, just add water to these bad boys
- Small Travel Containers – for face cream, oils, hair spray, etc.
- Cottonelle Wipes – it’s always nice to freshen up on the go
- Single Packet Nail Polish Remover – Nothing is worse than having chipped nails and nothing to fix it!
Items that should be on your ‘Must Pack List’…Always
- A plastic bag – you never know when you might need to protect something from exploding or getting everything else wet
- Toothpaste – hotels hardly ever stock toothpaste in their bathroom arsenal of beauty products
- A suite of ‘can’t live without’ items: Advil, bandaids, lip balm, hair elastics, face cream, safety pins, etc. A full post on this to come!
- If you’re travelling for meetings, ask your company to write you a travel letter to cover your butt. Border security guards are intimidating and can be tough cookies.
Major Packing Hacks
- Invest in a top notch travel wallet – this is the one I have (in black) and I love it!!
- Also invest in a flexible, light-weight, zip-up carry-on bag. I’m obsessed with the colour and shimmer of this Longchamp baby.
- Wearing compression socks on long haul flights helps your legs from swelling. Swollen legs and feet are no fun when travelling.
- When deciding what to wear on your travel days, dress in layers. Layers keep you warm, can be taken off if you are hot, and can reduce the amount of clothing in your suitcase.
- Rolling vs. Folding. The debate will last as long as the chicken and the egg. I’m personally a folder, I find it keeps things from wrinkling and stays organized.
- If you’re going overseas, bring a travel adapter!
- You can technically bring, 1 carry-on sized bag, 1 smaller bag, and 1 purse. Men, get yourselves a man-purse!
- You’ll be better organized if your carry-on bag is like a set of Russian Nesting Dolls. Organized bags of your goodies packed within your larger carry-on ensure nothing gets lost and your sanity stays in check.
When it comes down to it, prep is key. If you start packing at least a week out, you’ll have time to pick up all of your little pieces and wash everything you need. It’s something I always try to do and my biggest packing hack. Now that you’re armed and dangerous (don’t say that onboard…), good luck with your packing – I know you can do it!
I’d love it if you can add any packing tips and tricks below in the comments – sharing is caring!