Don’t Make These 10 Mistakes When Packing Your Suitcase

When preparing to travel, lay out all of your clothes and all of your money.  Then, take half the clothes and twice the money.

Susan Heller

Packing for a trip can be both exciting and daunting. However, avoiding common packing mistakes can help ensure a smoother and more enjoyable travel experience. Here are 10 mistakes to watch out for when packing your suitcase:


When it comes to packing your suitcase, experienced travelers frequently advise against folding your clothes, but that doesn’t imply you should throw them in carelessly. Instead, use the rolling approach.

Getting the most out of your packing space requires properly rolling your clothes. Do this both while packing your baggage and when putting dirty clothes in your laundry bag. When I roll my clothes, I definitely notice that there are fewer wrinkles than when I fold them.

Packing or compression cubes offer numerous benefits for travelers, enhancing organization, efficiency, and convenience throughout their journeys. By compartmentalizing clothing and essentials into separate cubes, travelers can easily locate items without rummaging through their entire luggage, saving valuable time and minimizing stress. Compression cubes further maximize space within suitcases, allowing travelers to pack more efficiently and reduce the risk of overpacking. Additionally, these cubes help to keep clothing neatly organized and wrinkle-free, ensuring that outfits remain fresh and presentable upon arrival at their destination. Whether embarking on a weekend getaway or a long-term adventure, packing or compression cubes are invaluable tools that streamline the packing process and optimize luggage space, ultimately enhancing the overall travel experience.


When it comes to packing, shoes often top the list of unnecessary items we throw into our bags. As someone who isn’t particularly fond of shoe shopping, I find it easy to stick to the essentials when traveling.

Footwear, especially bulkier options, can consume significant packing space and present challenges in terms of folding and organization. Additionally, their weight can eat into your luggage allowance, limiting the space available for souvenirs or other essentials. A helpful tip is to wear your largest or heaviest shoes during travel, such as hiking/winter boots. Personally, I opt for just two pairs of shoes for my journeys— the ones I wear and one spare, keeping things simple and efficient.


Overpacking ranks among the most common packing blunders travelers make. Opting for a carry-on allows for seamless management of a five- to seven-day journey. Yet, many individuals find themselves not utilizing even half of the contents within their suitcases. Simple strategies like reducing clothing items or selecting versatile pieces like pants that can be worn multiple times before washing help curtail overpacking tendencies.

Incorporating capsule wardrobes is another effective technique for combating overpacking. By selecting a few versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits, travelers can streamline their packing process and reduce the number of items they bring. This minimalist approach not only saves space in luggage but also ensures that every clothing item serves a purpose, allowing for more efficient and stress-free travel.

Almost everyone falls into the trap of overpacking. Personally, I rely on a method where I lay out all the items I believe I’ll need, then trim down the selection by a third or even half. Remembering that forgotten essentials can often be purchased locally turns such instances into unexpected vacation highlights.


4. forgetting essentials

One invaluable tip I highly recommend is to employ a packing list. By jotting down your necessities and checking them off as you pack, you’ll streamline your process and optimize space. Whether you craft your own list, utilize one sourced from the internet, or rely on a packing app, this method ensures nothing is overlooked and prevents redundant packing of items already stowed away in your suitcase.


When you’re packing, rolling your clothes can totally help you fit more in your bag, but hey, don’t feel like you have to stuff every nook and cranny, especially if your stuff is on the heavier side. And, if you’re hopping on a plane, listen up!

You know how when you check your bags, they always weigh and measure them? Well, guess what? The same can go for carry-ons, especially on those international flights where you have check in at the airport or on those budget airlines that love charging extra for luggage.

Before you jet off, make sure to double-check the airline’s website for info on bag size and all that jazz. And hey, maybe grab a luggage scale to avoid any surprise fees or headaches at the airport. Keep it simple and only pack what you really need to avoid any last-minute scrambles at check-in. Trust me, no one wants to deal with crazy fees for just a few extra pounds or scrambling to rearrange your stuff to fit the rules.


I always pack some type of bag to use for dirty laundry. There’s nothing worse than mixing dirty and clean clothes, and doing laundry on vacation is often neither possible nor desirable. A simple trash bag can work, but a reusable laundry bag may be purchased at a reasonable price as well.

7. not packing bulky items first

Starting with bulky items like shoes or jackets can limit the available space in your suitcase and make it difficult to fit everything else in. Instead, begin by packing smaller items like clothing and toiletries, then fill in any remaining gaps with larger items. This will help maximize space and ensure that everything fits comfortably in your suitcase.


Procrastinating packing often leads to rushed decisions and forgetfulness, as travelers scramble to gather their belongings at the last minute. This can result in overlooking essential items, such as travel documents, medications, or chargers, which are crucial for a smooth and stress-free trip. Additionally, packing in a hurry increases the likelihood of items being packed haphazardly or not at all, leading to a disorganized suitcase and potential frustration upon arrival at your destination.

Furthermore, leaving packing until the eleventh hour deprives you of the opportunity to carefully consider your needs and make thoughtful packing decisions. It also adds unnecessary stress to the pre-travel process, detracting from the excitement of the upcoming journey. By planning ahead and packing in advance, travelers can ensure a more relaxed and enjoyable start to their trip.


Here’s another reason to steer clear of overpacking your suitcase with excess shoes or unnecessary clothing: it leaves little room for souvenirs. When preparing your luggage, contemplate the potential items you might collect during your journey. Ensure there’s extra space in your suitcase to accommodate any treasures you wish to bring back home.

10. packing valuables/necessities in your checked bag

Keeping valuables like electronics, jewelry, medications, keys or important documents in checked luggage increases the risk of loss or theft. Always pack valuables and medical necessities in your carry-on bag to keep them safe and secure throughout your journey. It’s also not a bad idea to keep one set of clothes, a toothbrush and hair hairbrush on hand in case of lost luggage.

When traveling, it’s necessary to have your medications, but you don’t have to bring your entire supply. Don’t bring every single pill or supplement bottle because they take up a lot of room. Pack your tablets in a pill container or little bags, labeling each one so you know what it is. Depending on the country and what medication you are taking, you may need to take the actual prescription bottle in situations that involved controlled substances, though.

I bypass this situation all together and get my prescriptions filled with PillPack. Each day’s medication is in it’s own plastic sleeve with the medication and dosage amount printed right on it. I can easily rip off the sleeves for the days I plan to be gone (plus a couple extra in case of delays) and throw them into my carry-on.


Avoiding these common packing mistakes can help ensure a stress-free and enjoyable travel experience. By packing wisely and staying organized, you can make the most of your suitcase space and avoid unnecessary hassles during your trip. Happy travels!


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