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
From folding clothes to bringing too many pairs of shoes, here are 10 mistakes people make when packing for a trip, as well as some tips on how to prevent issues when you go.
1. FOLDING YOUR CLOTHES
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.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend the use of packing cubes. I’m able to fit so many items by rolling them and storing them into packing cubes. There are several types, but I personally prefer the compression version.
2. TAKING TOO MANY SHOES
We tend to throw many unnecessary things into our bags, but shoes are probably the worst culprit. I’ve never been a “shoe girl” so it’s usually easy for me to take the bare minimum on a trip. Footwear takes up a lot of packing room, unless they are sandals or flip-flops. Plus, they can’t be folded either, making packing even harder.
Not to mention, shoes can be heavy and can take up precious weight that could be used for other items or to bring souvenirs back from your trip. Here’s a tip: When traveling, you should always wear your largest/heaviest pair of shoes. If you’re going on a hiking excursion, for example, wear your hiking boots on the plane. I personally travel with just two pairs of shoes — the ones I wear and one spare.
3. OVER PACKING
Over packing is one of the most common mistakes people make when packing for a trip. With a carry-on, you can easily manage a five- to seven-day trip. The majority of people will not wear half of what they brought in their suitcases. Cutting down on clothes or choosing items like pants that can be worn many times before cleaning are just a few methods to minimize over packing.
Nearly every single person over packs. My go-to method is to lay out everything I want to take and think I will need, then reduce the items by one third or even one half. If you forget something, you can buy it locally. This can end up being a fun vacation experience in and of itself!
4. NOT USING A LIST
One tip that I can’t stress enough is to USE A PACKING LIST. Taking the effort to write down your needs and cross them off as you go can help you save time and space. You can make your own list, use one you found on the internet, or even a packing app. A packing list not only ensures that you don’t forget anything, but it also saves you from packing items twice that may already be at the bottom of your suitcase.
5. NOT CHECKING THE AIRLINE’S SIZE & WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS
Rolling your clothes can help you fit more into your bag, but it doesn’t mean you have to fill every inch, especially if your items are heavier. If you’re traveling by airline, this is especially true.
Travelers who check their bags are probably used to having their luggage weighed and measured, but did you know carry-ons can also be weighed and measured? This is especially common on foreign flights where you must check in at the airport, as well as on cheap airlines that profit from luggage fees.
Before travelling to the airport, be sure to double-check the airline website for bag size limitations and use a luggage scale to prevent extra fines or other complications. Do your best to only bring what you need. Doing this can save you time and aggravation when you drop your bag at the airline. No one likes being charged crazy fees for an extra 4lbs of luggage or having to rearrange your items and add things to your carry-on or personal item.
6. FORGETTING A LAUNDRY BAG
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 made of durable material like nylon may be purchased at a reasonable price as well.
7. STORING YOUR VACCINE CARD IMPROPERLY
These days, you’ll likely need to bring an additional document with you on your travels: confirmation of vaccination.
The vaccination card from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a little too big to fit in your wallet next to your driver’s license. As a result, travelers must be more careful about where they store it. I chose to purchase a passport holder with a secure area for my CDC card. You can also keep it in a secure pocket in your purse at all times.
8. LAST MINUTE PACKING
Giving yourself enough time to properly pack might help you avoid a lot of problems. People either ‘overpack’ by taking far too many needless stuff or ‘underpack’ by failing to bring some critical ones. The only way to avoid either scenario is not wait until the last minute to pack. This can relieve a lot of stress and allow you to pack only what you need for your trip.
9. NOT LEAVING EXTRA ROOM
Another reason to avoid cramming your suitcase with too many pairs of shoes or needless clothing is that it limits the amount of space available for souvenirs. When you pack your bag, consider what you might pick up on your trip. Make sure you have additional space in your suitcase if you want to buy stuff on your trip.
10. PACKING YOUR MEDICATION
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 an 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 purse.