Pack Your Bags Like a Pro

Pack Your Bags Like a Pro

messy suitcase
Make The Most of Your Space With These Tips
Outside NY
Hayley Schultz

Most people who love to travel, hate to pack (and unpack...ugghhhhh).

But like it or not, packing is an important part of pre-travel prep and if you're smart about it, it can be the difference between a vacation focused on the sights, food, people and experiences of your destination, and a vacation focused on what you forgot to bring, what you need to buy, or how heavy and expensive your overstuffed suitcase is.

Here are some practical tips to help you pack strategically so you can focus less on your stuff and more on enjoying your trip.

  1. Use the smallest suitcase you can.

  2. The bigger your bag, the more you're going to squeeze into it. Avoid the temptation and use the smallest one that will do the job.

  3. Use the 5,4,3,2,1 rule for trips that are one-week long. This mean 5 sets of socks/underwear, 4 shirts, 3 bottoms, 2 pairs of shoes and 1 hat. Toss in a bathing suit, exercise apparel and a suit or dress, if applicable, too.

  4. Lay out your clothes first and then be vicious about editing. Reject anything that makes you think, "I'll pack this just in case I need it."

  5. Do your laundry before you pack. And then pack before you put the rest of the laundry away. This makes both jobs (packing and putting away laundry) easier.

  6. Don’t pack any clothes that need to be ironed.

  7. Don’t pack any clothes that you haven’t already worn and deemed comfortable and appropriate for the weather and/or terrain. Don’t assume your new clothes will be fine; wear them first and make sure. Don’t pack anything that you constantly reject at home. If you dislike it enough to never wear it at home, you’re certain to hate it while you’re away too.

  8. Pack like you're playing Tetris. Use every bit of both obvious and hidden spaces. Stuff your socks into your shoes, put your clothes in dry-cleaner's plastic to prevent wrinkles and then roll them, use packing cubes (available at the AAA Travel Store), or if you have some time to experiment, try the bundle technique.

  9. As soon as you think of packing something, pack it. Unless you’re not home. Then immediately write it down or email it to yourself.

  10. Keep liquids accessible in a clear bag on top of your suitcase so that if a TSA agent needs to look at them, they won't have to dig through your clothes to find them.

Now that you know how to pack, where are you going? Let AAA's travel experts create the perfect getaway for you!


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