Smart Packing: How to Maximize Space and Avoid Overpacking

When venturing on any type of journey — whether it be a weekend getaway or an around-the-world escapade — you’re going to need to pack some type of bag. But with such a variety of sizes and types of suitcase — duffel, shoulder bag, backpack — how do you maximize the space in whichever one you choose to bring? Follow these helpful tips and tricks to efficiently achieve the perfect amount of storage for a stress-free and enjoyable journey.

Understand the Basics of Smart Packing

Before we even get started, let’s review the basic principles of smart packing — keeping things light and organized. If you’re using a larger suitcase, strive for a weight that won’t max-out your strength when you’re dragging it around. Secondly, stay organized by grouping like items together. Whether that’s matching items of clothing in clear cases for wardrobe changes or packing a single, organized toiletry bag, sorting items into categories will keep your selection neat and easily accessible.

Figure Out What to Pack

As with any type of packing, figuring out what to bring is key. To select the right amount of clothing to bring, consider the type of trip you’re going on and how the climate might dictate what you should wear. Sticking with a single color palette can also make your clothing mix and match easier. Additionally, even if you’re traveling somewhere warm, don’t forget to throw in a light jacket or wrap in case you get cold.

Take Stock of Your Accessories

One area that tends to cause overpacking is accessories. In order to prevent an accessory overload, review which materials you’re really going to need for the trip. Consider what’s weather appropriate — like a scarf, wrap or, occasionally, a hat — as the climate will naturally eliminate some accessories from the packing list.

Choose a Bag

Now that you’ve selected your items for packing into a bag, you can determine which type of bag will best fit your requirements. You’ll want to take into account multiple factors — from the length of your stay to the types of items you’ll be packing. For instance, a larger suitcase might be best if you’ll be staying definitively, while a smaller carry-on might be better suited for a weekend getaway.

Here’s a quick guide to help you select the right type of bag:

• Backpack: A versatile option, ideal for short-term trips, sightseeing, or everyday errands.

• Duffel: Perfect for short to mid-length trips, duffels are a great option for lightweight and organized packing.

• Spinner suitcase: Either carry-on or checked, this is an ideal option for family trips or longer stays.

• Shoulder bag: Great for day trips, fits laptop and other essentials. Plus, the shoulder strap makes it a breeze to carry.

Maximize Your Space

Now that you’ve selected the bag for your travels, it’s time to maximize the space to fit all of your items. To squeeze in extra items, roll up clothing instead of folding it. Additionally, use an old soda bottle and cling wrap to create a makeshift vacuum seal for clothes — this will not only help you fit more items but also prevent wrinkles in the fabrics. Lastly, store electronics and fragile items towards the center of the bag as opposed to the outside to ensure that they don’t get damaged during transport.

Avoid Overpacking

On that same note, here are a few tricks to help you avoid overpacking:

• Check for equivalents — Having a few items of the same type? Select the one that performs best and eliminates the messy backups.

• Eliminate duplicates — For example, don’t bring two beautifully styled black heels — one should do the trick.

• Repurpose — A shawl can be used as a wrap or headscarf, and a simple dress can be worn casually with sandals or dressed up with a belt and heels.

• Digitize — A great way to eliminate bulk, you can picture important documents and cards with your phone, as well as store copies of important information onto a cloud application.

• Be open — Local shopping is a fun part of travel, so leave a little room in your bag to bring home a few souvenirs while on your journey.

Smart packing is key to the success of any trip — whether short or long. Following a few basic tips and tricks can help you maximize the space of your bag and, in turn, make for a stress-free and enjoyable journey. Don’t forget, lightweight items are better and you should keep like items stored and grouped together. This will make your selection easily accessible and also make sure you haven’t overpacked. Utilize the advice outlined above and you’ll be well-prepared to tackle your next excursion without fail.