Packing for a trip can be a bit of a struggle. OK, a LOT of a struggle. If you’re one of those awesome packers who can squeeze everything into a carry-on in the blink of an eye, well, kudos to you. But go away (come back later though!). Because we’re talking to the kinds of people who, for some reason, need to fit an entire closet into a suitcase. The folks who bring two different hairdryers and the entire underwear drawer to the all inclusive, just in case. We’re not
admitting saying we do that, but we feel your pain.
Packing for an entire family can be a whole other beast at the best of times, and when you’re Ms./Mr. Entire Closet, well, we feel a tension headache coming on just thinking about it. But, worry not! We’ve come up with a few ways to make it less stressful — before, during and after your holiday. Because what’s the point of going away on vacation when it doesn’t feel like a vacation? Put your mind at ease, get it all packed efficiently and then relax. No, really. Relax.
Roll your clothes
Rolling your clothes instead of folding them maximizes the space in your suitcase. It’s truly surprising how much more you can cram in there. Plus, if rolled just right, there’ll be fewer creases in your clothing.
Plan an outfit a day
If your little ones are pretty easy-going when it comes to fashion, pack a bag per day filled with everything you think they’ll need (top, shorts, underwear, socks). Keep a used dryer sheet in the bags to keep the clothes smelling delightful at the time you pull them out.
Stuff your shoes
If you’re running low on packing space, you can put socks or any other items inside your shoes. And on the way home, since said (now gross) socks will be in a plastic bag, you can replace them with souvenirs or sunglasses or anything else that need some extra encasing.
Put heavy things in the bottom
Pack your shoes at the bottom of your suitcase. They’re probably the heaviest and bulkiest items in there and you don’t want your bag to be top-heavy and topple over.
Stack your bras
By piling them on top of each other, then folding them in half, it’ll save precious room. And depending on how big/small the cups are and how big/small your underwear is, you can stuff them into the cups to help them keep their shape.
Add some pop to your collars
Roll up your belts and stick them inside any collared shirts to keep them nice and stiff.
Use plastic, not paper
They may not be terrible for the environment (or your face) but the dozens you have under your kitchen sink are ideal for 1) keeping your shoes’ dirty soles from touching clean clothes; 2) putting dirty, stinky laundry in throughout your trip; 3) stashing any wet swimwear for the return home so you can enjoy every last second on the beach or poolside.
Yes, most hotel rooms come with irons but no one ever wants to iron while they’re away from home. Heck, no one ever wants to iron when they’re AT home. So a travel-sized spray bottle of Downy’s Wrinkle Releaser Plus is the easiest way for us lazy people to get rid of those pesky creases.
Look good, smell good
Dryer sheets, man. They’ll keep your clothes smelling fresh all while taking up no extra space.
Stop your toiletries from exploding
Nothing is more annoying than when your shampoo or face wash leaks in your toiletry bag. So beforehand, take the tops off the bottles, wrap a piece of cling wrap over the top, then secure the cap back on. Unwanted spills can suck it!
Save your makeup
A cotton ball or pad in your compacts will prevent them from breaking.
Stash your jewelry
If you plan on bringing a boatload (If you are going on a cruise, see what we did there? If you are not, as you were.) of accessories, it’s the best way to keep track of them. It’s especially good for earrings. You might also want to pop a couple of extra backings in there, just in case.
Store your chargers
Store phone, tablet, activity tracker and e-reader chargers all in one place. If you want them that much more organized, tie them with rubber bands.
Save your neck(laces)
Thread your necklaces through straws to prevent any tangling. Heck, this can be done at home too.
Keep your razors sharp
In case you’ve lost that little plastic cover that came with your razor, you can prevent any little cuts or the dulling of the blades by putting a large binder clip over the razor blade.
Hide away your hair clips
Put any bobby pins or hair clips in an empty Tic Tac case, or something equally small that will keep them from going astray.
Wrap your flat iron
They usually don’t take too long to cool down but there are times when you have to use it, then pack it. So pop your flat iron into a pot holder; that way you can pack it even while it’s still a little warm.
Use water wings for more than just the pool
Sure, they’ll come in handy for the little swimmers-in-training but for your trip home, they make the perfect cushions to keep any bottles you’re bringing back with you.
Bubble wrap it up
It seems a little silly but it takes up little space and you can protect breakables like cologne bottles. For your return home, if you happen to buy something fragile (a snow globe, maracas, a sugar skull), which you undoubtedly will, wrap them up and consider them safe in your luggage.
Have empty water bottles on hand
Then refill them after you pass security for your thirsty kids, rather than spend $5 on a new bottle.
Keep a pen handy
That way you can complete your family’s customs forms when you get them. Be OK with sharing, though, since people will eye it when you’re done and flight attendants rarely have them. And, no, your kids’ pencil crayons won’t do.
Find your bags easily
Every bag looks the same at the carousel so you can buy a bright suitcase, or get a colourful strap or tie a colourful ribbon around yours so it’s easy to spot. Or both.