Packing properly is absolutely essential. Pack too much and you’ll end up heaving heavy bags through airports, train stations and hotels—plus, paying extra for airline baggage fees. Pack too little and you might waste vacation time shopping for items you could have easily brought from home. To help ease your packing woes, we’ve included 7 helpful guidelines for packing your suitcase.
1. Know the baggage policy of your airline
Before you begin packing, make sure you know the baggage policy of your airline. Though it varies depending on the carrier, many airlines allow one carry-on bag, one personal item (such as a purse or laptop), and one checked bag free of charge. However, some budget airlines charge for checked baggage and only allow a single carry-on with no personal item.
Check your airline’s baggage policy with your travel agent, or by going online to the airline website. Be sure to confirm the size regulations and weight restrictions. This will help you choose the right sized bag and prevent you from over packing, ensuring that you don’t get saddled with hefty baggage fees.
2. Check the liquids regulations of your airport
Make sure to check the liquids regulations for your airport before you pack your carry-on. In Canada, you are allowed to bring some liquids in your carry-on in 100mL containers. Each passenger must store their liquids in a single, closed, reseal-able one litre bag. Liquids regulations for airports in other countries may vary.
3. Make a packing list
You might think a packing list is unnecessary, but this step will help you ensure that you don’t forget any important items, saving you time when you arrive in your destination. Start thinking about what you will need to bring several days or even a few weeks prior to your trip. This will enable you to put together a complete list, while also helping you identify items that you still need to purchase.
4. Roll your clothing
Rolling is far superior to folding your clothing when packing for a vacation. Why? For starters, rolled clothing takes up less space in your luggage, so you have more room to pack souvenirs on your return home. Rolled clothing is also less likely to get creased, so you won’t need to iron your clothes at your hotel or walk around in wrinkly pants!
5. Use packing tools
Packing aids and tools, such as compression bags, can be really useful, especially when embarking on a long journey. In addition to compression bags, packing cubes are another great item, as they can help you save space while also organizing your belongings. Travel organizers are another helpful item that enable you to securely store items such as your iPod, pens, earbuds, gum and other loose items in a useful way.
6. Choose your wardrobe wisely
Think ahead when choosing what clothing you will bring on vacation. Consider the climate. Is it likely to be hot? Leave the jeans at home and pack light, loose-fitting clothing. Is there a possibility of rain? Be sure to pack a rain jacket or poncho. Will you be doing a lot of walking or hiking? Bring along a good pair of walking shoes or a pair of hiking shoes or boots.
It’s also a good idea to think strategically about the outfits you will wear. Bring items that can be layered when the weather is cool, and un-layered when the weather is warm or hot. Pack versatile clothing that can be worn for different events, such as a black dress that can be worn casually on a day tour, and dressed up in the evening for a fancy dinner or night of dancing.
7. Always keep valuable and important belongings in your carry-on bag.
Money, jewelry, medication, expensive electronics, and other important items should be kept with you when embarking on a flight.
Do you have any other good packing tips to add to our list? Submit your best packing tips below!