Heading Out of Town? Here’s How to Pack Like a Pro

by BUST Magazine

Pack Like a Champ This Holiday Season

Travel can be a real pain, but being a skilled packer definitely simplifies things. As a hardcore globe-trekker, I’ve developed a knack for packing on the fly, tucking away essentials into my lightweight, durable suitcase during trips to East Africa, New Zealand, and in-between. Whether you’re hopping a train or stuffing yourself into a plane’s economy class, these tips will maximize your packing options when you’re heading home (or wherever) during the holidays: 210681.jpg

• Make a list on your phone of the items you’ll need and check it as you pack, so you don’t arrive at your destination only to realize that your favorite belt is still hanging on your closet doorknob.

• Rolling is the ultimate space-saver: curl your garments into tight little bundles, and you’ll be able to layer lots more pieces into your luggage. This summer, I rolled a two-month’s supply of casual wear into my small suitcase. Lay folded bulkier items like jeans (or formalwear in sealable plastic bags) on top. Stack your underwear in the corner nearest to the zipper opening, so they’re easy to access.

• The length of your trip should determine how many pieces you pack. For casual trips four days or shorter, pack one pair of jeans, a cute dress, a handful of casual/dressy tops, and two pairs of shoes. You can change things up with accessories. For trips that are five days or longer, add an extra pair of patterned leggings (a light, space-saving pant alternative), a pair of tights, and a sweater, both of which are key layering pieces in the winter. You can wear most things more than once, and you don’t want to arrive and realize that there’s no way you can wear everything you’ve packed.

• Keep your shoes away from your clothes by packing them last, bottoms-up or facing the side panels. Or start with boots at the bottom and place rolled items all around or even inside of them (if they don’t smell) to save space.

• When choosing what goes into your suitcase, start with what you think are must-haves. This usually creates an over-packed bag, so go through it a second time, leaving behind a third of what you’ve packed. Don’t forget pajamas, a lightweight hat, and a big scarf (unless you’re going somewhere hot for the holidays).

• Keep in mind that you’ll likely go shopping at some point, so you’ll need room in your luggage for new goodies.

• When packing liquids, secure the tops and cover the bottles in plastic wrap, then put them in another sealable plastic bag, to lessen the chances of them leaking on your stuff.

• Keep a set of travel-sized toiletries in your carry-on, and leave room for two to three extra pairs of undies and T-shirts, just in case your luggage is delayed.

• Also, always keep valuables in your carry-on. Jewelry, small electronic items, medicines, and your passport (and, ideally, snacks and a favorite magazine) should also remain with you.

• Wear your coat or jacket onto the plane instead of packing it. You can always store it overhead, lay it across your lap, or use it as a pillow.

• When you’re in transit, also wear your bulkiest clothing and biggest shoes, to free up some valuable real estate inside your suitcase. Happy travels!

Written by: Mai Perkins

Photography by: Kate Lacey 

This story originally appeared in BUST Magazine. Subscribe today! 

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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