Skip to main content

Whether you are boarding a flight (or several) or hitting the road for your next vacation, one thing remains the same: being efficient with your packing will set you up for an enjoyable time. Well-packed bags mean an easier time loading the car, as well as lower costs when flying—especially if you can fit everything into your carry-on. Or, if you can reduce the number of bags you bring, you’ll also likely pay less in baggage fees.

Five vacation packing tips to make your bag more manageable for traveling

  1. Pack outfits, not things you think you might It can be tempting to simply grab clean clothes from your dresser drawers or closet (or the dryer) and throw them into your bags but resist the urge! Take a few minutes to check the weather for your destination, as well as any major stopping points along the way, and pack accordingly. Consider what you’ll be doing to make sure your outfits match the activities. Then pack outfits, which should include your top, bottoms, undergarments, socks, footwear and any activity-specific wardrobe needs. Depending on your activities, you may also be able to re-wear some of your pants (with different tops), so consider coordinating your outfits to match two or three pairs of pants instead of seven for a week’s worth of wardrobe changes.
  2. Pack ONE extra outfit. Maybe you’re THE planner in your household and you always think of everything. That’s great (and how lucky is your family)! In the case of packing for vacation, whether you are loading a car or traveling by air, packing only what you need is key. It means you won’t leave behind or lose items, and it also means you’ll be able to keep tabs on all your belongings a bit better. After you have finished assembling an outfit for each day (plus one set of pajamas) add one more outfit for your trip, in case you need to change out of a dirty or stained outfit during your trip.
  3. Roll or fold your outfits together. After you have picked your outfits, lay the shirt out flat. Then put your folded pants on top, as well as any undergarments and socks. Then, fold one side in, then the other, fold up the bottom and then tuck the top into your folds. Or, roll them together instead of doing the folding method.
  4. Wear your biggest items on the flight. From a winter coat to hiking boots, whatever it is that you plan to wear during your trip that’s the bulkiest should be worn on your flight, if possible. (However, ski goggles or a snorkel should probably not be worn on the flight.)
  5. Use bags within your bag. Investing in mesh bags to organize the inside of your bag can bring even more structure to your already very orderly bag. Fill one with shoes and sandals, another with your hair, makeup and other personal hygiene items (remember: your liquids should be in a clear quart-sized bag and under the TSA size limits) and another with your chargers, cords, etc.

Whether you’ve got an ever-present wanderlust, or your next vacation is already planned, we hope these vacation packing tips helped you prepare for your next trip. A well-packed bag can not only help you save money on bag fees (if you’re flying), but it can also help you avoid the need to buy things on vacation that you forgot at home (and that may cost a lot more at tourist destinations than back home).

Looking for more travel tips? Check out our monthly blog posts for road trip, camping, traveling on a budget, building a travel savings and more ideas.