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16 Tips That Will Change the Way You Pack

How to pack seems like a simple enough thing, but what about spills, wrinkly clothes, tangled jewelry, broken souvenirs, tons of kids to back for, and even lost baggage? We’ve got you covered with these 16 packing tips and tricks that will change the way you pack for vacation and even save you money on checked baggage.

By
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin ,
June 30, 2016

Packing tips

Fix a Smelly Suitcase

You left some funky sneakers in your suitcase, and now it smells bad. Get rid of a bad suitcase smell with some dryer sheets. Throw some in your suitcase and leave it overnight, and the smell will be gone by tomorrow. Dryer sheets are also great for packing with your luggage to keep your clothes fresh while you’re on the go.

Make Packing for Kids Easier

If you’re traveling with young kids, make it easier to get ready each morning while you’re away. When packing their clothes, pack full outfits, and place each one in a big Ziploc bag (with any hair or other accessories)—plus an extra or two for spills and emergencies. Each morning, your child can pick out one Ziploc full of clothes to wear that day. That way, you won’t have to spend as much time making sure they look presentable!

Roadtrip Tip

If you’re traveling by car and will be spending a single night at a hotel, consider packing a separate bag for this night only. Have everyone in your family add their items to that bag, and it will be the only one you’ll have to pull out of the car on your lay-over.

Plan for Lost Luggage

If you are checking your bags, put at least one outfit in the suitcase of your spouse (or other travel buddy). If your suitcase gets lost, you’ll have at least a few clothes to tide you over until it’s found.

Keep Necklaces from Getting Tangled

Make sure your delicate necklaces and bracelets don’t get tangled while you’re traveling—keep them safe with some plastic straws. Cut a straw in half, thread your necklace through, and fasten the clasp. The straw will keep the chain straight and untangled.

Pill Container as Earring Holder

Repurpose a plastic daily vitamin/pill container into a earring container that’s perfect for trips. Earrings and sometimes even rings fit perfectly inside, and it will make sure you’re accessorized for each day you’re away!

Another Easy Fix for Packing Jewelry

Packing for a trip? Keep your sensitive jewelry safe and tangle-free by taping it to some bubble wrap. Then roll the wrap up and pack safely in your suitcase.

Pack Alike

These days, when we pack, it’s all about shoving everything we need into a carry-on to save on checked bag fees. One rule we live by to make it work? Pack clothes that are in the same color family, and pants that can go with a lot of different shirts. You can more easily mix and match them, so you’ll have to pack less. This trick will also come in handy when you spill something on yourself—if your blue shirt soiled, you still have another in your suitcase.

Send Presents Ahead

Visiting family? Especially when you have to pack tons of presents, it’s usually more frugal to pay to ship the contents of your suitcase to your destination ahead of time. Most airlines charge between $15 and $30 for the first checked bag and much more for the second, while it only costs around $14 to mail up to 70 pounds via the post office.

Packing Pants So They Don’t Wrinkle

When packing for vacation, place your pants in the bottom of the suitcase, with half of them hanging over the side. Place the rest of your clothes on top, then fold the pants back over on top of the clothes. When you unpack, your pants won’t need to be pressed.

Prevent Packing Creases

Save those empty paper towel rolls, and use them while you’re packing your suitcase for vacation! Roll your clothes around the paper towel rolls, and you’ll help prevent creases. You’ll also have a handy spot inside the roll for storing small items like socks and underwear.

Do-Ahead Souvenir Saver

Protect fragile items, like souvenirs, by thinking ahead before you pack. Fill a few Ziploc bags with packing peanuts or leftover bubble wrap, and toss them in your suitcase. They won’t add much weight to the bag, and you’ll be really glad you brought them once you find that one-of-a-kind vase or other fragile trinket during your travels.

Keep Dirty Shoes Separate

When you get plastic shower caps at hotels, save them for your suitcase. They make the perfect covers for dirty shoes!

Stop Suitcase Spills

When you’re packing for a trip, keep some plastic wrap nearby. Before you pack shampoo, sunscreen, or other toiletries, take off the caps, place a layer of plastic wrap over the mouth of the container, and twist the cap back on. The plastic wrap with give you double the protection against suitcase spills.

Traveling Internationally?

Before you travel internationally, pack a spare passport photo and write down your passport number and the date it was issued. If you lose your passport while abroad, you’ll have all the materials you need to get a new one. Bring your photo and passport info to a nearby US embassy: It’ll take much less time to process your request if you come prepared.

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