The Organized Traveler: Packing Tips

The Organized Traveler: Packing Tips

Jessica Tata
Jul 28, 2011

It's nearing the end of Travel and Escapes month here at Apartment Therapy, and I got to thinking about my routines and rituals that I go through when I take a trip. I find that when I clean my home before I pack, it prevents me from missing important items, and helps me stay organized. Here are my favorite tips to help me become an organized traveler.

Clean your room This is probably the most important thing I do to prepare myself for a trip. If I make sure that my laundry is done and put away, my belongings are all tidied, and my bed is made before I begin packing, it allows me to more methodically select what I need to bring on my trip. It helps me to choose my favorite and most appropriate clothing, I am less likely to forget things that I need, and it's easier to pack on a neatly made bed than a messy one. Plus, everyone loves to come home to a clean house!
Make a list This may seem elementary, but different trips require different accoutrement. For me, one of the exciting parts about a trip is the build-up of excitement prior to the actual events. So, while I'm daydreaming about all of the fun things I'll be doing when I get to fill-in-the-blank, I make a list of things I'll need to do them! Need help on this one? The Independent Traveler has a great interactive list here.
Choose the right bag I have a giant bag. If I fill it (which I am inclined to do as I am an unabashed over-packer) I end up perilously close to the 50 pound limit most airlines have. So, unless I really know that I need that much room, I opt for the bag that I always think will be too small. It always ends up doing just fine. Use your common sense to dictate how much luggage you need. And if you're an over-packer like me, face the facts and try to tame that beast!
Plan for souvenirs Leave yourself some room to bring home souvenirs, gifts, or additional items. If you're a shopper, don't pack your luggage to the brim--you'll need the space when you are heading back. Or, if you haven't maximized your limit of carry-ons, bring an extra empty bag for the return trip. This came in extremely handy for me last holiday season.
Carry on valuables I know folks that always bring at least one change of clothes in their carry-on in the event that their luggage is lost. I don't, personally, but maybe I should!
However, I always make sure to carry-on all of my valuables and things I cannot replace immediately, like glasses, medication, and fancy jewelry.
Roll up clothing I'm a convert. By rolling up each article of clothing, your clothes stay pretty wrinkle-free and often take up the least amount of space. I've also read a lot about a packing method called bundling, where you wrap your clothing around itslef, with your most wrinkle-proof things in the center. I haven't tried it, though, so I can't vouch for it. One Bag, a website devoted to packing efficiency, seems to swear by it!

A few more things to keep in mind on your quest to be an Organized Traveler:
• Don't lock your luggage.
• The thing about the liquids and the 3 oz. — just get some small bottles already, would ya!?
• For long trips, road trips, and honestly, just because they come in handy all of the time, bring some moist towlettes.

Now, what did I miss? What helpful hints do you have for successful packing? And have any of you tried this bundle method?

Images: 1. Flickr member Foxtongue licensed for use by Creative Commons, 2. One Bag

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