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Getting ready for your next trip is exciting—you’re about to go on a new adventure, see new sights, and meet new people—but one part that’s not so fun is figuring out the jigsaw puzzle that is getting everything you need into your bag. Whether you’re trying to avoid paying for a checked bag or don’t want to deal with bulk when trying to navigate through the countryside, you’re in luck because I have some hacks that will help you solve your problem. The trick to minimizing your luggage burden is maximizing the space you have—try these 5 tips when preparing for your next vacation.

Before you get started, here’s what you’ll need:

  • A detailed packing list – this will help you stay organized when figuring out where to put what and prevent you from overpacking
  • Soft bag – soft-sided bags are usually preferable, whether it’s the perfect travel backpack, a duffle bag, or a suitcase that’s more malleable, so you can generally fit a little more in them
  • CBD capsules for better focus – if the thought of this packing project has you stressed, you’ll feel much more ready to tackle your suitcase with a calm, clear head

#1: Wear Your Bulky Shoes & Clothing on the Airplane

If possible, wear your bulkiest items on the plane. Instead of figuring out how to stuff your big down jacket into your bag or taking up tons of valuable space with chunky boots or sneakers, you can wear them on the airplane to make more room for essentials. Plus, it’s easy to take off big layers and get comfortable once you’ve sat down.

#2: Roll Your Clothes

Rolling the bottom layer of clothing is an easy way to save space. All you need to do is tightly roll each item and lay them facing vertically in rows until you run out of room. Most fabrics will survive rolling without getting wrinkled, but if you have dressier clothes you need to fold, put those on a second layer on top of the rolled clothes.

#3: Bringing Minimal Quantities of Everything

Whether it’s clothes or toiletries, only bring what you actually need. It can be tempting to get caught up in worrying about the what-if’s, the reality is that most of us rarely ever use those three extra outfits we pack or all of our shampoo and conditioner. Leave behind what you don’t absolutely need, like two pairs of very similar looking shoes. And for toiletries, buy travel size items or simply transfer your products over to smaller bottles.

You should also think about what types of equipment you can rent, so that you don’t have to lug it around everywhere. For example, if you’re planning a trip to Victoria Falls while traveling through Zambia, you might be able to rent a parka or buy a disposable one when you’re there. Same goes for diving and other activities.

#4: Opt for Creative Storage Solutions

It might seem like the easiest option to put all of your small items (toiletries, jewelry, belts, etc.) in bags and cases but that might be an unnecessary use of space in your luggage. Instead, get creative with compact storage solutions. 

For example, your jewelry can be kept untangled and in perfect condition by placing it between two sheets of plastic wrap. For belts, sunglasses, chargers, Bluetooth speakers, and the like, find small spaces between clothing to squeeze them into for snug, yet protective storage. You can also stick socks and other items inside your shoes.

#5: Wash or Compress Dirty Clothes Along the Way

Throughout your trip you’ll begin to accumulate dirty clothes. For many of us, that means keeping a bag of dirty clothes in the corner of our bag for the remainder of our vacation. However, that can make the rest of your clothing smell and is a shameful waste of space when you could be using it to store the things you pick up along the way. 

Instead, bring along a compression bag or two that are strictly used for dirty clothes. That way the smell doesn’t taint your other fresh clothes and you save space. To maximize space even further, you can pack the bare minimum and bring along some laundry detergent (in a small bottle, of course) to wash clothes in your hotel bath or sink along the way. 

When planning your adventures for 2021 and beyond, keep these tips in mind, so that you can make packing less stressful and your trip more enjoyable. 

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