Packing your bag(s) before a long vacation can easily turn into a maddening game of Tetris: so many items, so little space. But, as any seasoned traveller can tell you, there are plenty of crafty tricks to cram more stuff into your bag while keeping it slim. And here are some of the best and easiest of them:
1. Make a list, and stick to it. But we already got that one, right?
2. Make your own travel-sized toiletries kit: Half a tube of toothpaste, a small plastic bottle for your favorite shampoo, etc. If you’re going away for a week, a month’s worth of soap will only weigh you down.
3. Do your own laundry, so you don’t have to bring a fresh set of clothes for every day that you’re away. A ‘true’ traveller can wash her t-shirts and underwear using the sink in her hotel room. You can use your hotel’s laundry service, of course, but they usually charge an arm and a leg.
4. Jackets, blazers, and boots are heavy and large. So wear them while you’re travelling.
5. Roll your clothes—don’t fold them. Tightly rolled clothing takes less space and won’t wrinkle as much. (This works best for pants, skirts, and t-shirts.)
6. Don’t take what your hotel provides. So call ahead to ask what your hotel provides for its guests—this might include bathrobes, hairdryers, and various toiletries.
7. When picking clothes to bring with you stick to neutral colors, so that each article of clothing can be matched with something else in more than one way. This way, you can create a different look each day while only carrying a few items. Need an extra dash of color? Use easy-to-pack accessories such as scarves or belts.
8. Send your items ahead. Sometimes, depending on where you’re heading to, sending some of your items ahead of you can actually cost less than extra baggage fees.