Five Smart Packing Tips from Travel Pros

3 min to read

What is it about packing for a trip that can bring out the absolute best or worst in us? Some people whistle their way through an hour of organized packing while others (you know who you are) frantically fold and refold, cramming their knee down on the top of their suitcase and amazing those around them with their in-depth of knowledge of four-letter words.

It is for you, dear stressed-out travelers, that we’ve put together this list of tips from experienced globetrotters so your packing can feel effortless in no time.

Not only is being a savvy packer guaranteed to make you the envy of all your friends, packing smart can also help you avoid those pesky airline baggage fees. Skip the overweight luggage fine and splurge on a nice dinner at your destination instead!

So how do you make sure you’re packing smart? Ask yourself these questions:

Were your boots made for walking?

Because if they weren’t you probably don’t need to bring them. Packing shoes can be a major challenge, which is why these experts explain how to limit the number of pairs you pack. According to the Snarky Nomad, the biggest challenge for men is to strike a balance between hiking and being generally active with “pretending to be a classy person… attempting to project some semblance of respectability.” He put together the qualities of the perfect travel shoe over on his site, complete with specific brand recommendations.

For women, it’s a matter of thinking of all the shoe types you could possibly need and whittling the pile down to the shoes you absolutely can’t live without, says Brooke from Her Packing List. She does her own whittling down in her post on picking the best travel shoes for women.

Why can’t all valuables be waterproof?

Whether you’re on an adventure trek in the jungle or just get caught in a rainstorm, keeping your valuables dry is a major priority. For getting those up close photos of waterfalls or enjoying summer showers, you can choose between several waterproof cases on the market. Brooke of Her Packing List suggests the Travelon Clear View Waterproof Pouch, which she says worked even when she jumped in the ocean to get great underwater shots! Because you never know when the water will just beg you to jump right in.

Toiletries, shmoiletries – buy them abroad

Travel size bottles at the convenience store are an overpriced rip-off and you often end up running out before your trip ends anyway. Why not buy shampoo, lotion, and body wash abroad, suggests Darina over at Vagabonish, who tells the story of her transition from overpacker to a one-suitcase girl.

Packing cubes are revolutionary

Once you start using packing cubes, you’ll have no idea how you ever traveled without them. Travel Fashion Girl Chantelle loves packing cubes for how they allow her to maximize available space, keep her organized and make unpacking and repacking a stress-free experience during the trip. Her list of packing organizers will help make this even easier since she walks you through all the available options like compression sacks, Ziplock bags and packing folders.

Go green, go light

If you carry canvas bags for laundry and shipping, bring a refillable water bottle and pack as light as you can, you’re not only doing wonders for your muscles but also for the environment, says the Cultural Travel Guide. The publication put together a helpful list for going green on your travels, pointing out that packing light puts less weight on the plane, car or train, which reduces fuel consumption and just makes travel that much easier. It’s a win-win for everyone!


What are your favorite packing tips? Let us know in the comments!


Kit Whelan is a digital nomad and author of Seek New Travel. She loves trying food she can’t pronounce and is addicted to buying new travel gear. You can follow her adventures on Facebook and Twitter.