Skip To Content

    37 Packing Basics You Should Probably Know By Now

    ::bookmarks this and the Google flights page::

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Some may have been sent as samples, but all opinions and reviews are our own. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. Create a packing list even before you take a single item out. Whether it's on a handy pre-filled notepad or just on the Notes app of your phone, spend some time really thinking about everything you need so you don't leave that international outlet converter behind.

    2. Download a weather app like Dark Sky that lets you look ~into the future~ to see what the weather will be like in the city you're visiting. Will you need a light jacket? Packable puffer coat? Just a heavy sweater? Now you'll be in the know.

    3. Figure out what carry-on suitcase size works for the airline you're going on, because of COURSE there's no standard measurement across them all. Luckily for us, Amazon has an easy guide to make shopping for your suitcase a lot easier — just select by airline!

    4. Listen to your parents and roll your clothes to save space. It's a tried-and-true method that actually works AND also makes it easier to find individual items — without messing up the whole rest of the suitcase.

    5. Or try one of these techniques — depending on what you're packing, you might want to switch it up. The "clown car" style helps with reducing wrinkles!

    6. Fill otherwise-hard-to-utilize space (looking at you, space between the metal bars!) with rolled up undies, bathing suits, or other small pieces of clothing to maximize capacity.

    7. Maintain the collar shape of dress shirts by looping your belt just inside. Your next work trip is officially saved from creased collars.

    8. For a boost of *freshness*, layer a dryer sheet or two between your clothing. Your clothes with smell ahh-mazing when you take them out to wear 'em. Who needs to pack perfume?

    9. Make getting dressed — and getting out the door — easier to maximize your vacation hours (and suitcase space) by packing your outfits PER DAY! No more rummaging around your suitcase, messing everything up. And if you want to wear something more than once, just keep it separate for now.

    10. You can always get organized in a set of packing cubes — organize them by day (like pictured above), clothing type, ~segment of your trip~ (like city/beach/weather), etc.! Harness your inner virgo and get packing.

    11. Or if you're less worried about organization and more worried about having enough space, compress everything into a set of space-saver bags specifically designed for travel. Over-packers? These are for you. No vacuum required; just pop in your stuff and roll to release the pesky extra air through the valves.

    12. Stuff small, foldable items inside your hat, then place items carefully around the brim inside your suitcase to keep it from getting crushed or bent. Because carrying a sunhat on the plane is just annoying.

    13. Stop wasting a single inch of space — fill your shoes with teensy packables like socks and undies. Off to somewhere chilly? Pack leggings, or even your straightener/curling iron in boots to save space and help maintain your boots' shape.

    14. Fold one bra cup inside out into the other, then stuff the straps and band inside *that* cup for a compact packing method that won't ruin your favorite bras.

    15. Create a mini capsule wardrobe when packing; stick to just one palette, plus a few accent colors, so you can make the most from mixing and matching a few key pieces.

    16. Use Press n Seal cling wrap to separate your necklaces and earrings for tangle-free travel. No one wants to waste their vacay time dealing with knotted chains!

    17. Or just limit yourself to a few key pieces, stored tangle-free in a stylish and perfectly sized jewelry organizer with three compartments. Just stand it (pictured below) so you can keep what you brought at a glance for effortless accessorizing.

    18. Store your cash, boarding pass, passport, credit cards, etc. in a travel wallet that makes it super easy to see everything at a glance. No more holding up the security line to see if you still have your passport. And then just toss it in your carry-on when you're through security!

    19. Roll up a compact and collapsible water bottle, because it's incredibly easy to get dehydrated on a long-haul flight, and airport water is expensive! And keep it handy in an outer pocket of your carry-on bag or backpack so you can fill it with ease.

    20. Skip the drugstore travel toiletries and opt for a set of TSA-friendly travel bottles and jars you can fill (and refill) with your favorite products when they don't make travel size. Can't skip your fave skin and hair products when you're away!

    21. And add an easy, leak-proof layer to your toiletries; just wrap a small square of cling wrap over the opening and pop the cap on top!

    22. Swap your regular hot tool for a two-in-one straightener and curling iron so you only have to bring *one* tool, no matter how you want to wear your hair. It has dual voltage for international trips, too.

    23. And wrap a silicone travel mat neatly around your favorite hot tool so you can pack it not toooooo long after turning it off. No scorched clothes for you.

    24. Cover your razor with a large binder clip to prevent anything from wearing down the blades in your toiletry kit — and prevent your fingers from getting nicked when you reach in.

    25. Pop a cotton round or ball over your pressed powders and shadows before traveling so they don't smash or crumble into a million pieces.

    26. Stow loose bobby pins in a repurposed TicTac container. You don't need to make it as pretty as this one, but hey, isn't is just the cutest??

    27. Packing at the end of the trip to come back home ALSO sucks, so make everything easier on yourself by not spreading your toiletries all over the hotel counter. Keep them in a multi-section toiletry bag to keep all your beauty products neatly organized. Just hang it upon arrival, and *nothing* will get jumbled up, even on lengthy trips abroad.

    28. Put shoes by the wheels and lighter items towards the handle so that when your suitcase is upright & rolling, the shoes won't crush or wrinkle your clothes.

    29. Wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane, whether that's a pair of chunky sneakers, booties, etc — you'll save suitcase space, but stay comfy on the long flight — especially if you wear some nice compression socks.

    30. If you run cold, always (always always) keep a blanket scarf easily accessible in your carry-on. It'll be lightweight enough to pack up small (so you don't have to awkwardly carry a jacket), but keep you significantly warmer on the freezing desert that is the internal airplane climate.

    31. Going backpacking? Learn how space out weight in your pack — you don't want to tire out your spine just a couple of days in. And you know you need easy access for those snacks.

    32. Keep a compact luggage scale in your suitcase pocket for an unobtrusive way to make sure everything you've crammed in your packing cubes or space saving bags hasn't gotten TOO HEAVY. No one likes an overweight baggage fee.

    33. Include a fold-up duffel on trips when you KNOW you'll be bringing back more than you came with. It folds into a teensy pouch when not in use, is tear- and water-resistant, and even has a separate side pocket for shoes. Just keep it in your regular suitcase between trips, and you'll never forget it.

    34. Speaking of things to keep in your suitcase all the time, may I suggest a packable rain coat so you can stay securely dry without having to leave your favorite, more fashionable pieces at home when the forecast is looking questionable. This packs down into a teensy drawstring bag. You can even keep it in your purse.

    35. Oh, and definitely always have an international outlet adapter stowed in a pocket of your suitcase so you never arrive at your destination unable to charge your phone.

    36. Stash individual laundry detergent packets for a quick wash in your hotel sink or bathtub on longer trips, or just in case you run out of undies. These are particularly great for beach trips where you want to wear the same swimsuit a couple of times!

    37. Remember all the dirty laundry you're going to accumulate *in advance* so you don't need to scrounge around your hotel room for a bag. Separate your stinky socks into a space-saving laundry bag designed to help you *compress* those dirty clothes into a compact bag so they're out of sight, out of mind until you're home....and fiiiiiinally unpack.

    Because spoiler alert: this won't fit into the overhead compartment.

    Wanderlust not satisfied yet? Check out more travel products, like the best carry-on bags you can get on Amazon, travel accessories for long flights, and the best places to buy luggage online.

    Shopping for something specific? Check out BuzzFeed Reviews to find the best things for every budget!