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    37 Packing Basics You Should Probably Know By Now

    ::bookmarks this and the Google flights page::

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    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.


    Get this handy notepad from Amazon for $7.

    Promising review: "I just used this for a recent trip to Florida from California. It made it easier to remember things. I used to have a list, that I made, on my computer to remind me, my husband and child what to pack. My daughter is out on her own now and my husband passed away recently. So, I just need a list for me. This helped me think of things I NEVER thought to put on my list. It has extra lines for you to add anything extra like crochet project, handicapped parking plaque, etc. It's not too big, but can easily be read. There are boxes to check off as you go and room to add quantity to clothing items. I hope these are ALWAYS available!" —Connie Woods

    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.

    Dark Sky / BuzzFeed

    It gives you the seasonal average weather for that date and location so you can plan your outfits (or what you might need to buy) before the actual forecast is available closer to your trip. You can also look at *past* years for the same info!

    Get it from the Apple app store for $3.99 or through Google Play for free (with in-app purchases).

    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!


    Navigate by the airline(s) you regularly fly, and Amazon will weed out the options that won't fit into the overhead bins.

    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!

    The military-style roll is basically like the regular roll, but taken to ~the next level~.

    And if you like a classic fold, but have a hard time seeing everything in your suitcase, the front-to-back style is a good option. It's also *great* for storing tees in your drawers at home so you can see what's what.

    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.

    Check out more carry-on tips at One Good Thing By Jillee.

    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?

    This is especially great if you haven't always remembered to separate your laundry...and now the interior of your luggage smells.

    Get a 240-pack of Bounce ~Outdoor Fresh~ dryer sheets from Amazon (several reviewers use these ones in their suitcases too!) for $8.94.

    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.


    You can use zip-top bags, as pictured above, packing cubes, or whatever else you have around the house.

    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.

    It comes with a laundry bag to separate your dirty clothes on your way back, and the cubes have mesh tops so you can see what's inside!

    Get a set of four from Amazon for $19.99 (available in 10 colors and patterns).

    Promising review: "These packing cubes exceeded my expectations!!!! I was able to pack for a seven-day cruise: seven day outfits, seven evening dresses, six swimsuits and six swim cover ups. Along with 10 pairs of undergarments, four PJ sets, and three bras. It was crazy. I highly recommend! I used a Vera Bradly weekend tote to fit my packing cubes and then a separate bag for shoes, toiletries, etc. worked perfectly! Very happy with my purchase." —Elias Zuloaga

    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.

    ::Cough, me studying abroad, cough::

    Get a pack of eight from Amazon for $17.95.

    Promising review: "These were life savers! We took a 10-day trip to Europe and were able to pack only in a carry-on using these! I used two medium in my carry on and my husband used three in his carry on. I packed all my undergarments, five dresses, four pairs of jeans, multiple blouses, three pairs of shorts and a few other pieces of clothing. And still has room for my shoes. These will definitely be used each time we travel now. Well worth it." —Amazon Customer

    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.

    I did this on a recent trip to Greece, and my wide-brim sun hat got there and back without a single crease!

    Learn more at Collective Gen.

    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.


    Then you can pack your shoes inside shoe bags (like I do) to keep the dirty soles away from your clothes, or just pop on a shower cap, like pictured here!

    Get a pack of four zip-top shoe bags (they have clear tops so you can see which pair is which) for $7.99 at Amazon. I swear by 'em for packing myself!

    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.

    Get more inspiration at Extra Petite.

    Another tip? Pull out all the clothes you want to bring, then put 1/3 of them away — you probably won't need 'em!

    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!

    Britney Clause Photography /

    The thing about Press n Seal is that both sides are clingy, so it makes it super easy to stick together all around the sides of your necklace. You can then just roll it up to protect it, too!

    Get a three-pack of Press 'n' Seal from Amazon for $13.17.

    And get more travel-friendly uses for plastic wrap at J'Adorn Designs.

    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.


    It's lined with velvet to protect your jewelry from getting damaged.

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

    Promising review: "Love this! I can fit numerous earrings, necklaces, rings etc into this. Why didn’t I buy this sooner?! UPDATE: I have used this for four different trips and even the TSA agent thought it was cute. It fits easily in my carryon (never check jewelry) and stays closed well." —Phxgirl

    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!


    Just a touch of first class style, at an economy price. It's made of Rfid-blocking material too.

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99 (available in 35 colors).

    Promising review: "I absolutely love this wallet. I needed a new travel wallet, and this holds everything I need all in one place, and it still closes nicely and stays flat! Boarding pass, passport, ID and credit cards, money, checked baggage tickets, receipts, etc! Yet it doesn’t bulk up or look like an overstuffed mess. Just amazing. The description says it only holds US money, but I just used the boarding pass flap to hold all my Japanese Yen (¥), which are larger. I didn’t use the zippered pocket for coins as I much prefer a separate coin purse for that sort of thing. I definitely recommend to anyone who travels a lot!" —Anthony Luu

    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.


    Get it from Amazon for $24.95 (available in eight colors).

    Promising review: "Great water bottle for travel. It is durable, compact when not in use and versatile. One of the main reasons I like this collapsible bottle over others is the sliding band on it. It allows you to hold it firmly without squeezing the bottle and squirting the contents out of the top and all over the place. I bought mine and a friend liked it so much, she bought one." —Vivian

    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!

    Get the set of four bottles and two jars from Amazon for $9.99 (available in four colors).

    Promising review: "I've taken these on about five trips so far. They've endured air pressure and altitude changes from flying and have spent quality time in a hot car. Not even a hint of a leak so far — I love it. These are soft, durable, and seal well. They were easy to fill, as the mouths are relatively wide. They dispense well, although I've yet to test them on something with an extremely thin consistency. So far, I've filled them with lotion, shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, and hair gel. Would buy again." —Ahvienda Kotura

    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.


    It has a swiveling, tangle-free cord, too.

    Get it from Amazon for $28.99 (also available in white).

    Promising review: "I bought this for a trip to Italy, as I didn't have a dual-voltage iron (and you can't just use a converter-adapter combination with things that heat up). I liked that it was a flat iron and curling iron combo, so I could change things up as I desired. It worked beautifully on our trip--I look nice in all my selfies ;) -- and continues to work beautifully at home. In fact, I've replaced my old flat iron with this because of the versatility and now use this one every day. Btw, in case you are wondering, it automatically switches to the appropriate voltage, no looking for a switch or anything. You don't need to do anything but plug it in! Great product!" —Diane Field

    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.


    Get it from Amazon for $11.04+ (also available in grey and in a pouch).

    Promising review: "Great for travel! Love that I no longer have to wait for my straightener to cool down all the way when we are traveling. Now I can let it cool a little then wrap it up and pack it away, saving me tons of time. Love that it has the slit to keep the cover on the iron. I also like to rest the straightener on it any time I use it to protect our marble countertops. Definitely recommend it!" —IDesign

    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.

    Check out the tip, and several other "Why didn't I think of that?" tips at One Good Thing By Jillee.

    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.


    ::sigh:: We've all been there. Nobody wants a smashed highlighter to kick off their trip.

    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??

    Learn how to create this super pretty polkadot one at Lovely Indeed.

    They used a jumbo TicTac pack for this one — you can get a pack of four from Amazon for $13.27.

    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.


    It's waterproof to keep your clothes free from spills, too!

    Get it from Amazon for $11.99 (available in 31 colors and styles).

    Promising review: "When it comes to staying organized, clean, and prepared for trips or events, I am Lemon Breeland (Hart of Dixie)....For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, all the above things are important to me in every aspect of my life. Staying organized alleviates any unnecessary stress or anxiety - especially since I travel so much! My beauty regimen is also kind of intense, and considering that I'm always prepared, I didn't think I'd be able to find a travel bag that fit my lifestyle. However, I was SO EXCITED to be able to FIT EVERYTHING I NEED IN ONE BAG! That has never happened before! There's even extra room, which also never happens. Haha yes I'm dramatic but I'm also a happy customer, so there. Overall, the light pink case with the lil cacti is super cute (my lighting isn't); it's not bulky, thus fits easily in my duffle bag or suitcase; the zipper AND hanging hook is smooth & stays out of the way; and the velcro is not a hassle to use. 10/10 recommend!" —D. Pro

    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.

    BuzzFeed / Amazon

    You can get the Delsey hard-side carry-on suitcase pictured here from Amazon for $137.35 (available in eight colors and three other sizes).

    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.


    Hot take: as long as you have SOCKS ON (I highly recommend these compression socks for long flights), and you don't naturally have a super aggressive foot odor (I'm sorry!), it's 100% ok to take your shoes off on a long international flight.

    You can get the chunky sneakers pictured above from Amazon for $10.99+ (available in sizes 6–12).

    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.

    Get it from Amazon for $14.89.

    Promising review: "I purchased this wrap so that I could use it as a blanket on the airplane and also use it as a fashion scarf on my travels. I've gotten many compliments on it and absolutely love it! Definitely one of my travel essentials now. I've also washed it a couple of times now and it's still in great shape." —C. Behrends

    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.

    And if you're thinking about living out of a backpack, check out 9 Little Items That Made Backpacking Way Better Than I Expected for some recommendations!

    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.

    Get it from Amazon for $9.95 (available in four colors).

    Promising review: "If you're a frequent traveler and need to check the status of your luggage, especially when travelling back to the states; this is a good option. I have definitely spent extra money on packing when i could have just taken my shoes or other items out of the luggage. When doing so, it would have saved me $25 in baggage fees. Overall, it works just fine and the handle is sleek. This can fit in a small pocket. No issues about the quality as it seems accurate and also made of good materials." —Cathie Huber

    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.


    Fold-up duffels like these are my GO-TO when going on a vacation I know will be shopping heavy. And then you can bring your new finds on the plane to ensure they don't get lost (it's 20 inches, making it perfect for the overhead compartment). AAAAAnd is has a strap on the side that slides easily over your roller luggage handle.

    Get it from Amazon for $16.99 (available in 31 colors and patterns).

    Promising review: "We bought this to take with us when we visited our daughter who is studying abroad for four months. We figured she would not have enough room in her luggage when it was time to come home. Folded up, this bag was so compact and lightweight it took up almost no room in our own luggage for the trip over. Then, sure enough, she had a ton of clothes and shoes to send home with us and packed this bag full. We checked the bag and it made it through two international flights without a scratch. The BEST feature is the side strap that allows you to slide it over the handle of a rolling suitcase so you don't have to carry it. This is probably the most practical and the best value item I have purchased in years." —Tosa Mom

    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.


    Get it from Amazon for $15.99+ (available in sizes S–2X and eight colors). If you're looking for plus-size options, get a top-rated on from Amazon for $18.99+ (available in sizes 16–24 and two colors).

    Promising review: "Very lightweight raincoat! Easy to fold and carry. I took it with me to Niagara Falls couple days ago and raincoat made good job. SO CONVENIENT! Perfect for traveling because doesn't need a lot of space and easily helps you to stay dry while raining." —Bohdan

    There are tonnnnns of packable puffer coat options in men's and women's styles on Amazon too!

    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.


    This one's universal for most countries, so you don't even have to think twice! And it has four USB ports so multiple people can charge at once *while* you have something else plugged in. I have this one myself!

    Get it from Amazon for $17.99.

    Promising review: "When you have this adapter, you don’t have to worry if you brought the 'right' plug, because they are all in this one unit. This compact unit replaces all those bulky plugs and simplifies packing when traveling to several foreign countries. This was a relief when traveling to counties that might have multiple plug shapes. The two USB hubs allows charging of electronics without using a plug outlet. I also really liked that this adapter could be used with non US, meaning a friend visiting the US could use this adapter for their electronics in the US. Don’t confuse this as a converter, which changes voltage for higher wattage appliances that heat up, (It’s better to buy a travel curling iron, hair dryer, etc) but it works perfectly for computers, clocks, sound machines." —Karen

    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!


    Get a box of eight packets from Amazon for $8.99.

    Promising review: "I pack really light, and wash clothes in the hotel sink/bath to rewear. These are great for that, even on my sweaty/stinky/sunscreeny bathing suit cover up that needs to be washed every day during tropical travel." —iheartmmp

    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.


    Just stuff them in and squeeze to release the extra air!

    Get it from Amazon for $18.99.

    Promising review: "I travel for work, and I’m always trying to stuff dirty clothes in the cheap plastic bags the hotels leave in the closet, but those never do the trick: this laundry bag is extra durable, can really be compressed well, and I don’t worry about ripping or breaking it. Huge problem solved. Update: also works great for workout clothes or swim clothes keeping other items dry and separate from my other clothes. So good. 5 stars. GIFT IDEA for those that travel...YES!" —Matthew Katrina

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


    Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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