I have traveled more in the past two years than I have in my entire life combined. Between the job hunt that led me to Indiana, multiple work trips and increased personal travel, I’ve been on planes and trains far more than I would prefer. As time has passed and my navigation of airports has significantly improved, two things have remained the same — I’m a chronic over-packer and I hate paying to check a bag. If the trip is four days or less, I stick with just a carry-on. Obviously this can be difficult during the winter, when your clothing and shoes are much bulkier, but after a lot of trial and error, I’ve learned a few things.
3 Packing Hacks That Will Actually Save You Space
1. Pick a neutral color palette
This has honestly been one of my biggest learnings. Although I really want to pack six pairs of shoes — you know, just in case — it’s best to cull down and go with your most neutral pairs. I recommend going with two pairs of shoes — one pair of boots and one pair of flats (because winter), and build your outfits around them. I tend to go with tan flats and brown or black boots because everything you pack can easily coordinate around at least one pair. Next, I pack a few tops and bottoms that can easily layer, mix and match to get the most out of each piece. If you’re going to wear something more than once, but want the outfit to look entirely different, it’s really important you choose the most neutral pieces.
2. Roll your clothes
I had no idea this actually worked until I visited Dani in Madison last winter for 3.5 days, only using a carry-on. Packing with sweaters and down vests is no joke, so you have to be strategic with how you actually pack your clothes into the luggage. I spent the night before that flight actually sitting on my luggage trying to get it to zip before I tested out the rolling method. For most things (t-shirts, sweaters, jeans, pajamas, etc.) rolling can save a considerable amount of space. It also helps fight wrinkles in most knit items, so it’s definitely a win/win. If you haven’t tried this out, you need to for your next trip.
3. Consolidate among your travel companions
Whenever you’re traveling with someone, chat ahead of time about who will bring what item. When I traveled to Orlando last spring for my sister’s 30th birthday, we split up who brought a hairdryer, curling iron, straightener, etc. This ended up saving a ton of space in my luggage, since I only needed to make space for 1/3 of the shared items. Even when traveling with your significant other, there are small things you can easily consolidate that will help free up some space — think toothpaste, lotion and even body wash if you have a neutral scent.
If you’re in need of some new travel bags and accessories, here are a few of my favorites:
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What is your favorite space-saving packing hack? Share in the comments and we can all learn something new!
Until next time —
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