Packing for a trip is an art form. For many, mastering the technique is a work in progress, but we’re here to help. We sat down with Lori Heagy, a retired American Airlines flight attendant with 26 years’ experience in the industry. Check out her 15 pivotal pointers so you can pack like a pro, too.
1. Invest in two-sided travel bags.
Separate outfits, undergarments, and socks, leaving one side open for dirty laundry.
2. Use clear bags or cosmetic cases.
Separate toiletries, make up, and medicine in clear bags. Not only does it make items easy to identify, it saves time going through security.
3. Traveling with kids?
You get to bring extra liquid! Use your child’s carry-on for additional liquids.
4. Less is better.
Try to fit everything in your carry-on and personal item. Remember, a personal item can be as big as a laptop bag or tote (9 inches X 10 inches X 17 inches), so pack away your usual small handbag and use the max size for your personal item.
5. Bring versatile outfits.
Pack clothes that can transition from day to night. Ladies, that means a cute dress with sneakers during the day, and jewelry, a wrap and sandals for the evening.
For cooler climates, layer your clothes so you can easily remove items as the day warms up and put them in your backpack. Light waterproof jackets with a hood work well.
7. Think of your past trips.
Remember all those “just in case” outfits you packed in the past? Most people don’t wear everything they bring. Go by the 5,4,3,2,1 rule. Five sets of socks and underwear, four tops, three bottoms, two pairs of shoes, and one hat.
Don’t forget to bring a travel-sized umbrella if there is even the slightest chance of rain. Many travel totes come with a small umbrella, or you can pick one up at your local drugstore.
9. Bring a collapsible backpack.
This is essential for day trips.
10. Items for your day bag include:
Extra power banks, sunscreen, medicine, lip balm, collapsible water bottle, wipes, band aids, sunglasses, wallet, passport, tickets, pen, tissues, snacks, umbrella, and comb.
11. Use all the space.
Put socks in shoes. Roll clothes. Check out this video on how to master the fold and roll method used by the Navy.
12. Wear your bulkiest items.
Even if you are traveling to warm climates, it’s a huge space saver.
13. Form before fashion.
You aren’t going to want to walk in uncomfortable shoes. Leave them at home.
14. Make copies of important documents.
Keep one inside your suitcase, incase your credit card or ID is stolen or lost.
15. Register for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
Trust us. It’s a stress reliever. And most travel credit cards will reimburse you for the fee!