10 common packing mistakes and how to fix them

E!There are ways to become a more efficient packer.
  • It’s best to roll clothing to have more space in your suitcase.
  • Wearing heavier clothes instead of packing them will help prevent your overfilled suitcase.
  • Pack clothes that you can re-wear and use in different outfits.

Packing for a trip can be one of the most stressful parts of any vacation. Whether you’re packing well in advance or choose to throw some things together the night before you leave, narrowing your items down to what you need instead of what you think you need can be hard to do. And in turn, can cause you to over-pack.

Although you may feel as if you know all of the space-saving methods when packing for vacation, the real test comes when you’re ready to zip up your suitcase. If you’re one that usually fails the test, here are 10 packing mistakes you should keep in mind when preparing for your next trip.


You aren’t using the right method for packing your clothes.

Svetlana-Cherruty/ iStockRolling your lighter items makes room in your suitcase.

If you aren’t the person who usually does the packing for trips, folding your clothes and stacking them on top of each other may seem like the most efficient way to get everything into your suitcase. As someone who travels frequently, however, I’ve learned that rolling your clothes helps, too.

Choosing to roll your lighter items that won’t easily wrinkle (like certain shirts, leggings, and shorts) or those that are of medium fabric weight – can help make room in your suitcase. For fabrics like silk and nylon, folding would be most efficient because they are easy to wrinkle. Heavier items like jeans can be folded or you can use both methods by folding halfway and then rolling tight.


You’re packing heavy pieces instead of wearing them.

Weedezign/ iStockYour suitcase will be lighter if you wear your heavier items.

If you’re flying, throwing on something quick and comfortable to wear to the airport is quite common. In order to get the most space out of your suitcase though, you may want to wear those heavier items on the plane instead of those comfy ones.

For example, if you’re heading to a colder destination and stuffed a larger jacket and sweater in your suitcase, opt to wear them on the plane instead. The same can be said for wearing jeans instead of sweatpants on the plane. You’ll spare yourself the frustration of having to unpack your luggage in line just for it to make the weight needed to fly.


You’re not packing clothes that can be worn in multiple ways.

The WBPack two or three tops for every bottom.

Whether you’re heading on a glamorous vacation or just going home for a holiday visit, a key thing to remember when packing is to pack clothes that have multiple uses. By packing less of the heavier items (jeans and pants) and doubling up on the lighter ones (t-shirts and tank tops), you’ve created more room in your suitcase and made it lighter to carry.

A good rule of thumb that I go by is to pack two or three tops to every bottom when travelling. That way I can save room and money without sacrificing my style.


You have no idea what bundle packing is.

John Wright/FlickrGet on board with bundle packing.

If you’re a person who wasn’t aware that rolling your clothes is a way to decrease your packing woes, then bundle packing probably hasn’t been on your radar either. The method, however, is great to use if you’re packing a carry-on and will save you space while eliminating wrinkles.


You aren’t using your shoes as holding spaces.

hedgehog94/ iStockUse shoes as a packing tool.

Though shoes may sometimes garner their own separate bag when travelling, if you’re doing your best to keep your luggage pieces down to a minimum, using them as extra holding spaces in the same luggage as your clothes helps with that.

Examples of that would be putting smaller items such as socks – which you can even have items in, too – jewellery, and compact-sized toiletries. By utilising the insides of your shoes as holding spaces, you’ve created more room to add extras.


You’re not using your bras as storage spaces either.

alexxl66/ iStockBras can also be used as a packing tool.

Just like the insides of your shoes can be used as storage places, so can the cups of your bras. By rolling up a few pairs of socks and putting them in your cups, you’ll be able to both save space (you can also put small items in the socks, too) and help keep the shape of your bras.


You’re still packing bulky beauty items.

krisblackphotography/ iStockEven if you are driving or checking a bag, it’s better to bring smaller containers.

If you’re driving to your destination or checking your luggage for your flight, you may feel compelled to pack the full-size version of your most coveted beauty items. Typically though, it’s those full-sized beauty items that take up precious space that you need for other things. Instead of packing a full bottle of lotion or a large jar of cleanser, purchase smaller bottles to pour them in and pack those. You can also purchase the travel size version or see if the store you originally purchased from offers sample sizes for you to take along.


You don’t have an itinerary to go by.

Casper1774Studio/ iStockKnowing what the plan is will make it easier to pack.

Creating an itinerary for your trip may sound boring to someone who just takes things one step at a time, but doing so can actually benefit you in more ways than one. Aside from the fact that it will help you stay on schedule while enjoying your destination, it can also help you plan out the clothes that you need for each day.


You’re packing things you “think” you may need.

Art_Photo/ShutterstockMake sure you’re going to need everything you pack.

Although an itinerary will help you plan out the types of outfits you’ll need each day of your trip, what makes the cut to be thrown in the suitcase is ultimately up to you. That’s why you have to be sure to narrow down the things that you’re packing to what you’ll actually need or use.

If you have to force a situation where you may need a specific item or article of clothing, it may be best to leave it home so that you’re not over packing.


You’re not packing the right way.

The CWThere is actually a right way to pack your luggage.

You may not know it, but there actually is a correct way to pack your luggage. The process, which you may somewhat already be doing, starts with a layer of shoes stuffed with socks and undergarments at the bottom the bag. Up next are your heavier rolled items like jeans and sweaters. Then, if you have them, fragile items are put in and are followed by the lighter rolled items like t-shirts, skirts, and more. Next, place your folded items, which included your suits or easily wrinkled clothes in a dry cleaner bag. And lastly, finish the operation by adding your toiletry bag on top.

*Pro packing tip: If you’re bringing any belts, line the edges of your suitcase with them. And if you’re looking for a way to preserve the shape of your big hats, place undergarments in the crown of the hat and lay it at the bottom of your luggage like your shoes. Be sure to pack around it.

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