1. Pack Twice – Zip Once:
Like the age old adage for carpenters, “Measure twice, cut once,” the same concept applies to packing.
My spouse, for example, used to pack 4 complete complex outfits & 3 pairs of shoes, for an overnight stay. *shakes head* Granted this is when we first got married and traveled very little. Now we travel a great deal more and have become wiser when packing (and frankly I don’t wish to lug around a bunch of bags, I’m getting old and tired).
By now, you have probably seen the video of the tiny, skinny person who can pack a month’s worth of clothes in to a fanny pack [slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean], well that doesn’t work for the average person. So with that in mind go ahead and lay out everything you think you will need for the number of days you will be away from home. Once you’ve done that, take a good look at what you have and, remove 1/3 to 1/2 of the items in your suitcase. [Will you really need 7 possible outfits for the 2 night stay??]
Remember this is a vacation, not a fashion shoot. Consider what you are planning to do and if color coordination is a concern, plan on neutral colors, tans, blues, grays.
[If you are traveling with your littles, tweens, or teens and you want to embarrass them, mix the most hideous patterns and colors possible. Think of it as #GoodwillGlam.]
Perhaps think about packing 2 or even 3 tops per 1 pair of shorts or pants. If you are staying in one of Branson’s condos, cabins, or hotels with free or inexpensive laundry, this is also a wise idea to save space. With all this said though, never skimp on “unmentionables.” Remember what mom said about accidents & clean underwear.
Another quick tip; put the heavier items towards the bottom of the suitcase (wheel side) to help keep it balanced.
Have the littles pack their own bag (within reason.) You can supervise while they consider what to wear and pack for the trip. Let them know that you will be taking care of the toys and things they think they will need. Frankly, once you are on your Branson trip, they will most likely forget about the cars and dolls they packed and be more excited about all the activities. Finding cool rocks, leaves, and flowers can be more fun than playing with toys sometimes.
2. To Fold or To Roll; That is the Question:
Long has been the debate on whether it is better to fold or roll clothes when packing a suitcase or overnight bag. Frankly it is based on preference and what you are packing. Ask anyone who has served in our nation’s military forces and they will tell you rolling is the way to go, somewhat less wrinkling and more space.
If you wish to fold and don’t want the hassle of ironing something later consider this; packing your shirts or blouses in dry cleaning bags (the clear plastic bags the clothes came in from the cleaners) and fold them like you normally would at home. The thin plastic layer will help prevent creases [now if that could just work on our crow’s feet].
Oh, another thought, if dry cleaner bags are not available, all that tissue wrapping paper you bought at the after Christmas sale works too. Just place a sheet around each folded article of clothing that you wish to keep unwrinkled.
3. Stretch Utility Strap w/Velcro:
You have somehow managed to pack enough clothes for a voyage on the Titanic (not accounting for the sinking) when you are just going to be in Branson for the weekend. If you’ve decided that you need that many items of clothing, then the utility strap will come in handy for compressing clothes so your suitcase doesn’t burst open like a jack-in-the-box. I have another space saving tip later, keep reading.
4. More Packing Hacks
When you travel in the colder months and are bringing a sweater, I suggest just folding it for packing (unless you are flying then wear it; saves room), if you roll it, it will be to massive to fit but it will make a great pillow.
If you are packing a button down collared shirt, keep this in mind, go ahead and fold the shirt, and to keep the collar in shape, roll up a belt to fit inside the collar. This will help avoid a floppy, crumpled collar, and it’s a good place to pack a belt or spare belt. If you are not packing a collared shirt but still need to pack a belt, run it along the perimeter of the suitcase. If you are packing a collared shirt but don’t have a spare belt check out the tip later involving a hair straightener.
OK, ladies (look away fellas), you need to pack a couple brassieres but don’t want them damaged, fold them in half (cup within cup) and tuck your socks and underwear inside the cups. This will save you space and help the brassieres maintain their shape.
5. Packing Cubes or Compression Bags:
This may mean a trip to the dollar store or big box discount store before your getaway. Packing cubes have appeared on the market recently as a great way to pack in a compact and handily available manner. They come in a multi pack of various sizes and you can keep items separated or make outfit combos and keep them together for easy access.
Another space saving idea, especially for long stays, would be to use 2.5 gallon zip-lock bags. These can be packed with numerous items of clothing and compressed to about 1/3 of their size for easier packing. These are also great for when you are travelling with the littles (might use a gallon or even quart size ones). Make outfit combinations for your stay, to keep the little matching and looking sharp.
6. Come Fly Away:
Most airlines will allow you to bring a carry-on and a personal bag (backpack, purse, satchel) at no additional charge. [check with your airline to be sure] With that bit of knowledge, let’s use that carry on to its fullest potential.
When we travel anywhere for more than 3 days, and by air, we make sure there is at least one change of clothes (or at least some undergarments), important documents, toiletries, chargers for electronics, and any medications [even if it is just aspirin], in the carry-on. [Your checked bag might get “lost” and you don’t want to be without essentials.] And if your carry-on has extra space, and your partner’s is bursting at the seams, share the load and put some of their items in your bag.
7. Eyeglass Cases or Small Multi-compartment Pill Case Serve a New Purpose:
These ideas can go into the dollar store hacks as well. Consider when you are packing, are you planning a nice night out on the town? Do you have a favorite necklace you wear on special occasions? What about nice rings, earrings, or bracelets/anklets? A small multi-compartment pill case is great for keeping earrings, rings, and the sort organized.
Of course you can still use these to keep your pills or vitamins.
Another idea, if you plan ahead a bit, is to take a bit of cling wrap or press & seal wrap; lay out a sheet, place your jewelry items on top and then another sheet on top. Press them together and it’s like laminating your baubles for easier packing. I have another suggestion further down for keeping your necklaces untangled.
Back to the eyeglass case, a dollar store glass case will work wonders for stashing your make up brushes, eyelash curler, & tweezers in them, use it to store jewelry, keep all your electronic cords in one place, the list could go on and on.