No matter how often you travel, you may still be prone to a few packing mistakes before hitting the road in your fancy car or boarding the plane. Indeed, a poor packing job will undoubtedly do more than just mess up your luggage, and respectively your vacation. For instance, it can cost you additional luggage fees while killing your adventurous spirit. You see, you don’t need such drama and headache at the airport.
All of these unpleasant moments can be easily avoided by following a few simple packing tricks. And no, you don’t have to leave out your most favorite pairs of shoes and certain essentials to make it happen. You don’t even have to overdo it in other departments either. Well, you’re already intrigued to learn more about our travel hacks, aren’t you?
Today we’ll be outlining 20 of the most common travel packing mistakes we all make but shouldn’t. But before we jumped right into it, make sure to leave out those baggy sweaters at home before heading for the airport. Believe us - such big items usually take up about 70% of the room in your suitcase. Therefore, hurry up and cross them off your long list of must-have items. Well, you can thank us later for helping you maximize that much luggage space.
If you've not guessed it yet, we're hardly the biggest fan of the heavy luggage, especially when it comes to considerably short trips (not more than 3-4 days in total). But even though most people brag about having perfect suitcase packing habits, we can't help but wonder at what point in their lives they went that blind. All jokes aside now - we, too, try to resist the urge to pack items for all seasons, although we realize how unnecessary this whole exercise is. To help you decide what to pack and what to leave out, follow the simple lay-out-everything-and-pack-half-of-that kind of rule. Surprisingly enough, it works wonders when you're in a suitcase packing dilemma.
Ladies, calm down a bit. By this, we don't mean that it's not okay to bring your favorite and must-have cosmetics and toiletries - after all, any woman wants to look pretty while traveling - but you have to more careful with the leaky ones. Well, there's no problem with that when you travel domestically, but bottles of hairspray, body lotion and shampoo can absolutely explode in your suitcase because of the pressure. When it comes to traveling on a plane, though, you're technically out of options, so it would be best if you could restrain yourself from purchasing such items during your international trip.
A day doesn't go by that a passenger doesn't complain about a lost suitcase or a stolen backpack, where their most valuable things happened to be. Remember this: never pack your most expensive and valuable items, such as pricey earrings or necklaces, in your checked bag because this may be the last time you see them. Airports, alongside many other public locations, such as subways, cinemas, etc., have been known to attract many pickpocketers. Therefore, many passengers lose items to thefts. Our advice is to resist the urge to pack such pricey accessories in your checked bag unless you absolutely have to. In such cases, though, you should wrap them carefully and put them in less visible places.
Ironically, even that expensive toothpaste you've bought from the drugstore on your last day of the trip could be considered a liquid. So if you cannot adhere to the traditional 3oz/100 rule, then be ready to say goodbye to your goodies. Similarly, you shouldn't bring such items in your carry-on because they may get thrown away. So unless you want it to happen, you can either stick to the 3oz/100 rule or say goodbye to your products. Same goes for jars of jam and other similar products no matter the consistency. After all, they, too, are considered a liquid.
Well, that's a silly mistake that only amateurs can make before catching their flight. But realistically, adhering to the weather changes can save you lots of room in your suitcase and backpack. What if there was a storm brewing in that city or summer resort that you'll soon be enjoying? What if the weatherman said that there would be no sunny days at your destination until the end of the week (i.e., the end of your trip)? Well, then we're pretty sure that you don't need that sunhat or swimsuit you're so excited about. You see, the weather can be quite unpredictable at times. But realistically, the last thing you need is to go on a shopping madness (not therapy) in search of a raincoat. Indeed, that would be no fun at all.
Letting such useful places go to waste is not only a mistake but it's quite an expensive one, and here's why. Such hidden pockets and spaces in your luggage should be sacred especially when you're packing for a long trip. Therefore, it's really sinful to let them go to waste just like that. Before you get going, make sure that you've packed your stuff well by scrunching your chargers and adaptors into your shoes. Also, while you're at it, stuff your socks and underwear into the cups of your (or your wife's) bras, and roll the belts around a shirt or two. You'll be surprised to see how much space you can save by following this suitcase packing hack.
Do not put the health of your back on the line by picking extremely impractical bags and suitcases. There's hardly a person who hasn't witnessed the painful sight of a skinny girl struggling with her super heavy and almost immovable suitcases and bags at the airport. But oh well, she should've seen it coming. Most people do not even consider it an issue whatsoever. But in fact, dragging such heavy suitcases along the carpeted floor at some airports can cause endless frustration for the other passengers. Just imagine the rattling sound of the bags and suitcases while they're being pulled all the way through the airport. Avoid it by using a lightweight and easy-to-maneuver suitcase with no zips or other useless decorations.
Fabric selection is, without a doubt, the last thing that comes to mind while getting ready for a vacation. Therefore, it's undoubtedly the most commonly neglected one as well. But surprisingly, our fabric choice is the thin line between looking trim and polished and looking downright sloppy - and it's got nothing to do with the outfits whatsoever. Your clothes may be super fashionable, and charming, but the fabric selection makes the difference between looking your best and looking your worst. So, if you want to look as lovely as possible and as comfy as an old shoe, always pick wool, knit and cashmere for cooler climates and save silk, cotton, and rayon for the warmer locations.
Realistically, there's no need to bring five pairs of sneakers, three pairs of canvas shoes, and two pairs of flip-flops, unless you're packing for many different events. Seriously, do not bring more than three pairs of shoes because you'll hardly find enough time to wear them anyway. Here's what we suggest that you do instead: pack a walking pair (that could be your most favorite one), a dressier pair (which goes perfectly well with your cute everyday dresses), and an elegant one, such as sandals and high-heels, for special occasions. But if you won't be visiting such events anytime soon, you can leave the last one out.
Always remember that what you consider to be completely normal in your hometown (and your country as a whole) may be utterly unacceptable in many other parts of the world. Knowing some cultural etiquette is the right way to go when exploring an entirely new place, which is nothing like your hometown.
An excellent example of that would be your flamboyant dress code when visiting a country's symbolic landmarks and places of worship for the very first time. Of course, it's pretty self-explanatory that you want to look good in your flowery dress, but unless you want to get scrutinized for your bare shoulders and be politely asked to leave the place, we suggest that you consider the local culture before going there.
Alright, you've just landed at your destination, and all you could think about is the fancy places you'll be visiting in less than a few hours. Well, there's really nothing wrong with that, but do you actually need to pack the flat iron too? The burning-hot question here is whether you'll be able to find enough time to use it to get all dolled up before leaving the hotel room. Besides, if you plan on hitting the beach, then taking the flat iron may not be the smartest idea you've had so far. Once again, think wisely before packing the whole house for that epic trip.
You know you're leaving tomorrow morning, but you still think that there's enough time to get ready for that trip and take everything you need. Well, guess what - this is exactly why most people forget to take the basic travel essentials, like their toothbrush and underwear. Because let's face it - they'll be stressed out, so they won't be able to see the big picture. Also, according to a personal stylist, Dacy Gillespie, we always tend to forget what we wanted to pack for the trip since we choose to neglect such tiny details, like the toothbrush. Instead, the first thing we do is to open the wardrobe and mull over the things that we want to pack for the vacation.
This is yet another factor that steals your luggage space from you like a petty thief. Seriously, the better you pack your clothes, the more area you've got for other must-have stuff that you can't live without (well, you can, but that's another story). The best way to do so is to roll your clothes instead of folding them. Rolling is quite an excellent way to maximize more space in both your bags and suitcases. But to do it efficiently, you've got to fold your clothing lengthwise before rolling it tightly like a sleeping bag. Voilà - now you've got more space for another pair of socks.
Alright, this one is not really that mandatory, but let's face it - your parents and relatives would surely want to be surprised with a handful of gifts and souvenirs. After all, you've been to such an exotic place that you've only visited in your wildest dreams. Therefore, it's only natural (and super logical) that they secretly wish for a special gift. So, before you overdo it on shopping, leave some space in your suitcase for a couple of tiny souvenirs for your beloved ones. And do not even think about buying them a cheesy postcard. Come on, you're better than this.
You left them out, didn't you? Perhaps you had no space for them, so you decided that you won't really need them when you've got an electronic version saved on your smartphone. Well, guess what - your cell phone's battery may be long-lasting, but we're not sure that it can "survive" an overseas flight. By the time you land at your destination, the battery will be drained. What would you do then? How would you get to the hotel if you suddenly can't remember its name and location? Well, that's a pretty bad scenario, but it's certainly not that impossible. So get ahead of the game, and do not forget to pack some travel guide, a roadmap, and an itinerary.
Why are you in such a rush? Do not throw out your packing list unless you're sure that you've packed everything you need for this vacation. Besides, keeping track of such a list is a great way to remind yourself to double check everything, from your ID, credit/debit cards to the local currency. This isn't really about the luggage at all, but about the necessary documentation, you're supposed to possess at the airport. While you're still at that, make sure that you've got the hotel reservation on paper as well.
Don't get us wrong - we also love reading books when traveling; however, we don't see any point in packing more than one book to kill some time on the plane unless you've got short narratives. Then you'll surely need a whole stack of them. All jokes aside now - we doubt that you'll be able to save enough time to read that much during your lovely vacation. Besides, if you cannot think of doing anything else, then why did you plan this trip in the first place? You see, it would be a lot better (and smarter) if you could pack only one book.
Did you forget to pack some sandwiches? Well, if this is exactly what happened, then you're not going to like what we've got to say about it. Leaving the house (or the hotel room) without any food (no matter what, really) is a huge mistake. Not only will you be starving in the next few hours while waiting to board the plane, but your energy levels will drastically drop before you know it. We all know the saying: " it's not you when you're hungry," and that's specifically true for places, such as airports, rail and bus stations where travelers usually wait in lines for hours. So, if you don't want to feel angry, sullen or tired, do yourself a favor and make some room in your backpack for at least a box of crackers or protein bars.
You’ve got no chewing gums when you know that bad breath may occasionally happen? Well, that's unfortunate, but in reality, you can still do something about that.
No matter whether you've already left the house and arrived at the airport, you should absolutely get a pack of chewing gums, just in case for such bad breath moments. Once you're done with the check-in procedures and everything else, head for the coffee shop (there must be one, come on) and make sure to get everything you need, from strong espresso to a pack of sugar-free chewing gums. Well, it finally looks like you're officially ready for the trip.
Wearing contact lenses is a fantastic way to convince the others that your eyesight is in perfect condition. Frankly, that's what it's like for most people who wish they had the eyesight of a sniper. Contact lenses are great, but they need to be taken seriously. Wearing them for more than eight hours a day is quite unhealthy for the eyes as they become considerably dry. So, to prevent this discomfort, we'd recommend that you wear them only for a few hours a day. When it comes to catching flights and traveling by plane, you should probably stick to your glasses - they really are the better and healthier option when traveling.
References: departmentofwandering.com, herpackinglist.com, jetsetter.com, rd.com