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19 Packing Hacks for Your Next Trip

8 minute read

Every traveler has baggage.

No matter the length of the trip—be it a weekend beach getaway or a three-week Himalayan trek—you’ll need to pack a bag, and you’ll want to pack it right. Enter: the editors at Travel + Leisure, here to share their genius ways to keep your cosmetics spill-proof, your souvenirs safe, and clothes wrinkle-free.

Roll, Don’t Fold

“I am a roll-don’t-fold devotee. I also never check a bag, unless I’m taking my snowboard with me. Even then, only the snowboard gets checked, not the suitcase.” —Laura Teusink, Managing Editor

Pop Star

“It sounds silly, but I always pack bubble wrap. It saves space in my suitcase for the things I’ll undoubtedly buy on my trip—and then I also have a good way to wrap them up and keep them safe in my luggage.” —Nikki Ekstein, Associate Editor

Bring on the Rain

“My favorite tip is to waterproof my bag using what I’m already bringing with me. I line my suitcase with water-resistant things: wellies on the bottom, for example, zip-locked toiletries and makeup bag on the sides, and a rain jacket on top. Voila: instant weather-tight luggage.” —Melanie Lieberman, Assistant Digital Editor

On the Dot

“I like to organize items by packing them in pretty shoe and handbag dusters, one of which I use as a laundry bag once enough of my clothes have been worn. Clare V makes my favorites—they’re free when you buy one of her handbags, and they’re covered in the chicest polka dot print. It’s cheap and cheerful. Also, when traveling for business, I pack in a uniform palette—black, white, navy, grey—so that everything goes together. ” —Jane Bishop, Style Director

Freshen Up

“Put Bounce dryer sheets between items of clothing in your suitcase to keep everything fresh.” —Jesse Ashlock, Features Director

A Shoe-In

“I always travel with a shoehorn. It’s very helpful, particularly for getting shoes back on when you’ve taken them off on a plane. (Since the cabin pressure generally makes your feet bloat a bit.) I also have a small zippered pouch that I always put in my carry-on bag—in it I stash all the things that I want to keep with me on a flight (headphones, earplugs, EmergenC, phone, wallet, etc.) so that when I board I can just pull that pouch out, toss it into my seat, and then place my carry-on in the overhead bin, quickly and efficiently.” —Nathan Lump, Editor

Grab Bag

“I take a lot of weekend trips. Since I’m on the go so often, I always have a set of my liquid cosmetics and beauty items pre-packed in Sephora’s Beauty on the Go Bag. Vitamins, toothbrush, floss, etc., are also in it, so that I cut packing time down. I just choose a few outfits, make sure I’ve got reading and tech, and go!” —Corina Quinn, Digital Travel Editor

Happy as a Clam

“I’m a big fan of the clamshell suitcase—I use the ultra-light Rimowa Salsa Air—especially when I’m going on a trip that involves more than one destination. If I’m visiting both a beach and a city, I’ll keep what I need for each on different sides of the suitcase, so I only need to unpack (and repack) one side at a time. Plus, when I’m carrying the suitcase on the plane, sometimes I’ll slide my laptop between the two halves if I don’t need it during the flight—between the hard shell and layers of clothing, it’s pretty much protected from any type of destruction.” —Stephanie Wu, Senior Editor

Check the Closet

“In the closet of most high-end hotel rooms, you’ll find draw-string fabric bags for laundry and shoes. They’re semi-disposable, but fantastic for packing. Trust me, using them to separate shoes and dirty laundry will totally transform your return-journey packing experience.” —Flora Stubbs, Articles Editor

Smooth It Over

“No matter what I do, I always seem to arrive at my destination with at least one item of clothing wrinkled—most recently a silk shirt I needed to wear to a conference in Las Vegas. Rather than travel with a mini-steamer (since hanging things in a steamy bathroom never seems to work for me), I now pack the three-ounce spray bottle of Downy’s new Wrinkle Releaser Plus. Just make sure to use it 30 minutes or so before you need to get dressed so your clothes have time to dry and de-wrinkle (and it may require a few rounds of sprays, depending on the condition of the garment).” —Brooke Porter Katz, Travel and Food Editor

Bottom Heavy

“I always pack the heaviest items closest to the wheels of a rolly suitcase, so that the weight is distributed to the bottom and makes it easier to roll.” —Katie James, Assistant Editor

Bag of Tricks

“In summer, I always end up traveling with one or two easily wrinkled items—dresses, pants, camisoles—for weddings or nice dinners. First, I lay an empty plastic bag on the bed, flatten it out, and put the article of clothing on top of it. Then I fold the item as I would normally, using the plastic bag as a guide. The plastic keeps wrinkles to a minimum, and I make sure to hang the item up right away upon arriving at my destination. A cheap, easy hack—and a great way to reuse grocery bags!” —Sarah Firshein, Digital Director

Tip the Scales

“I could never and will never travel without a luggage scale. Whether I’m buying gifts for my family, friends, or things for myself, I love to shop on trips. Having a scale takes the guesswork out of whether or not my bag weighs too much, and if I should sneak a few things into my husband’s suitcase!” —Valbona B. Twerdahl, Assistant Managing Editor

Double Stuffed

“I stuff socks, underwear, and charging cords in my husband’s size 13 shoes! I also always pack a plastic grocery bag—or steal the shower cap from the hotel if I forget—to stash a wet bathing suit in for the return home. That way, we get to enjoy every last second on the beach.” —Jacqueline Gifford, Senior Editor, Travel & Beauty

Air Your Dirty Laundry

“Bring a mesh or collapsible laundry bag with you. When you’re traveling to your destination, you can lay it over all your clothes to keep things in place. During your trip it helps keep your clothes off the hotel floor and on the way home, it helps separate dirty clothes from clean—easy to grab and do your wash after a trip too!” —Lindsey Campbell, Associate Editor, Audience Engagement

Keep it Clean

“Put one of those complimentary plastic shower cap over your shoes to keep everything else clean in your bag. Better yet, invest in a suitcase with a separate shoe compartment.” —Erika Owen, Audience Engagement Editor

Box It Up

“Because I’m such a frequent traveler, I get all my shirts folded and boxed by my cleaners rather than put on hangers. That way they are ready to go for packing, no folding required.” —Nathan Lump, Editor


“If I can’t keep my cosmetic case completely liquid-free, I like to store my shampoo and conditioner in GoToob’s squeezable toiletry bottles. They come in TSA-approved sizes, and the caps include a spill-proof, no-drip valve.” —Caroline Hallemann, Associate Digital Editor

Hip to be Square

“I loved Flight 001’s printed “Spacepaks” pretty much instantly. When I actually started using them, it was life-changing. The “paks” keeps everything totally tidy (and, come on, so adorable), plus the fabric is lightweight and durable. I like the ocean blues, but there’s also a spunkier polka dot version (a Caribbean-sea aqua) and a candy stripe set.” —Amy Schellenbaum, Digital Editor

This article originally appeared on Travel + Leisure

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