Essential Packing Hacks For Cross Country (Or Any) Travel

All travelers have baggage. These tips will help you manage it.

You’ve booked the tickets, planned the trip, and all that’s left is to pack the bags. Personally, packing has not always been my strong point. On one of my first big solo trips, I packed four pairs of heels and six dresses – three of which had been sitting in my closet for over a year without me having ever worn them.  When I left for university, I had only begun packing the day before. I am still far from perfect, but I have learned a lot from my years of travel mistakes. So whether you’re getting it done a week in advance, or throwing it all together an hour before you leave, here are some packing hacks to make life a little simpler on your trip.

Make A List

Get a paper and pen and write out everything you will need for your trip! Google is your friend for this one, use it to search up the best things to pack for whatever type of trip you’re taking. Write it all out, adding a checkbox to the side of each item so you can go through everything when you need to. If you are the forgetful type, make copies so you can go through it again when you pack to go home, ensuring you haven’t forgotten a thing!

Dryer Sheets In The Bag

You may smell like an angel, but your used clothes, worn shoes, and wet towels sure won’t after spending a few days in your suitcase! Keep things smelling fresh by putting a dryer sheet in between the layers of your bag and inside shoes. Pro tip; my parents love when I transfer this hack to my everyday life by sticking a couple in my gym bag.

Bottom Heavy

Keep things from getting broken or misplaced by putting your heaviest items at the bottom of a suitcase, and saving the top for the lighter things.
The exception to the rule is with traveller backpacks; the bottom will have the lightest items (excluding breakables) and the top will have the medium weighted items. The middle of the bag is divided into two; the half facing the wearer’s back will have the heaviest items, and the half facing away will have light items

Wrap It Up

Any item that you’re worried may break or get scratched should be protected, but don’t waste space bringing anything you wouldn’t have already packed. Small items like perfume bottles and portable cameras can be held in thick socks, while larger items like tablets can be wrapped in sweaters. If you’re socks are small and thin, this is the perfect time to bring out the colourful knit ones your grandmother made for you years ago that you still haven’t worn.

Get To Rollin’

Rolling your clothes in most cases is the best way to prevent wrinkles, and is much more space efficient than folding! Apart from collared shirts and creased pants, fold your clothes in half and roll it into a nice little yule log shape. If you are prone to overpacking, you could also bundle a rolled shirt, sweater, and pant using an elastic, dividing everything so you know exactly how many outfits you have packed.

Prep For A Plan B

Whether you’re taking the train or a plane, be prepared in case your luggage gets lost. Put a few extra toiletries and outfits in a carry on bag so you don’t have to go a day without feeling clean. This is even more important for you fellow train travelers, as we may spend days getting to a single destination without access to our main bag.

Wrap Your Shoes

The last time I used my old running shoes was for a hike in the woods, and I was dreading having to clean them up before packing them with my white shirts. So instead I took the lazy way out and wrapped them up in a grocery bag! I used a reusable one so I can carry it during my travels, but the plastic kind or even a shower cap works to keep the dirt and smell away from your clean clothes underneath.

Don’t Over Pack

No one wants to be the person falling behind because their bag is too heavy to pull or carry. But even worse is having to walk away from the perfect souvenir for your friend because you don’t have enough room for it. Pack light, and save space by getting miniature versions of all your toiletries. Especially important if you don’t want half your spending money to go towards extra baggage fees on trains and planes!

These tips will get you started, but there are many more out there! If you have one that you think everyone should know about, comment it down below to help a fellow traveler.