The Ultimate Top 10 Packing Hacks

Updated June 22, 2020.

My packing posts have been getting an awful lot of love lately, so I thought it was high time to pull together my favorite packing hacks into one blog post! Packing can be very overwhelming (even to Steve and me!), but with the right strategies and these helpful hacks, packing just got a lot less stressful!

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10. Use Address Labels

I just came across this tip recently, and I could not wait to share it! If you get free address labels in the mail from random companies as a “gift,” use that gift to give your stuff a fighting chance to make its way back to you should you lose it. Put a label on your chargers, electronics, glasses cases, books, and anything else you can think of! My husband even said I can tell you he loses things often–GPS watches, pull-overs, Starbucks mugs from Niagara Falls, a whole packing cube full of clothing in a drawer in Amsterdam, etc., etc., etc.

9. Go Carry-on Only

This is the only way Steve and I travel. It’s perhaps not for everyone, but I encourage everyone to give it a whirl! Save time, pack light, never be stuck at the baggage carousel when you could be starting your vacation… or heading home from the airport!


8. Use Packing Cubes

I am new to the packing cubes game, but I’m hooked. I love being organized. Perhaps I’m a nut, but I just love it that all my workout clothes can be in one cube, and I know just where it is in my luggage. My husband likes having a “shelf” in his backpack. Use the cubes!

7. Roll Your Clothes

Still a classic! If you only take one hack away from this, let it be to roll your clothes. You will save so much space, it will blow your mind, guaranteed. For all the details and how-to’s, check out Packing Strategy 1: Roll with It!!

6. A Place for Everything; Everything in Its Place

I don’t know about you, but it’s very important to me to know where everything is at all times, that way I have far less chance of losing something. Put all your chargers and electronics in one place, and always put them back when not in use. The same goes for books, jewelry, toiletries, etc. If you want to make it home with all your stuff, keep track of it!

If you’re looking for a recommendation, this is the backpack I use. It has zippered pockets in all the right places! I have it in the 30 L and 46 L sizes.

5. Go Quick-dry

If you’re going on a three-week trip, please do not take three weeks’ worth of clothes! Take clothes that you can wear twice, wash and dry quickly in the bathtub or sink, and then wear them one or two more times. Can you mix and match those items? You may not even end up wearing the same complete outfit twice! I love this quick-drying maxi from Columbia:

Essential Info: What Every Woman Should Pack for Every Trip

4. Mix and Match

Good news! You don’t have to pack all black! Instead, pack pieces that go together. Almost anything goes with jeans or a solid pair of leggings. A top you can wear with jeans can surely also go with a skirt. Take one pair of shoes that will go with everything instead of four pairs of sandals that can only go with one of the outfits you’re taking. You can take less with you when more of your items can go together!

This fun pattered sun dress can be work on its own, with a scarf, or even paired with leggings and a jacket for fall or spring days as well!

3. Summertime? Utilize Your Bathing Suit

No really! Guys can use a pair of shorts as a bathing suit, and the right bathing suit can also be a pair of shorts for them. Ladies, a modest tankini top can easily double as a top for hiking or even just walking around town. Add accessories and you’ve got them all fooled!

2. Wintertime? Limit Those Sweaters

No, really! If you’re going to be wearing a base layer underneath and a coat on top, why not rewear that sweater a few times? Sweaters take up an awful lot of room in your luggage, and you could instead use that room for another base layer, gloves, thick socks, a hat, etc., etc., etc.

I wore the same pants and coat 5 days of our week-long trip to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Who cares what sweater I was wearing underneath?
For more, check out my post on how to Gear Up for Winter Travel!

1. Take and Toss

This is such a good one, especially if you’re planning to shop while you’re away. When you start to notice your clothes have one good wear left, put them aside and plan to pack them. Give them one last hurrah somewhere in the world, and then leave them behind. This works especially well if you know you’ll be doing a lot of muddy or dusty hiking. You’ll lighten your load, make room for souvenirs, keep the rest of your luggage cleaner on the way home, and de-clutter your closet in one fell swoop!


Did you know that the TSA is actually kind of fun to follow on Instagram? And did you know they are happy (and quick!) to answer your carry-on questions? If there’s something you’re just not sure about that you’d like to take in your carry-on (Is peanut butter a liquid? Is contact solution a medical necessity so I can take more than 3 ounces? Can I carry-on a butterknife?), by all means, ask! Just Tweet or Facebook them your question @AskTSA!


Have you tried any of these tricks before? What do you think? Comment below!

Need more? You’ll find everything and then some on my Packing Page!

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5 responses to “The Ultimate Top 10 Packing Hacks”

  1. […] I cannot stress this one enough. In fact, this is also on my Top 10 Packing Hacks list from earlier this week! It’s perhaps not for everyone, but everyone should give it a try. No one wants to be stuck footing an unexpectedly large checked luggage bill, or stuck waiting for your luggage (if it makes the trip at all) at the carousel when you’re ready to either start your vacation or just get home after a trip! For all my top packing tips to make that happen, check out my Packing page and my Top Packing Hacks! […]

  2. […] Also helpful: The Ultimate List of Packing Hacks […]

  3. […] Read next: My Top 10 Packing Hacks […]

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