Travelers share their best travel packing tips

It’s really been a busy year for Friendly Planet Travel. There were the protests in Thailand and Egypt, and then theĀ disasters in Japan. Then on the other hand, we had the introduction of new tours to Namibia and Madagascar, as well as the celebration of our 30th year in business.

Oh, and I can’t forget the time we spent talking to travelers at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show and The New York Times Travel Show.

Well things have finally calmed down a little bit, and I was looking over my to-do list. Lo and behold it’s been almost a year since I updated with the travel packing tips I promised! I’m so ashamed.

To refresh your memory, when we were giving away Space Bags TO GO, we asked you to share your best packing tips in a comment on the blog post. So many of you posted creative tips to scale down your luggage that I wanted to compile them into one blog post that you can bookmark and refer to when you need some packing advice.
So here you go. These are all of the travel packing tips you gave me, quoted word for word:

  • “Convince your husband to put his clothes in the same bag as yours. That way HE only has one bag to carry. :-)”
  • “I stuff socks/rolled underware in my shoes. Depending on kind of shoes, uses up wasted space. I also have lots of “travel” clothes – the soft, wrinkle-free pants, tops and jackets. Lightweight and warm or cool, depending on weather.”
  • “I always pack zip-lock type bags of a variety of sizes on long trips. They come in handy, especially for packing liquids during flights, holding spare change, separating wet socks, or toting things like fresh fruit on day trips. It’s a low-tech, inexpensive way to organize and separate items during travel.”
  • “Get a bag that has two smallish side pockets- one for socks and underwear and the other that has a plastic bag for dirty laundry..This always saves routing around in the bag for those essentials.”
  • “I use ziplocks too. Especially for ‘intimates.’ That way if my bag is searched someone’s hands aren’t touching the personal items.”
  • “For longer trips, we travel with wheeled pack (combo of suitcase, backpack, with attached zip-off small back pack for day trips) top and side holders for easy handling – would not be without one!”
  • “I travel alot and have come up with a few GREAT ideas… the 1st one is the roll technique…I roll all my clothes to fit more items into my suitcase. It is a little time consuming but it works. Also if you plan to carry a flashlight, camera or anything with batteries and plan to pack it…turn the batteries backwards in case the flashlight or camera get cut on by accident. I learned this lesson the hard way.”
  • “My best tip is to plan ahead and don’t wait until the last minute to pack.”
  • “Take little as you can. take things which can be used for multiple times to save the space. like wrinkle free cloths, multiple zips bag to fit in all important things.”
  • “When I pack, I start by checking the weather forecast and determining the type of clothing that will be best suited for the environment. Then I choose a “color scheme” (i.e. earth tones, blacks, colorful, etc.). Choosing pieces in the same tones makes it easier to mix and match and to minimize the number of pairs of shoes I’ll need to bring along. Before packing, I make a list of outfits in a way that minimizes or eliminates duplicates. Then I button up, or zip up, each piece and pack my suitcase like a lasagna: layering up each piece flat, to minimize wrinkles. I start by using four pants (or longer skirts or dresses) with the legs extended out of the suitcase at the bottom (the legs will be folded over at the end making it easier to close the suitcase and also creating a barrier to avoid losing small items). I pack clothing items first and then use the spaces “in between” to put shoes and miscellaneous. By making sure everything is extended flat on the suitcase, I am able to have maximum packing space!”
  • “I always pack an extra compact zip duffel or light suitcase in my suitcase that way when I buy extra gifts or souvenirs I don’t have to buy an extra bag to lug those items home!”
  • “More ideas for ziplocks: I buy the biggest ones and pack 2-3 tops in each; they get less wrinkled because they ‘slide’ around rather than getting smushed. When looking for items in my suitcase, it is easier to find what I want and not disturb items I don’t want to use. You can pack by color combinations or clothing combinations (e.g. outfits or longsleeve vs shortsleeve). It protects the clothing from dampness or spills and also makes it easier to see what you have. Especially good if you have to ‘live’ out of your suitcase.”
  • “Put some of your clothes in your husband’s suitcase and some of his in yours. If one of the suitcases get lost, both of you can still survive for a few days. Learned that one the hard way.”
  • “If we are traveling long enough to need a suitcase, I put enough essentials in my carry-on bag to last a couple of days if my suitcase gets misdirected: underwear, toiletries and of course, any medications stay in my purse. As others have noted, don’t put all your ‘eggs’ in one basket when traveling!”

Do you have more travel packing tips? Let’s keep the list growing! Leave your own travel packing tips in a comment on this post.

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