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10 Great Packing Tips

This week couldn’t go by fast enough, could it? In fact, you’re already starting to pack for your Memorial Day getaway, aren’t you? But, do you really need all of those shoes? Well…do you?! It’s only a three day weekend. I say, pare down, and spend the $50 you would end up paying on roundtrip baggage fees on a nice dinner instead. Here’s how:

10 Great Packing Tips

  1. Know your limits
    Different airlines often have different weight and size regulations for both carry-on and check-in baggage. Prior to your departure, call your airline or check the carrier’s website to avoid surprises – and unexpected costs – at the check-in counter.
  2. Pack “travel-friendly” fabrics
    Light weight fabric that can withstand multiple wears is your best bet; think natural linens or synthetic fibers.
  3. Iron out the wrinkles
    Wrinkle-resistant and wash-and-wear clothes are best for travelling as they’re the easiest to care for and will stand up to packing and unpacking. Choose bright colours and patterns to hide stains, just in case. Also, consider packing shirts and blouses in drycleaner bags to prevent wrinkling.
  4. Limit yourself to two pairs of shoes
    It might seem unreasonable, but two pairs of shoes is more than enough. Pack a comfortable pair of walking shoes for the day and a pair of dressier shoes for the evening. Speaking of shoes, store jewellery and loose items inside of a zip-lock bag and tuck into your shoes for protection. Or better yet, leave valuable jewellery at home.
  5. Model your wardrobe
    Want to be really sure? Try on the items you intend to pack ahead of time. If you’re happy and comfortable with your wardrobe choice you’re more likely to wear them when you’re away. Try to mix-and-match clothing to make different outfits and lighter suitcases. When you are on the road nobody else will know you’ve worn the same pants twice this week.
  6. Pack tiny toiletries
    Pack tiny toiletries and avoid bulkier items such as mouth wash and soap. Call your hotel in advance to see if they provide all the basics.  For carry-on, remember the 3-1-1 rule: 3 oz containers, in a 1 litre see-through bag, and 1 per passenger.
  7. Avoid electronics
    Reduce the extra bulk by leaving the hair-dryer and other unnecessary electronics at home. Unless you’re travelling for business, don’t bother bringing your laptop computer. Instead scope out your nearest Internet café.
  8. Ditch the “what if” items
    Packing a raincoat just because the weather predicts a 30 per cent change of rain? Forget it. Don’t bring anything for those “just in case” scenarios; chances are you won’t need it.
  9. Find the right luggage
    Packing light also means packing with the right luggage. If you’re a business traveller, you may want to use a fold-up suit bag. Whereas, if you’re travelling to Europe for two weeks, find a larger suitcase with various compartments and wheels.
  10. Leave room for souvenirs
    Last but not least, leave a little room for shopping and souvenirs. You never know what gem you may want to bring home with you.


My name: Jennifer Gaines, but my friends call me Gaines, Jenni-Dallas or just plain Jenn.

(Find me on Twitter @jenngaines)

Travel ambitions: It's my mission to visit each of the New 7 Wonders and to step foot on every continent before my next milestone birthday.

Greatest travel lesson learned: Find the local hangouts to experience the real, true culture of a place. During a trip to Europe, my friends and I spent several days with a French family in the small town of Vichy. We had a private party in their family-run creperie, feasting on cheese-stuffed crepes and sampling wine that we picked up in the Bordeaux region a few days earlier. Their English wasn’t much better than my French, which is limited to a few well-known phrases from Moulin Rouge and the question: Parlez-vous anglais? (I'm proud to say that I can spout this question off in several different languages, and luckily most Europeans do indeed speak English!) After a few bottles of wine, the language barrier was hardly noticeable (slurring actually sounds the same in French!), and we managed to swap stories about life in other places. What a slice of local flavor!

My most beloved place in the whole world is: My grandparents place in Texas. It’s a 10-acre oasis in between two sprawling cities: Dallas and Fort Worth. A creek runs through their enormous backyard, where Granddad built a deck over the water. The entire place is shrouded with all types of trees (mainly pecan), blocking the Texas sun in the summer. Dusk is the best time to sit on the deck, drink a glass of ice tea and watch baby raccoons from the spring litter surround their back porch as Gram feeds them bread (no lie!). There will be dozens of raccoons eating on any given night. In the fall, my family gathers in the courtyard in front of their house for an annual “weenie roast.” Granddad lights the bonfire, and we roast dogs and s'mores. Yes, y’all, we’re from Texas!

Favorite way to get around: Well, I’m not much of a driver. I get lost easily and my tires have never come across a curb they didn’t want to get to know a little better. But, I do enjoy cruising around and listening to music. That said, I much rather explore a place by foot (with my iPod in tow) for a more intimate encounter.

View that took my breath away: Coming from Texas (where the view is wide but there’s not much to see), scenes from my new home of San Francisco never fail to amaze me. The city is a pedestrian’s dream, but don’t forget to turn around and look behind you as you meander through its neighborhoods. You won’t realize it, but you’ll be at the tip-top of a hill and the ocean will suddenly seem to be at eye level. Take a drive through the Presidio and over the Golden Gate Bridge where even more stunning views await!


Atlanta Homes

Great post and so timely. I’ve had this argument with my wife forever. Mainly that she doesn’t need 10 pairs of shoes!! Emailing this post to her now. Hopefully she gets it :-)


I always carry 1-2 bags when I go outside india for my hotel business. Bye the way nice tips this will help me in future when I will go outside with my family. Thanks for sharing

Susan Kennedy

These are some good tips. I would also add,fold your clothes carefully. Lots of people (men mostly) will just shove things into their bag any old way, you get a lot more in if it is neatly folded.


These space saving ideas are great for drivers too – especially with the car hire firms offering smaller rental cars. A family travelling in a budget car will want to avoid paying for extras like roof racks so smart packing will reduce the number of bags and cases they carry in the car.

Hilary Lannan

Talk about an expert packer, this chick fits in 10 day in a smaller carry-on:

Sandy Salle

Great post on packing tips!

I would also add that depending on where you go and what type of vacation you are going on, bug spray, sunscreen, and other toiletries are a necessity. Also, it’s important to consider traveling conditions. Will you be traveling in a safari vehicle? By foot? By train? This has a large factor in what to pack prior to departure. Always be prepared but never over pack!

Max White

I’m going away to my cottage (in Quebec, Canada) for 2 – 3 weeks and I always over pack. I’d like to try and fit everything into a small, carry-on sized suitcase and I was wondering if anyone had some useful tips for me?

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