Pack Like a Pro: 12 Packing Tips From Destination Experts
When you’re a Kensington Destination Expert, frequent travel is just part of the job. Learn how our DEs get the most out of (and into) their luggage.
When you book a trip with Kensington Tours, you’re in the hands of experts. Probably the only thing we can’t do is pack your luggage. With this sometimes-stressful task it’s hard to know where to begin. We reached out to some of our Destination Experts for their most useful travel tips and tricks in order to help make your packing experience a little less hectic.
1. Pack light, pack light, and pack even lighter
The #1 rule among DEs is “pack light.” Though you may wish to make a fashion statement while traveling, there is nothing worse than getting dinged with overweight baggage fees, lugging around extra bags, or having to sit on your suitcase to get it closed. You’ll likely want to purchase souvenirs along the way, so saving some extra “weight-space” before you leave is a good idea.
2. Bring power adapters, converters, and chargers
You can usually purchase an adapter or converter on international flights or in stores once you’ve arrived, it’s much easier to pick one up at home. Make sure that your electronics are fully charged before takeoff to maximize battery life. If staying in touch with friends and family is a priority, purchase an external power pack that can charge up your phone while you’re out all day touring and snapping photos.
3. Make separate packing lists
Having a written packing list to help track what you need pack is smart, but having a separate list for those last-minute items you’ll have to grab on your way out the door – your phone charger, contact-lens solution, headphones, etc. – is even smarter. If you have a departure-day list, you’ll be less likely to forget those must-haves. (Your iPad has a handy to-do feature that makes list-making easy.)
4. Check your airline’s baggage policy ahead of time
It is always important to know what you’re allowed to take on any flight, international or domestic. Domestics tend to have a lower weight allowance, so make sure your bags fall under the limit to avoid any fees. This leads back to tip #1: pack light!
5. Invest in travel-size laundry soap
Many hotels have a laundry service, but having your laundry sent out is usually neither convenient nor affordable. Instead, bring a small packet of laundry soap for those times when you need to emergency-wash a particular item of clothing in the sink. Hang it to dry overnight, give it a blast of fabric freshener, and you’re ready to go. You can also line your suitcase with dryer sheets and bring a dedicated laundry bag for dirty clothes to keep the rest of your luggage smelling fresh.
6. Use mesh laundry bags to separate your items
Instead of using packing squares that take up space and are not compactable, use mesh laundry bags – yes, the ones that you put in your washing machine – to separate your intimates and socks from your t-shirts and swimsuits.
7. Choose the right luggage
Picking luggage that’s right for you can be tricky. Do you need two wheels or four? Lightweight or durable? Big or small? A four-wheeled suitcase is easier to push or pull your belongings just about anywhere, and it sure beats dragging it with your dominant arm throughout your trip. Lightweight luggage makes packing light much more manageable than heavy, bulky bags, but remember that durability is important, too. Choosing a unique color or pattern for your luggage or tying a colorful ribbon around the handle will help it stand out on the carousel. And be sure to use your luggage tags in case your bags get lost.
8. Follow TSA guidelines
For first-time travelers, it may be unclear what you can and cannot bring in your carry-on bag. Check out the TSA website ahead of time to ensure that you don’t pack anything that forbidden. Remember: liquids and gels must be less than 100ml (3.38 fluid ounces) and able to fit inside a quart-sized bag. Consider pre-packing your liquids and gels in a small resealable bag and have them handy at the top of your carry-on to save yourself from frantically rummaging through your bag in the security line!
9. Secure your liquids and toiletries with tape
There’s no worse way to begin a trip than by opening your luggage to find exploded can of hairspray or a leaking bottle of shampoo. Secure these toiletries with a little bit of tape to prevent disasters. Worried about suitcase weight? Leave your regular shampoo and conditioner bottles at home and pick up some travel-size equivalents or buy them once you’ve arrived. You can also store these in small resealable bags within your luggage to avoid spills.
10. Plan your outfits ahead of time
Maximize space and weight (and eliminate the stress of dressing in a sleepy daze for that sunrise) by packing your clothes as outfits rather than individual pieces. This way, you’ll avoid packing items that you won’t wear on the trip. Select versatile pieces; a pair of dark pants that goes with three different shirts, for example.
11. Pack your carry-on to its potential
Packing your carry-on with the essentials will be your saving grace, especially if your luggage doesn’t make to your destination on time. An extra outfit to change into, a toothbrush to freshen up, and wet wipes to brighten up after a long flight will start your trip off on the right note. Fully charged electronics (and headphones!) or a book to keep you company on the plane are always good choices.
12. Bring a reusable water bottle
A refillable water bottle is one of the best items you can bring with you. Why spend money on plastic water bottles when you can stay hydrated simply by filling it up at a water fountain, restaurant, or your hotel? Pack smart, save money, and help out the planet, all at once!