travel tips
BY: Blair Smith

6 Hacks to Help You Pack Better for Your Next Vacation

Pack like a pro for your next vacay

Ever fly across the country, pop open your suitcase upon arrival, and instantly feel shame due to your poorly organized belongings? As you hang up the wrinkled tops and dresses that had been wadded up in your luggage, you wonder to yourself how you let this happen again. We have a few tips to keep this from happening again.

1. Keep a separate set of toiletries

One way to ensure you never forget shampoo or toothpaste is by having a toiletry bag that exists just for travel and always stays packed. Never unpack this bag and just add your makeup and toothbrush to it before heading out of town. Keep this bag filled with refillable containers—I recommend these from LiquiSnugs—so that you always have sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, and face wash ready to go. I also like to throw any beauty product samples into my dopp kit as well. Make sure this bag is within easy reach, in case you need to pull it out while going through airport security.

2. Save your dustbags

As someone who lives in New York City, I cringe at the thought of the bottom of my grimey shoes touching my clean, packed clothing. To avoid getting my packed items dirty, I pack each pair of shoes in a dust bag. I’m also sure to wash those bags after returning from my trip so I can reuse them in the most sanitary way possible.

3. Or just buy packing cubes

For all the type-A travelers out there, there’s nothing more satisfying than using packing cubes. These lightweight, zip-up cubes from travel expert Rick Steves, offer a nice size variety. Just think of your suitcase as a game of Tetris, and everything will fall into its correct spot.

4. Stick with a color palette

If you’re anything like me, you see it as a challenge to actually wear or use every item you packed for vacation. One way to make sure that the clothing you pack is more wearable is by making sure that a lot of it could work together in the same outfit. So instead of having a bunch of one-off items that don’t really go with anything else, create a series of outfits in the blue or neutral family so you can mix, match and rewear the clothing you packed.

5. Invest in vacuum bags

If you’re the type who comes home with a lot more clothing than you left with, consider vacuum bags. After all, who doesn’t love vacation shopping? By bringing vacuum bags—aka compression or suction bags—with you, you can avoid having to buy more luggage on your return trip. Instead, you can push the air out of your luggage and clear space for all the cool beach caftans you just had to buy. These bags from Bed, Bath & Beyond are my go-to.

6. Bring extra plastic bags

You never know which items might still be damp or wet and need to be transported home while keeping everything else dry. I also recommend bringing a plastic bag for dirty clothes (specifically socks and underwear) that you want to keep from touching your other packed items.

Most importantly, be sure to keep all your travel items in one place so that you don’t spend the hours before departure looking for items all over your house.

Blair Smith is a lifestyle and beauty writer who currently resides (and will likely stay forever) in Brooklyn, New York.

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