Tips to avoid overpacking

We all start our vacation plans with good intentions—we're going to pack smart and travel light. Then, the night before we travel, we panic and start frantically stuffing our suitcase with whatever comes to mind. Here's how to avoid the urge.

Tips to avoid overpacking

The plan

First, make plans; consider where you are going and what you will be doing when you get there. A beach holiday requires different luggage than trekking through the Himalayas. Well before your departure, make a list of what clothes, shoes and extras you will need to take. Check with your travel agent or booking site for guidance.

Second, take your time packing. Begin two or more days before you leave. That way, any last minute items you may have forgotten can be purchased without added stress. Check items off using your list as you pack.


Your luggage should be durable and in reasonably good shape. A soft suitcase may be the best bet. Do not pack it so full that you need to strap it. You will want some room in the suitcase for items purchased while on your trip. Make certain there are secured tags with your contact details attached to both the outside and inside of the suitcase.

The strategy

To pack smart, you need to take the right approach. For clothing, combine compatible neutrals (blacks, beige and navy) with a scarf or two or some jewellery for some colour. Focus on wrinkle-free fabric and throw in one or two quick drying items made from fabrics like Gortex.

Try to leave items such as coats or shoes behind (or wear them on the plane). Instead, pack thin layers that can be worn on top of one another. Roll clothes or pack them one on top of one another in a pillow-like arrangement, with sleeves folded over. Pack only one or two of each item, including jeans, shorts, tops, sweaters and underwear. You can always hand wash as needed.

For toiletries, take travel-sizes and plan to buy more when you arrive, checking regulations for what can and can't be taken on a plane. Stuff anything you can, from socks to jewellery, into shoes.

The carry-on backup

Pack one or two days worth of clothes and other necessities like a toothbrush into your carry-on bag. That way, if your suitcase goes missing, you'll have a backup. Also pack all electronics in your carry-on.

Planning ahead of time and having the right strategy are key to packing smart. Choose a durable suitcase and remember to pack your carry-on with backups in mind, and you can eliminate stress on your next trip.

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