When traveling, the last thing you want to worry about is your luggage. Here are 20 packing hacks for vacation that will make your next trip easier and stress free.
Planning for a vacation can be an exciting experience, but packing for it can often be a daunting task. Deciding what to bring, how to pack it, and ensuring that everything fits into your luggage can cause a great deal of stress.
However, with a few simple packing hacks, you can make your next trip stress-free and ensure that you have everything you need without the added weight and hassle.
In this article, we have compiled 20 packing hacks that can make your packing experience efficient and organized, leaving you with more time to enjoy your vacation.
When we traveled to Hawaii and California last year, we decided to not check any luggage. We were going all in with carry-ons and a backpack for six people on a two-week trip.
I was excited about the challenge until I laid out all the outfits I had planned for everyone. Little piles of outfits everywhere but I was going to have to do some maneuvering to make them fit in the carry-ons.
Then I remembered souvenirs. ACK!
But I was determined to make it happen.
Here are some of the packing hacks I used that helped us
cram fit everything into our carry-ons.
Packing Hacks For Vacation That Will Make Your Next Trip Stress Free
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1. Roll clothes instead of folding them to save space in your luggage.
While this doesn’t sound like it would save that much space, it saves so much more than you would think!
2. Use packing cubes to keep your items organized and compact.
Packing cubes were helpful to keep items like underwear, socks, and undershorts separated by each person.
3. Pack shoes in a shower cap to keep the rest of your clothes clean.
One of my favorite packing hacks for vacation is to keep shower caps from hotels for this purpose. You can also use plastic bags or buy specific shoe bags.
4. Pack your heaviest items at the bottom of your suitcase to prevent it from tipping over.
This was a lesson we learned on the way to Hawaii. We had one carry-on bag that wouldn’t stay upright for anything. Turns out, it wasn’t packed with the heaviest items on the bottom. This made it super hard for the kids to manage.
5. Use compression bags to maximize space in your luggage.
You can use compression storage bags or Ziploc Bags. I’ve been using Ziploc Bags or generic zipper bags for packing since my kids were tiny. It makes planning outfits by day easier and they pack so much better compressed.
6. Pack outfits together to make getting ready easier.
This leads me to number six, one of my absolute favorite packing hacks for vacation! When I pack, I don’t pack outfits by person, but by day. This means there is less rummaging and clothing (affiliate link) chaos. Everything for that day is together. Sometimes we’ll have crossovers with shorts or t-shirts, but it’s far easier on everyone and leads to a stress free morning.
7. Use a pill case to organize small pieces of jewelry and prevent tangling.
Have you used this hack for jewelry? I was hesitant, but it really does work! The pill case keeps my small earrings and necklaces separated so they aren’t a tangled mess by the time we unpack.
8. Use a plastic bag to pack dirty clothes separately.
If you don’t want to use a plastic bag, you can use an empty suitcase. On this trip, I packed a dirty clothes bag. We had access to a washer and dryer on the first part of the trip so I made sure we were doing laundry so that when we flew to California everything would be clean.
9. Pack a small, collapsible tote bag for souvenirs or extra items you may pick up during your trip.
We made sure we had room in our backpacks for souvenirs as well as packing a duffle bag in one of the carry-ons.
10. Wrap fragile items in clothing to provide extra padding.
This gets tricky when everything is a carry-on and space is tight, but it’s doable. Use clothing (affiliate link) or small travel blankets to keep things like your camera safe on your adventure.
11. Pack a portable charger and a power bank to keep your electronics charged.
This is absolutely important! Our flight from Orlando to Honolulu was about 10 -11 hours. While we did sleep and watched movies on the aircraft, I also packed our iPads just in case. We didn’t end up using them much, but I wanted to be prepared in case there were any delays.
12. Place a plastic wrap over bottles with liquids to prevent spills.
I also have liquids in their own TSA-approved-sized plastic baggie. There is nothing worse than unpacking at your destination and realizing something leaked all over your luggage.
13. Use a backpack instead of a suitcase for short trips or day trips.
Backpacks are perfect for short trips or day trips. They are big enough for a couple of changes of clothes, toiletries, snacks, and everything else you might need.
14. Use a packing list to ensure you don’t forget anything important.
I am a visual person and need to see everything in front of me. For weeks leading up to the trip, my husband would ask if we needed to buy anything and I would say no because I thought we had it all. Until I started making my piles. When I pulled out my Simplifying Family Travel Planner, everything felt right in the world again.
Not only did it have all the activities we had planned for each day, it also had a packing list and a place for me to write down outfits and the weather that we were expecting. It made packing and planning our vacation so much easier.
15. Use a luggage scale to avoid overweight baggage fees.
If you aren’t going to the carry-on route, purchase a luggage scale. I will never forget buying this super cute luggage at TJ Maxx for a DEAL. I couldn’t wait to get home and pack everything for my trip across the country without my kids. I was so excited to see friends and relax in a way we can’t always do with kids at our feet.
Everything was great until I got to the airport on the way home. Somehow, I had flown to California with no problem, but on the way home, my suitcase (which was larger than life) was over the limit. That was $50 I was not happy to pay but it was totally my fault.
16. Pack your essentials, such as medication, travel documents, and a change of clothes, in a separate bag within your carry-on.
If you are checking baggage, you want to read this one and take heed. It’s so important to pack medication, travel documents, and a change of clothes in your carry on or personal item. Those items do not belong in your checked baggage.
Baggage gets redirected or lost all the time. Clothes can be replaced but you want to avoid the hoops and hurdles to replace your medicine and travel documents. This will be one of your favorite packing hacks for vacation.
17. Bring a reusable water bottle that you can refill after passing security.
We did this and it was so helpful. Instead of paying $5 for a bottle of water for each of us, we brought empty water bottles to fill up after passing through security. Did you know you can even fill the bottles with ice (affiliate link)? Make sure you do this right before leaving for the airport though because melted ice (affiliate link) doesn’t work.
18. Wear your bulkiest clothing, such as a jacket or boots, to save space in your luggage.
Need to pack a petty coat for Dapper Day? Yes, we did this. My oldest daughter couldn’t leave home without it so we smushed it in a compression bag. The better option would have been to wear it on the plane.
19. Pack a small, lightweight blanket or scarf to keep warm on the plane.
Airplanes tend to either be really cold or really hot. Make sure you are prepared for the flight temperature! My kids have each had travel blankets since they were toddlers and babies. They are the perfect size for travel even as tweens and teens now.
I either make sure I have a small blanket or scarf to keep warm. Layers on an airplane are super important for an enjoyable flight. They can also double as a pillow if you are near a window.
20. Pack a small first aid kit with basic medical supplies such as band-aids, pain relievers, and antiseptic wipes.
This will help with blisters or accidents, like when my youngest son got hit by a branch and got a huge scrape on his face. I was super thankful for the small first aid kit I packed in my backpack.
Do you have any packing hacks for vacation that you love? Tell us your favorite packing hacks for vacation below!