You can't take everything you think of on a trip, but you can usually bring everything you need. All it takes is a little forethought and some good technique. This is how to pack an efficient bag.
Photo by Kristen Taylor
- Use a (Rolling) Duffle Bag: Hard suitcases provide a lot of protection, but the trade-off is a limited amount of space. Duffel bags can expand and squish as needed, so they only take up as much room as their contents require. If you don't want to carry one on your back, you can buy one with wheels.
- Be Selective: Nobody needs one pair of pants for every day of travel. We believe you can get by with one pair for every 2.5 days of travel — including the ones you wear on the plane. If you normally pack singlets, consider T-shirts instead for more outfit options. Figure out what you'll actually need and plan what you'll wear in advance so you don't overpack. When it comes to extras, you should really only add additional socks and underwear.
- Roll Your Clothing: Frequent travellers all agree that rolling your clothing is the most space-efficient packing method and helps to reduce wrinkles. So don't fold — roll everything up!
- Pack in Cubes: Packing cubes make it easy to organise your suitcase. Slim options like the Eagle Creek Specter line make sure they don't add much weight or take up extra space. You can even buy them with compression zippers to downsize further.
- Keep Toiletries on the Outside: You don't have to put your toiletry bag inside of your suitcase or duffel. Instead, attach it to the outside of your bag. This way you don't have to take it out for security when overseas or do anything at all if yours has a clear pouch.
That's all there is to it. A little planning and some good technique goes a long way. For more, check out how I fit two weeks worth of luggage into the seat in front of me and our guide to painless flying.