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Packing is such a hassle. Every time I go on a trip I wish I had one of those cool magic sacks that Hermoine used to keep all her stuff in — big and small. But, since I’m a mere Muggle, I normally look like this.


It’s rare that I feel like I’m able to fit everything I “need.” So, to help you avoid the stress and anxiety I’ve felt so many times, here are some practical tips for packing more efficiently when you decide to vacation next.

1. Bring a backpack, not a suitcase

Backpacks are much easier to carry around through public transit, towns, and tight bathroom stalls than a suitcase. Plus there are a ton of pockets and don’t spill out their entire contents when you unzip them.

2. DIY space bags

You could pay a lot of money for packing cubes, or you could use that money to get gelato (just a thought). So, grab a gallon plastic bag and fill it with your items. Close it halfway, sit on it to push out extra air, and seal. They obviously won’t be quite as good as the vacuumable ones, but, hey, you’re saving money and space!

3. Keep a backup of prescriptions

If your bag is stolen, but you have medicine you have to take, you may be in trouble. Bring a backup set and pack them in a friend’s bag or a second one of your own. As you have probably experienced already, being without a daily medication can have some mean side effects.

4. Swap clothes

You never know if you’ll actually end up at your destination with your bags or if they will disappear into the mysterious depths of the airport. Either way, it’s smart to keep an extra outfit in your friend’s bag in case of a missing bag.

5. Simplify kids’ luggage

Pair up your children’s clothes into gallon bags. This way, you can grab a bag and go rather than sifting through a pile of clothes.

clothes in ziploc bag

Photo: moneysavingmom.com

6. Door decor

When you stay at a hotel or on a cruise ship, every door looks exactly the same. Tie a piece of ribbon on the door for an easy view of your door when you walk down the hallway.

7. Bring a poncho

Poncho’s are way easier to use than umbrellas and keep your hands free. Not only that, but you can always throw them out afterward rather than trying to pack them back up. You can even get them for a buck or two.


8. Carry jewelry in a glasses case

Cases normally used for your glasses are a great size for jewelry. They are also great because of how hard they are. You can also get extras super cheap online.

9. Pack toiletries separately

Some toiletry bags can be expanded and hung on bathroom doors. Once you’re done with them, simply fold them back up and place in your bag. Use the travel-sized bottles from Walmart to put shampoo from home in or get some from your stylist.

10. Pack smart foods

Snacks are always great to have on a trip. Lightweight foods like nuts, dried fruit, and crackers are great to fill you up without adding more weight to your luggage. You can even bring instant oatmeal and use hot water from a coffee maker to cook it for a warm meal.

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