Where do you begin?
- Make a list (I love lists) of everything you'll need on your trip. Either write it out the old fashioned way or make it on your phone. Cross out each item as you pack it
- Don't just throw everything in the bag right away. Gather what you plan on bringing and put it on a bed (or the floor). This way, it is easier to visualize where to put everything in the suitcase.
- Roll your clothes. I find that you can fit more in the suitcase this way. They also wrinkle less. Rolling is a two step process: fold in half, then roll.
Dudes, this one's for you: I'm bringing a couple sport jackets to Mexico. Packing those can be a little tricky. Especially if you don't have a garment bag. I did a bit of homework and found the best way to pack one is with the shoulders inside out. After you are done turning the shoulders inside out you can even roll it if you wish (option 3).
- I just recently tried this one and it worked: pack in layers. Clothes on the first (bottom) layer. Toiletries on the second layer. Jackets, hats (and the like) on the top layer.
What shouldn't you bring?
The one thing you need to remember is this: bring only what you need. I know it's sometimes tempting to just throw your whole closet and bathroom in the suitcase (I may have tried once or twice). But that's not needed. For example, if you're staying at a hotel - it'll have complimentary toiletries in your room. Take advantage of that!
Another example is bringing too many clothes! Sure, no one wants to find themselves in the middle of a trip without clean clothing. But you don't need to pack seven pairs of jeans for a seven day trip. There's a middle ground in there somewhere.
Everyone has a different packing style. Some of these tips may work for you, some may not. Do you have any packing tips? I'd love to hear from you!