Packing efficiently is one of the most important aspects of travel. Whether you plan on traveling for just a weekend or for a year or more, packing correctly can make your trip go much smoother. I figured it was about time that we had an article focused on packing the right away on the blog.

So the basic philosophy that you’re going to want to follow is less is more. Susan Heller has a quote that says something along the lines of:

“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”

People tend to always pack more than they need and it takes up space and gives them added weight that can bog them down.

So here are a few of the most important tips to remember before you embark on your next big trip:

Make Sure Your Bag Isn’t Too Big:

It’s tempting when you’re shopping for your travel pack to get the biggest one imaginable, but that’s typically the wrong approach unless you plan on going on a trekking adventure across Antarctica. For long form travel, you’re going to want a bag that ranges anywhere from 50L to 85L in size. I have a 64L myself and find that it holds everything I need comfortably.

It’s also a good to have a lot of pockets on your bag so you can easily separate items. My bag only has three and I’m always wishing that I had bought one with more. Luckily for you, it’s actually the perfect season to find greatly discounted bags on sites like REI.

Only Take What You Need:

Create a list of all the items that you want to take on your trip and then do your best to narrow it down to only the essentials. A good method of doing that is asking yourself if you’ll use it less than a few times a week, if the answer is no, it’s probably best to leave it at home.

Clothing is generally the hardest things to narrow down because we all have so much of it. I limit myself to a shirt, socks, and underwear for each day of the week, one nice light pair of pants and shorts, swim trunks, one outfit of dress clothes incase a good occasion pops up where I may need it and flip flops.

Leave Extra Space In Your Bag:

You’re going to want to have a little extra room in your bag, so don’t fill it to the top. The extra room is helpful if you want to pick up souvenirs as you go or just to use for things like food.

Strategically Place Your Items:

Throwing all of your items in your bag and just going sounds cool and movie-like, but frankly, it’s a major hassle! It’s best to roll up your T-shirts army style so that you can fit all of them in one small area and so they don’t wrinkle, it also works as an excellent impromptu football (there is a great video of it on YouTube if you google it).

Next you’re going to want to take all of your chargers and toiletries and put them in a few different Ziploc bags to separate them and use the pockets to your advantage, so you’ll always know where they will be. Feel free to throw in a few extra little bags to store other things on your travels as well.

Take A Smaller Pack:

It’s helpful to bring a smaller pack that you can roll up and easily store in your larger one. This way if you want to go on a day trip to a museum and do not feel like lugging around your giant travel pack with everything you own, you won’t feel weighed down. It can also work as your carry on to the plane.

Since these are only the basic principles of packing well, I plan on covering this information more in the future with equally helpful information. In the meantime, there are dozens and dozens of articles on this all over the internet about this topic, so be sure to check out their tips as well. You can never be too prepared!

If you have any packing tips you would like to add, feel free to drop them below in the comments. I’d love to hear them. 🙂

Photo Credit: Lyza


  1. I thought that I would improve now that I travel full time and really do live out of a suitcase but I still tend to over pack. I start out ok but if there are any empty spaces left in my bag I have this need to fill them. The smaller pack for day trips is a great idea. I actually have one that attaches to my pick pack and I use it all the time.

  2. I always struggle choosing the right size of bag/case, I either worry that it’s too big to fit as hand luggage, or if it’s too small to fit all my gear in – Great article Clay, very helpful!

  3. Awesome tips, Clay. Some of my fav here too 🙂 Now, I really love rolling clothes. It’s saves a huge load of space and I can pack all the things I need for a monthly voyage in a small suitcase, fit as hand luggage. Bonus: no extra money wasted when flying low-cost.

  4. Very helpful packing tips! There is nothing better for a great vacation than well packed suitcase. It is very important to know how to pack, in order to prevent wrinkles over your clothes. Best regards