| Packing Lists

How to Master The Art Of Smart Packing.

What I have come to learn after years of packing experience

It has probably taken me 20 of my 21 years of life to figure out how to effectively and efficiently pack for a trip. In my younger years, I would try to stuff every inch of my closet into my suitcase. Even for a 48-hour getaway, I would pack close to five outfits just to end up wearing pretty much the same thing the whole trip. What can I say; I’ve always been a little over prepared. Like ready for a snowstorm in July over prepared.

Well now that older and a little bit wiser, I’ve finally realize how ridiculously unnecessary that is. After years of practice and dozens of trips I’ve finally mastered the art of smart packing. Follow these tips so you too can be a pro packer.

Invest in your luggage. If you travel a lot, it’s well worth it to invest in a durable luggage set. I would recommend a medium-large sized suite case with both inside and outside pockets. It also helps to choose a bright color or fun pattern. This makes it so much easier to spot at baggage claim among the sea of black suitcases. Your carry-on should be soft and easy to carry. I love to use my Vera Bradley duffle as a carry-on because it is small enough to fit under my seat but holds a lot and doubles as a perfect weekend bag.


All set to take off for Rome!

Use mini, reusable bottles. Instead of packing your family size shampoo and conditioner bottles, fill up a few mini bottles so you’re only taking what you need. They’re perfect for shower products, face wash and soaps, and they’ll save you a ton of space for the more important stuff (like clothes and shoes)!

Pack staple pieces and layers. This will help if you have an over packing problem. Staple pieces will allow you to mix and match your outfits (you’ll be able to wear the same top twice and no one will notice). Layering pieces will keep you comfortable in any weather. I never leave without a cardigan, even if it’s super hot during the day, I’m thankful to have it at nights when the sun goes down and it gets chilly.

If you don’t wear it at home you won’t wear it on vacation. I’m guilty of this one. When I pack for a trip I always find things in the back of my closet that I haven’t worn in years and I always think that my vacation will be the perfect time to debut it. In reality, it sits in the bottom of my suitcase all week untouched. The clothes you wear at home are probably what you feel most confident and comfortable in, so chances are, you’ll probably be reaching for those pieces on vacation too.

The shoe rule. Shoes are tricky because they take up a lot of space in the suitcase. I always limit myself to three pairs: sneakers (I always go for my Converse high tops or my Nike Airs), a casual pair, and a nice pair. So for a summer trip, I probably pack flip-flops, sneakers, and heels or wedges. For a winter trip, I’ll do boots, sneakers and a nice pair of booties.

 Packing technique. I don’t do anything super fancy when I pack my clothes, I don’t roll my clothes into tiny balls or fold outfits inside each other, I just make sure that everything is neatly folded and placed in an order that makes sense. I usually put my pants and heavier pieces on the bottom and send my tops and lighter pieces towards the top.IMG_2272

Don’t forget your comfy clothes. No matter where I go, I always leave room for my “comfy clothes.” This is usually a sweatshirt and a pair of legging. There might just be a day where it just won’t stop raining or you’re not feeling that great. I’m ALWAYS prepared for these days with a set of comfy clothes so I can be comfortable and relaxed.

You might also like Packing Tips for any Type of Travel.

Study Abroad Packing Tips, What to bring and What Not to bring.

There you have it, a list of packing tips to take a stab at if you tend over pack sometimes. Wouldn’t life be a heck of a lot easier if you could just pick up your closet and take it with you wherever you go?
Well, unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. So give some of these a try. And if all else fails, remember to just leave a small breathing space in your suitcase or bag. Later you’ll be trying to stuff your newest purchases from the trip in there so hey, might as well help yourself out.


Emily Allen

University of Maryland | 9 stories

Hi everyone! My name is Emily Allen and I'm a junior communications major with a focus in public relations at the University of Maryland, College Park. As much as I love Maryland, I love getting out and exploring the world more. This job is pretty prefect for me considering I love creative writing, traveling, and taking artsy photos.

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