Our 25 Best Tips to Prevent Over Packing: How to Pack Like a Pro

Tips to Prevent Over Packing

You finally made it to your destination; you’re ready to start seeing the sights, but you’re stuck dragging your heavy suitcase down a bumpy cobblestone road. Your arms feel like they’re going to fall off, and you don’t even know how much farther you have until you get to your hotel. Does anything scream tourist more? 

In this guide, we’ll give you some packing tips to help minimize the size of your luggage and make the most of the space you have in your suitcase. 

Planning Tips 

Set yourself up for success by planning your packing list. When you go to the grocery store without a list, you set yourself up for failure. The same is true here. 

1. Make a packing list 

Packing List | Tips to prevent overpacking

At She Packs Lite, we are believers in preparation and Travel Capsule Wardrobes. To begin your list, you need to do a little research around the weather of your destination, your activities, and any special events.  

There’s nothing worse than getting caught in the rain without an umbrella, and it’s much easier to be prepared when traveling than have to scramble to find something when it’s too late. 

Learn more about creating your perfect Travel Capsule Wardrobe here.

2. Get real about what you need to bring 

We, women, tend to overpack, especially when it’s a long trip. When you’re making your packing list, be realistic about what you actually need. For example, you don’t need three different outfits for each day or five pairs of shoes for a week trip. Find versatile items that you can dress up or down. Don’t forget to pack extra underwear and socks, though! 

3. Plan in mix and match outfits 

When your packing list reads: shirts, pants, socks, etc., you’re more likely to pack things you don’t need. Use the 5-4-3-2-1 Packing method. 

This method creates the perfect Travel Capsule for any trip. Read more about that here. Come up with a neutral palette and follow the 5-4-3-2-1 template, and you will have dozens of mix and match outfits for every occasion. Think about how many days you will be on your trip and plan outfits for each day. This method eliminates the likelihood of packing extra shirts and pairs of shoes that you don’t need and won’t wear. 

4. Get travel-sized everything or try solid toiletries

Make your space work for you, and breeze through airport security with either travel-sized liquids or solid toiletries. These take up a lot less space in your bags and allow you to carry on. You can also buy reusable travel-size containers that you refill with each time you use them.  I recently challenged myself to carry on all solid toiletries. Check that post out here.

5. Buy full-sized beauty products when you get there 

Things like shampoo, conditioner, and sunscreen can take up a lot of room in your bags. And if you plan on bringing them, you’ll have to check your bags. Full-sized beauty products are space wasters, and you can almost always find great alternatives at a local drugstore when you get to where you’re going. 

6. Look at weather predictions for your destination 

Packing appropriately for the weather by checking forecasts ahead of time will help ensure you’re bringing the things you need. No one likes to be cold on a trip, but if the weather predictions say that you’re going to have good weather the whole time, you probably don’t need that extra sweater. 

7. Invest in a good suitcase 

Having a quality suitcase with realistic proportions is the best way to set yourself up for success. If your airline has carry-on measurements that your bag has to meet, make sure your suitcase fits within those limits. Having the best luggage for your needs and trip will make sure you don’t bring too much or overpack. 

8. Plan your activities 

Something to consider while planning for your trip is what you will be doing while you’re there. For instance, if you’re going to the beach, you’ll need swimsuits. If you’re going to be walking around seeing the sights, make sure to bring comfy shoes.

9. Look for ways to reuse certain clothing items 

Planning a Travel Capsule Wardrobe means that you wear the same piece of clothing more than once. If you can bring one jacket and wear it for a few days and with different outfits, that will save you a lot of space rather than having a jacket for each day. The same goes for shoes; bring shoes that go with more than one outfit. 

Packing Tips 

Best Compression Packing Cubes | shepackslite.com

You have your packing list complete, and now it’s time to pack. With the right suitcase and these tips to prevent over packing, you can fit everything you need for your trip if you use your space effectively. And better yet, you’ll avoid all of the excess baggage fees!

10. Take advantage of empty spaces 

Empty space inevitably happens when packing, but you can make the most of it. If you start with heavier items like shoes at the bottom of your suitcase, you’ll often find you have space in between them. Use the rolling method and roll things like pairs of jeans instead of folding to fit in that extra space. 

11. Roll everything

If you’ve ever had to fly standby, you know that everything must fit into a carry-on bag. I learned at a young age that if you want to make things work in a smaller suitcase, the rolling method is your best friend. You’ll be able to fit way more into your bag than if you fold your clothes. 

12. Use compression bags 

If you don’t want to roll your clothes and risk wrinkling some items, compression bags are another great alternative. These will give you a little extra room in your travel bag when it’s needed. 

13. Or use packing cubes 

Packing cubes are just another packing process that will help you stay organized and avoid overpacking. One of the great things about packing cubes is that you can organize them by type of clothing. That way, if you’re looking for a shirt, you don’t have to unpack your entire bag to find it.

14. Keep all essentials in a small backpack or carry on

In case you ever get separated from your luggage. I recommend keeping all fragile items, phone chargers, toiletries, and your travel jewelry organizer with you in a backpack that you can fit under your seat. It’s also a good idea to keep an extra pair of underwear and socks in your carry-on bag in case you get stuck on a layover. 

15. Wear bulkier items on the flight instead of packing them 

Those chunky heels are super cute, but they take up a ton of room in your suitcase. If you really want to bring them but don’t want to sacrifice the space, wear them on your flight. The same goes for heavy coats and sweaters. This way, you can bring what you want without taking up precious space.

16. Or skip the bulky items all together 

If you’re going somewhere that will require you to dress a little warmer; your first instinct will be to pack lots of sweaters and coats. However, if you’re trying not to overpack and use your space wisely, these bulky items will cost you. Use your 5-4-3-2-1 list to plan outfits with layers. This alternative to packing large items is to layer things like long sleeve shirts under other items to give you warmth and save you space. 

Laundry Tips 

One of our primary tips to prevent over packing is to do laundry. Laundry can be tricky on trips where you don’t have immediate access to a washer and dryer. But these tips will help minimize the amount of laundry you have and help you pack as well. 

17. Pack a laundry bag 

A laundry bag should be one of the first things on your list when you’re packing for a trip. A laundry bag will help keep you organized during your trip. And, it keeps clean clothes separate from dirty laundry. If you don’t have a fancy laundry bag, you can also bring a couple of larger plastic grocery bags to keep things together. They work just as well! 

18. Check to see if the place you’re staying has a washer/dryer or local laundry service

If you’re going on a trip that’s two weeks or more, you will need to be strategic about your packing. As you may know, we are huge believers in the Travel Capsule Wardrobe here at She Packs Lite. Even with the best-planned capsule, you may need to do some laundry during a long trip. Many Airbnb’s have washers and dryers available, so you have the option of doing laundry halfway through your journey. Hotels can also suggest local laundry services. Then you can pack a lot less and not have to re-wear dirty clothes. 

19. If you have access to a washing machine, pack a laundry pod 

If you’ve ever gotten a Tide Pod in your mail as a sample, throw it in your travel-size liquids bag so you can do a load of laundry at your destination. You can also buy small containers of laundry detergent at local drugstores. 

20. Pack shoe bags 

Shoes can get dirty throughout your trip, and the last thing you want is clean clothes covered in mud and dirt because they end up next to each other in the suitcase. Shoe bags will keep your dirty shoes separate from clean clothes, so you have less dirty laundry. 

21. Pack one emergency outfit in your carry on

You never plan to miss your flight or have it canceled due to weather, but it’s nice to have a clean outfit to wear if it does happen. You don’t need to pack extra of everything, but an extra pair of pants and a shirt might come in handy. 

Your Technology – Tips to Prevent Over Packing Electronics

If you’re traveling to a foreign country, keep in mind that your electronics may not work the way they do at home. It’s something that you don’t think about when you plug in your hair straightener, but you don’t want to be that girl that blows a fuse in your bathroom abroad. 

22. Do some research on your products’ power ratings 

Certain tech products with high power ratings will work in the U.S. but won’t work if you travel to another country. A quick Internet search will tell you if your hairdryer needs an adapter or if you’ll need a voltage converter as well. 

23. Make sure you pack an adapter 

You don’t want to be stuck with a dead cell phone, especially if you’re unfamiliar with your surroundings. You can often find a multi-country converter that will fit in almost any international plug you come across in your travels. Keep it in your carry-on luggage just in case you need it handy! 

24. Pack a power strip

If you have to charge multiple items at once, a power strip is a great option, and most aren’t too big, so they’ll fit either in your small backpack or in your suitcase. 

We like this one from Amazon because it has a long cord, 3 USB-A ports and 1 USB-C port. The downside is that it does not have surge protection, but we are generally okay with that.

SHOP: Amazon

25. Skip packing larger electronics 

It’s nice to have your own hairdryer, but they take up a lot of space in your luggage. If you’re staying at a hotel, you can most likely borrow a hairdryer from the front desk, or they may have one in your room already. And unless you need to work, it’s a good idea to leave your laptop at home too. 

FAQ – Tips to Prevent Over Packing

How can I pack more clothes in less space?

It’s all about finding a packing method that works best for you. We are partial to the rolling method because we can fit so many things in my bag’s small spaces and corners. Compression packing cubes also help you to maximize the space in your bag.

How can I pack less for vacation?

The best way to pack less for vacation and one of our favorite tips to prevent over packing is to create a Travel Capsule Wardrobe, so you have dozens of mix and match outfits from a smaller set of clothing. Learn more about Travel Capsule Wardrobes here.

Does rolling your clothes make your suitcase lighter?

Rolling your clothes won’t make your bag any lighter, unfortunately. It does help you maximize space and allow you to pack a few extra things that you might not have been able to fit if you just folded your clothes. 

How can I travel light for a week?

Packing lite for a week is easy if you take the time to plan your list and create a Travel Capsule Wardrobe of mix and match outfits. Focus on versatile items that can be dressed up or down and worn with multiple items in your suitcase.  

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