5 Ways to Pack Smarter


BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.


In 2022, airlines made a record $6.8B on baggage fees. That’s money could have been spent on a nice meal or a souvenir!

I recently spoke with Tamsen Fadal and Arrianee LeBeau on WPIX11 News in New York City to share my top five tops to pack smarter (and lighter).

Here are five ways to pack smarter:

Plan Ahead

Create a checklist as soon as you book the trip. Yes, seriously.

Think through everything you might do on your trip and that way you can add items to the list as you think of things you’ll need and you won’t forget anything.

For instance, if you’re only going to bring a nice pair of shoes to dine at one fancy restaurant, you can assess if the space and weight of the shoes is worth it for one meal. Maybe they are?

Also do a bit of research about the weather. Will you need just one sweater for chilly evenings or a bunch of long-sleeved shirts because of an expected cold snap?

If you travel often, you can create a packing list template. Try using my template that’s part of my List-Making Starter Kit.

Optimize Your Suitcase Space

There are lots of hacks about packing efficiently and these are my favorites.

1. Use Packing Cubes & Compression Bags

Have you tried these? They’re great because they’re individual compartments that you can zip up and contain your clothes (think of it as a drawer for your suitcase). This way, when you open your suitcase, you can make sure your nicely rolled clothes won’t be bundled in a disorganized mess.

You can organize the cubes by clothing type, outfit, or day. The latter two are especially handy if you’re going to multiple places on your trip. There are different sizes of packing cubes so pick one (or many!) that will work for you. When my assistant travels with her husband and young kids, she uses one packing cube for each family member.

And, if you have bulky items like a down coat, you can use a compression bag to maintain the integrity of the item while creating extra space in your bag. Make sure you check the weight of your suitcase though — too many compressed items can add up to be a heavy bag.

I also use compression bags for my laundry. It keeps it separate from my clean clothes, and then I don’t have to re-roll dirty items.

2. Roll Your Clothes

There’s a debate among travelers — is it more efficient to fold or roll your clothing in a suitcase? I’m team “roll” all the way! I’ve been doing this for years and it’s really helped me to maximize my suitcase space.

If you haven’t tried rolling your clothes, give it a try and let me know how it goes.

3. Double-Duty Packing

Take the oddly shaped items and use them similar to a packing cube. Take your hat, shoes or extra purse and pack other items into them. Otherwise, you’ll just have that extra empty space in your bag. This will help to retain the shape of your shoes and hat so they don’t get too smooshed.

4. The Best Place to Pack Heavy Items

Make sure to pack your heaviest items on the bottom of the suitcase so it’s easier to wheel through the airport and at your destination. By distributing the weight appropriately, your suitcase will be much less likely to tip over while you’re grabbing a tea and croissant.

Wear your bulkiest and heaviest items on the airplane. You don’t want to waste space or weight by packing them, so do yourself a favor and put them on. This might be a pair of boots you’ll need or a thick coat.

5. The One Thing I Always Pack on Every Trip

You never know when you’ll need one. Maybe a pair of shoes got wet on an amazing hike to a waterfall and didn’t dry out before you’re headed home. Keeping a few plastic bags in your suitcase is never a bad idea. When I got stranded in Paris with Covid, I was so happy I had extra bags to pack some of my receipts and medical paperwork.



When You Return

You’re back from your trip and, though it’s good to be home, you can’t wait for your next adventure. While you’re unpacking refill your travel toiletries.

Check expiration dates and replace empty items so you’ll be ready to go on your next trip.

Check out the entire segment here. I want to know your best packing tips — leave a comment below.


BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.


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