To family and friends, I’m known as an extreme over packer. I’m the one you see toiling through the airport weighed down with bags; the perpetual victim of the “Better safe than sorry” philosophy.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve received so many great packing tips over the years.

Here are my top 5 tried, tested and true packing tips!

1)    Whether you’re travelling by bus, train or airplane, know your carrier’s baggage policy. While most airlines allow travellers to check at least one bag on international flights, others charge. Surprise fees can be a disheartening way to start a trip, so do your research! If you’re flying, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority is a great place to start.

2)    Before you start packing, and as far in advance as possible, create a list of things to pack. This should be based on your destination and the type of vacation you’re taking.  Going somewhere hot? You won’t need those three pairs of boots…more room for bathing suits and sunscreen.

Packing Tips
Create a list of things to pack.

3)    Roll your clothes military style. This may not seem intuitive, but rolling allows you to pack way more items. Plus it keeps clothes wrinkle-free, so you can step into something fresh the moment you land!

4)    Pack travel-sized things when you can! A travel towel is a major space-saver. I always pack my MicroFibre towel from MEC. It’s big, but compact and very fast drying, so you never have to put a damp towel into your bag. (Of course, I bring a beach towel too, but I’m trying to quit that habit!)  There’s rarely a reason to bring full-sized bottles of shampoo or conditioner. Squeeze products into travel-sized containers and you’ll save a lot of space.  You can buy these at most drug stores for fairly cheap.

5)    Pack all essentials in your carry on. Ever ended up stuck in an airport somewhere without your toothbrush or other essentials? Not fun! Make sure you bring essentials in your carry on so you have them handy should you or your bag get lost in transit. Pack mini versions of your favorite cosmetics in re-sealable plastic bags. But remember, all containers of over 100 ml have to be placed in checked luggage. Check out these tips for how to pack your liquids aerosols and gels.

Now that your bag is significantly lighter, you’re ready to take off. And hopefully this time, you’ll arrive at your destination without looking like you’ve just run a marathon.

Have packing tips of your own? Please share them with us!

For more on packing, read: 5 Things To Pack For Any Trip

Happy travels,

Sarah

5 Essential Packing Tips from a Certified Over Packer

Jul 29 2013