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Vacation-time is clearly the best time of the year. But there is one constant struggle each traveler has to deal with: what should you bring and what can you leave at home?

Most importantly, does everything you need even fit into your suitcase?!

Regardless of whether you’re cramming a few outfits into a weekender bag, or packing everything + the kitchen sink into a suitcase, the following are 4 useful and creative tricks to making everything fit.

Packing Problems: 4 Useful Tips For Making Everything Fit

#1 Check Your Luggage Requirements

Bag Suitcase luggage RF

First things first, it’s important to check your luggage requirements before you start packing. Aka, how many suitcases are you allowed to bring?

If you’re having trouble with overpacking, and all of the best advice in the world has failed you, the simplest solution might be to travel with a second bag. Or to pack a larger one.

Each airline has slightly different requirements when it comes to the number of bags you’re allowed to travel with, and the weight limits, and methods of transport like trains, buses, and cruising might be even less. So this information is the most important first step.

You’ll want to read up on what you’re allowed to have in your carry-on bag, and what you’re not, as a redistribution of items from your checked luggage to your carry-on can often be an answer to freeing up space.

#2 Create a Focused Packing List

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This tip seems to be pretty basic, but people regularly overshoot the mark when it comes to how many clothes to bring on a four-day-trip. And it’s because they don’t have a packing list.

To avoid the unwanted extra pounds, check what you actually need before packing. Count the days and then put together several outfits. Ideally, you also make use of wearable combinations such as trousers, a matching shirt, a sweater and a jacket.

With a focused packing list, you will be much better equipped for being able to pack only what you need, and it’s highly likely that without the non essentials, everything will probably fit!

Things to consider

  • Cosmetic products: If you need extra space, an option here is to transfer shampoo, lotion, etc. in just the amount you need to a smaller container. Drugstores also sell smaller bottles of shampoo or lotion especially for travels. Or you can just buy them at your destination.
  • Drugs: Of course, if you’re reliant on medications such as insulin you should definitely bring them. But when travelling to Western countries, it’s usually not so important to pack a whole hospital worth of pills. Usually, you can easily buy them.
  • Electronical devices: Hairdryer, chargers, camera. All these things take up space. You’ll want your camera and your chargers, but hairdryers are found in almost every hotel. Maybe you can even ditch the camera and stick with your phone. If you’re traveling as a group, talk to each other and coordinate your electronics so you’re not taking double.

#3 Roll, Don’t Fold

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This is essential. Roll your clothes up. You’ll fit far more stuff in your little suitcase if it’s rolled up.

Roll up pants and put them in your shoes, roll up socks and stuff them down the side. Roll up breakables in your t-shirts and tie belts around your bulkier items (hoodies, hello) to make them even smaller.

Your new favorite swimwear finds its place rolled up in a T-Shirt, while your pair of jeans is protecting your cosmetics pouch. Another possibility is to put several clothes into a resealable plastic bag and close it after releasing all the air in it.

It’s your version of vacuum packing.

Also, put your socks into the shoes and use all pockets of your suitcase to use each inch efficiently.

#4 Only Bring The Shoes You Need

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Do you really need more than one pair of heels or sandals?

The answer is probably no. Which is why I recommend selecting your shoes before your outfits – a gold pump is perfect for a rehearsal dinner but all wrong for a conference.

Shoes can take up the most room in your suitcase, so try limiting them and planning your outfits around them. Or try opting for a pair of wear-with-anything flats such as Birkenstocks or greek sandals that will work with everything.

Wear your heaviest and bulkiest pair of shoes for your travel days, that way you’ll have more space in your luggage – if you ever bump into me on a plane it’ll always look like I’m about to head out hiking!


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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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