If you’re anything like me, your packing process usually goes something like this: 20 minutes spent running around, throwing a bunch of unnecessary items in your bag, and, of course, leaving a bunch of necessary items to be bought later. Traveling is stressful enough, so you might as well spend some time before the trip minimizing the problems that may arise once you reach your destination.
1. Kill your darlings.
Make a list of everything you could possibly need and check items off as you go along. But not so fast—before you put anything in your suitcase, spend some time editing down. Remove items that you aren’t 100% sure you’ll need. If you’re going on a week-long trip, do you really need more than one pair of jeans? Why bring going-out tops when your grey cami works just as well from day to night? These thoughts won’t occur to you if you toss things into your suitcase as you go.
2. Keep a toiletry bag just for travel.
Pack your toiletry bag once and never fret over it ever again. You never know what you might forget. If you never unpack your toiletry bag, you’ll never have to spend time struggling to determine what you may or may not have left out. Plus, you’ll have the time to curate a collection of TSA-savvy items, like this solid facial cleanser.
3. Get to know your new best friend: the packing cube.
There’s nothing more annoying than having to dump out your entire suitcase because you can’t find something. Packing cubes are a cheap way to make sure everything is compact and easily accessible. Even if you’re searching for something buried at the bottom of your bag, you won’t need to spend more than thirty seconds repacking. Amazon is a great place to find packing cube sets.
4. Don’t keep valuables in checked bags.
It seems obvious enough, but you might not have thought of this on your own. Checked bags notoriously get lost, and who knows what happens to them once you put them on that mysterious conveyor belt? Play it safe and take them with you.
5. Consider the bundle technique.
If you’re only traveling for a week or so and you’re going to find yourself pressed for time once you arrive, consider planning your outfits beforehand. Start with intimates, like underwear, then wrap each outer layer around what you already have, then secure each outfit-roll with a rubber band. Rolling up your clothes saves space and not having to think about what you’re going to wear saves time, so you can make the most of your travel experience.
Danielle, originally from New York, studies History and Literature. Outside of Let’s Go, Danielle DJs for WHRB Harvard Radio’s Record Hospital and writes about music and films for The Harvard Crimson. Her favorite color is iridescent, her favorite milkshake flavor is strawberry malt, and her favorite art form is the coming-of-age high school dramedy. Talk to her if you’re curious to see how far someone can stretch a joke that never really made sense in the first place.