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It’s no secret I’m not the best at packing. But over time I’ve learned from some of my mistakes and now I make better packing decisions. This newfound wisdom did not happen overnight though. I have countless stress-inducing moments at airline counters praying under my breath that there’d be no overweight fee and several chiropractic mishaps that involved the marginal misalignment of my spine while trying to haul my suitcase up a flight of stairs to thank. What can I say? I’ve grown.

But because we’re friends, and because I care about your back and your wallet, I want you to learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to make them. Hence, this article. My labor of love for you.

Here are 6 simple tips to help you avoid overpacking for your next trip. You can save the overweight baggage charges and the chiropractor fees and buy me dinner when we meet to express your gratitude *wink*.

1. Make a list

Sounds simple enough, and if you’re an obsessive Type A personality like me some people I know you probably planned to do this anyway. But here’s the thing. It should be detailed. Use categories to make sure you’re not leaving anything off like clothes, travel documents, hygiene, beauty, first aid, electronics, etc

2. Pack versatile pieces

This should go without saying, except I know better, so I know I have to say it. If that leopard print skinny pants can’t go with anything other than that one white tank top it needs to stay home. When it comes to packing light, only the pieces that can play nicely with others get to go on the trip. No exceptions.

3. Choose the right luggage

You know those suitcases that weigh 10 pounds when they’re empty? Leave them at home. Those are for moving by land and should absolutely never be allowed to make it on a plane. That’s already a fifth of your weight allotment and you haven’t even packed your favorite shoes yet. It’s ridiculous. And no, I don’t care if they’re Gucci, knock off or otherwise (and I promise you neither will JetBlue).

4. Take less than you think you need

Stop the eye-rolling because this is a serious one. I know you’ll be tempted to pack six swimsuit options for your 2-day trip – because, choices – or those four extra tops in case there’s an accident, emergency or change of plans but believe me when I tell you – you most definitely will not need it. We never need half the clothes we take on trips anyway. So do yourself a favor and keep the excess to a minimum.

5. Bring your outerwear on the plane

This one is super handy if you’re traveling during wintertime or to a colder climate in general. NEVER pack your jacket and outerwear in your suitcase! It’s a waste of valuable real estate. Wear it all on the plane since they can’t charge you for what you wear onboard. Besides, there’s the added benefit of having it closeby when you land so you don’t have to rummage through a suitcase to get warm.

6. Go travel size for personal care products

Leave the 32oz bottle of lotion at home. The same goes for your full-sized hair and personal care products. They take up space and they’re heavy. More importantly? You don’t need that much. Opt for travel-size containers and save space for more important things like clothes and shoes.


What other useful packing tips do you think should be on this list? Which rules do you swear by? Feel free to let me know in the comments.

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