Packing doesn’t always have to mean scrambling for your passport and other last–minute necessities an hour before your flight, or blindly throwing clothes into your open suitcase during the week leading up to your trip. While it may be your least favorite part about leaving for break, it’s also the most important. You don’t want to arrive at your destination and realize you’ve forgotten underwear and extra contact lenses. If you’re the type of person who often finds yourself rifling through your bag in a panic, swearing you packed that swimsuit/charger/umbrella, these packing tips are for you!
1. Lay your suitcase out flat as well as the outfit you’ll be wearing on the day of travel. Take out a separate carry–on to contain valuables and travel necessities.
2. Count the number of days of your trip! Then count out that many pairs of socks and underwear. Depending on the climate of your destination, bring enough “base” outfits, like a shirt and pants combo or a dress, that you can then layer on top of if necessary.
3. Tightly roll your clothes. But for shirts you don’t want wrinkled, fold them, and lay them on top of everything once you’re done packing all of your other items.
4. Next: shoes and outerwear. You need less of these, but depending on where you’re going, they can be super important. Wear your heaviest jacket and bulkiest set of shoes on the plane if going somewhere cold. Don’t forget sandals and possibly athletic shoes on top of your everyday sneakers if traveling somewhere tropical. Put shoes in plastic bags so that grime doesn’t get all over your clothes, and place them at the bottom of your suitcase.
5. Toss your beauty products and other toiletries into Ziplocs or similar airtight containers. Squeeze the air out of them so they don’t take up too much space.
6. Extra clothes: from swimsuits to night–out clothes to scarves, don’t forget these important accessories. Oftentimes, these (as well as your socks and underwear) can fit into the small gaps in your suitcase, so wait till the end to pack them.
7. Grab other things you’ll need, like your phone/laptop chargers, your wallet and keys, any medication, a book for the plane, and fill your carry–on bag with them.
8. Finally, if you tend to be forgetful, it never hurts to write out a packing list! Check your destination’s weather forecast for the duration of your trip to make sure you have everything you need.