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6 tips for packing like a boss

Ever found yourself desperately stuffing your bag with a random set of clothes a few hours before dashing off to the airport? How about spending weeks packing and pondering which pair of shoes you’ll be able to wear with those jeans shorts?

Yes, packing can be frustrating and make you pull your hair out or break out in a sweat – especially if you have to do it often – but it doesn’t have to be that way. I asked some of EF’s most experienced travelers for their best packing tips and put together a list of six that will take your packing to the next level; before you know it, you’ll be packing like a boss!

1. Tom: Carry on and keep it light

Pack the night before regardless of the time you’re flying out, and more importantly, Keep. It. Light. Make the whole process easier by picking outfits and pieces of clothing you’re wearing a lot at the time instead of rummaging through your entire wardrobe. Forgot something? No stress – remember that most things can be re-bought at your destination (and as a little bonus you’ll be taking a brand new winter coat/hat/pair of awesome boots home with you!)

2. Narae: Roll, roll and then roll some more

Try to travel with a small suitcase with wheels only, and remember to roll your clothes instead of folding. It actually saves a lot of space and helps you avoid wrinkles. (Just check out how packing pros do it.) For little bits and pieces like jewelry and toothbrushes, use disposable plastic gloves for storage: it keeps everything separate, organized and clean.

3. Lena: Shower like a local

To pack lighter and get through security faster with your carry-on, leave the big shampoo bottles and lotions at home; if the hotel doesn’t provide them (or your friend isn’t willing to share), pop down to the local pharmacy or supermarket to stock up. And for a touch of travel glamour (for the ladies): never leave without your favorite lipstick in tow.

4. Madeleine: It’s all in the prep

Prepare carefully so you’ll only carry what you’ll definitely wear. Start off by identifying your essentials; mine are: running shoes, swim wear, sun glasses, and a book. Then move on to outfits that will cover the things you’ll do during your trip, and identify how much overlap there is between the items (can that skirt be used with two tops? If not, ditch it.) Spend a few days re-evaluating everything and fighting the temptation to stuff that bag with impulsive items you KNOW you won’t wear (this can be tough, especially if your bag looks half empty!)

5. Kaisa: Always have a back-up

Although it’s better to travel with carry-on only, if you do need to pack a larger bag or suitcase, always bring along an emergency change of clothes in your carry-on – great for those times where you’re stuck in your destination for a day or two without your bag (you don’t wanna be the guy wearing the same set of undies for a 4th day in a row, now do you?) Extra tip: save those cloth bags you get when buying new shoes or bags and use them to pack smaller items like socks, underwear or swimsuits. Don’t forget to bring one extra bag for dirty laundry!

6. Katya: From staples to heels

Always start with the staples and make sure you have the basics covered: bring your passport, cards (debit and credit), phone & phone charger, headphones (you need your life soundtrack, people!), gum, tissues, band-aids, make-up and pain killers, and then move on to essentials like your favorite pair of heels – you never know which meeting, party or occasion you’ll get “dragged” into!

Image by Helga Weber, Flickr / Creative Commons

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