Pack smarter - 15 tips for perfect packing!

How do you manage to get your luggage to your final destination without having to pick socks on the luggage belt or open your bag to a minor shampoo disaster all over your holiday wardrobe? Here are my best tricks for packing smarter and getting your things from A to B, with the least possible irritation!

1. Pack full

Take a bag with a size suitable for the pack, a half-empty bag is more likely to be crushed and broken during transport and the contents can more easily fly around the bag and break. If the bag is half empty – pack some more clothes or change the bag.

2. Turn white clothes inside out

Shoes often get mixed up with clothes in your bag and if you – like me – like to carry white clothes with you, it might pay to turn them inside out in the bag. Rather a stain on the inside of the trousers, or in the front of the crotch!

3. Don't pack in separate bags

It is very rare that ALL checked bags go missing during a flight, so be sure to spread the risks and divide your luggage between all the bags of the traveling party! I pack at least one dress, one bathing suit, one pair of sandals, one top and one pair of shorts – in every bag! This way we survive until the bags are back in place.

4. Use resealable plastic bags

Do you have very small items that can easily get lost in a large suitcase? Pack the small items in resealable plastic bags, where you keep things together with roughly the same purpose. For example, sewing accessories or jewellery. Try to keep order and put things back in the bag when you've used them!

5. Put plastic film or tape on the shampoo bottle

In addition to putting shampoo and sunscreen in plastic bags, also make sure to stop any leakage before it happens. A good tip is to unscrew the cork and put gladpack over the hole and then turn the cork again. Another tip is to simply tape the cork. Either way, make sure you have gladpack/tape with you for the journey home as well.

6. Roll or fold?

There are equal pros and cons to both methods, but I often find myself folding clothes when I leave home and rolling them on the way home. A shirt that is clean and freshly ironed is not so nice after being rolled, but on the way home it still has to be washed, so then it doesn't matter if it is rolled. For some inexplicable reason, you often have more clothes with you on the way home.

7. Pack shoes in shower caps

In hotels there are often shower caps - pretty much useless for the vast majority of us - but all the better for covering the soles of shoes in luggage.

8. Plastic straps/cable ties

Can be used for everything from closing bags that don't have locks to fixing things that are broken. You need a cable tie! Don't forget to keep a small pair of scissors somewhere so you can cut the cable tie if you use it to close a bag - preferably not packed in the same bag.

9. Make your bag unique

I still have nightmares about when I'm on the escalator towards the baggage carousel in Bangalore and I see a man take my bag from the carousel and start walking towards the exit. Running like a wildebeest took on a new meaning. When I confronted him, he disappeared faster than his wits... I believe in man and think that this mistake must be because my bag looked like all the other black Samsonite bags. So these days I travel with bags that have pink bows, "don't touch" luggage tags and colored ribbons. If someone mistakes my bag now - then it's on purpose!

10. Plastic bags, tape and bubble wrap

I have the ability to often buy olive oil, wine and spices with me for the journey home, which from a leakage perspective can be a challenge. I usually put them in a bag with some bubble wrap and tape it around before I pack it among the clothes in the bag. Tape can also be used around the bag itself if you pack so full that the bag almost bursts. Sometimes happens if you buy too much olive oil, wine and spices...

By the way, a larger plastic bag is the savior in times of need when the swimwear hasn't had time to dry before the journey home.

11. Bring a compact backpack

I always carry a small collapsible backpack which is perfect for a day trip. Costs almost nothing to buy and is so much nicer to carry than a plastic bag.

12. Pack socks in the hat

How many have ever bought a large sun hat for glamorous beach days, only to find the hat stuffed in their luggage on the way to their destination? Pack hats, caps and shoes full of (clean) socks so they keep their shape in the bag.

13. Pack wrinkle-free clothes in the same color scheme

I know, you want to bring that floral red top that goes perfectly with those white jeans, but does the top match the rest of your pack? Don't pack a top that doesn't match the bottoms and vice versa. Also, don't pack anything that requires ironing. That item of clothing will probably not be used during the trip.

14. Pack heavy things in the bottom of the bag

Make sure not to spread out heavy items, but pack the heaviest items in the same end of the bag as the wheels are located. The bag becomes more stable and does not tip as easily.

15. Use packing bags/packing cubes

I never travel anywhere without my packing bags/packing cubes. Underwear in one duffel bag, electronics in a duffel, medicine and sunscreen in one duffel bag and tops in another. By packing in packing bags and packing cubes, the clothes take up less space and it is much easier to find what you need without tearing everything in the bag open.

Also bring an empty packing bag for the dirty laundry on the way home!

What are your best tips for a perfect pack? Tell!


  1. Good tips! Packs almost exactly this way, except for the thing about putting plastic film on the shampoo. I usually pack things like that in triple plastic bags, but this was a very good tip. Will be tested next trip! I pack shoes in the big Ziploc bags I bring with me (or packing bags for shoes I bought at Biltema) and I've never had with cable ties, but now I understand that I have to add it to my packing list in the future. :-)

  2. If you are going to travel a few more days, so that you expect to have to wash in a washing machine during the trip, then it is a big point to stick to a washing scale, so that you can run everything in the same machine. Or possibly two machines. For example, please avoid red, yellow and white, which do not go well with anything other than these colors (unless you consistently have a completely red set of clothes, of course, but that is a bit unusual). We usually move in the blue-green-black-beige spectrum, it usually works for the whole family.

  3. I pack much like you, although I always roll. I use a big backpack because we always go by train 👍. Small backpack on the stomach, good for valuables, tickets, wallet and for excursions.
    Tips to bring: small shoe horn, needle and thread (black and white) safety pins, small thermos for coffee, you can fill it up here and there 👍
    Have a nice trip 🚂


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Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 60 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel site Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.

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