How to pack like an expert

These packing tips from expert travelers will help you lighten your load on your next trip!

Kate Mulcrone

By Kate Mulcrone

a packed suitcase with a few items to add

Have you ever found yourself sitting on your suitcase just to get it to close? What about tossing out items at the airport to avoid excess baggage fees? These exhausting scenarios are all too common, especially during holiday travel season. Luckily there are ways to avoid overpacking and save time while you’re at it.

Of course, part of the magic of choosing a flexible rental apartment from Blueground is that you don’t need to find a way to get your furniture, kitchenware, and appliances to your new city.

All of our furnished apartments are equipped with everything you need to show up and start living.

You only need to pack your clothes and personal items — which means you can skip the moving van altogether.

Whether you’re about to relocate or just gearing up for holiday travel, these tips from experts on how to pack will help you lighten your load.

a packed suitcase

Start with a packing list

Tempting as it may be to turn on some music and start tossing things into your suitcase, hold off. A packing list not only keeps you from forgetting to pack key items, but it also helps you make sure you have all of your belongings when it’s time to return home. You could make a pen and paper list, but an electronic one is better since it can’t be damaged or lost.

You can use the notes app on your phone or a third-party app like Evernote or Google Keep.

If you’re a frequent traveler, you may want to save a “master” packing list that you consult whenever you’re about to jet off somewhere.

Some road warriors even keep several different packing lists that relate to weather conditions or the purpose of a trip.

Invest in a luggage scale

Airline baggage fees are no joke! If your suitcase is even a pound or two over the limit you could find yourself forking over real money. The only surefire way to avoid overweight luggage fees is to weigh your packed bags yourself. You could heft your suitcase onto your bathroom scale, but a portable luggage scale is a much more elegant solution.

Keep essentials in your carry-on bag

Some people can pack for several weeks in a suitcase that’s small enough to fit in an overhead compartment.

But if that’s not your style, we understand! Checking a bag lets you bring more than just the essentials, you just need to remember to keep the most important items in your cabin luggage.

Never put jewelry, prescription medications, or other items that are valuable and tricky to replace in your checked bags.

It’s also a good idea to keep your toothbrush and a pair of clean underwear in your carry-on bag in case the airline misdirects your bag.

Try rolling clothes to avoid wrinkles

Military veterans are familiar with this packing technique, but it hasn’t quite caught on with the general population in terms of how to pack. Instead of folding and stacking clothes in your suitcase, you can roll them together to keep fabrics smooth.

Good Housekeeping outlines this foolproof method: “Lay tops facedown, fold in the sleeves and roll from the bottom up. For pants, put the legs together and roll from the waist down.

So once you’ve rolled everything, place pants and tops in your suitcase before shoes and accessories; then, fit in other oddly shaped items like hair tools.”

Use packing cubes to stay organized

If you’re packing for a long trip or will be changing locations more than once, packing cubes are an affordable way to keep everything neat.

They also save space, thanks to compression technology.

a man packing his clothes into a yellow suitcase before taking a trip. Next to the open suitcase, there is a white phone, a black notebook, a pair of glasses and a laptop.

Keep your boots (or heaviest shoes) on your feet

If you’re heading to a cold climate or going hiking, wear your boots on the plane instead of packing them. Boots and bulky shoes can take up more space in your suitcase than you realize.

They’re also quite heavy, and could end up pushing your checked baggage into the overweight category.

If you don’t want to wear bulky boots for a long flight, pack a pair of slippers into your carry-on and stow your boots under your seat after takeoff.

Bring laundry gear so you can pack even less

If you’re going on a long trip, doing laundry halfway through basically doubles your wardrobe.

If you’re staying in a hotel, you may be able to arrange to have your laundry done for you — but it will be expensive. It’s much more cost effective to do laundry yourself at a laundromat.

All you need to do is pack some laundry detergent cubes, fabric softener sheets, and a laundry bag.

Are you ready for your next getaway? We hope that these tips on how to pack will ease your mind as well as lighten your load. Blueground wants our guests to rest easy knowing they have a home away from home — whether it’s for a month or two or years.

Our stylish furnished apartments in 20 cities let our guests indulge their inner explorers without giving up the comforts of the familiar.

Find out more about the Blueground experience.

Kate Mulcrone

Kate Mulcrone

Kate Mulcrone has more than 10 years’ experience writing about travel, tech, and the workplace for a variety of publications.