How (And What) To Pack for Travel

What and How to Pack for your RTW

Updated November 15, 2016

The gap-year student, the seniors on a month-long escape and the family with kids on vacation, each and every type of traveler has a system for packing and will undoubtedly give you their opinion on how to pack for travel, if you just ask.

Our advice is to take packing advice (even ours) with a grain of salt. Everyone’s needs, traveling style and favorite luggage to cart around the world are different.

You can fit what you need into almost any bag if you follow the following instructions:

  • Roll your clothing to conserve space. Bonus: it’ll keep you clothes as wrinkle-free as they can be on the road, which is not really that wrinkle-free.
  • Pack a travel-size wrinkle remover for more formal occasions.
  • Don’t take more than two pairs of shoes.
  • Don’t take less than 4 pairs of underwear.
  • Don’t take more than one jacket and make it something lightweight and waterproof.
  • Pack at most one formal outfit.
  • Don’t pack a regular towel–buy a travel towel instead (they’re smaller and dry faster).
  • Use quart-size plastic bags to organize your stuff and pack a few extra.

If you need a few visual aids to help you get everything into your bag, this slideshow from the New York Times has pictures of how flight attendant and travel blogger Heather Poole packs 10 days of clothes and toiletries into one carry-on roller bag.

Here’s my wife Katie packing her things in a suitcase for a three-week trip. The rolling method really works, check it out.

how to pack for travel
If you’re the type that likes a packing checklist you can create one with the Universal Packing List, here. Just plug in info about where you’re going and who’s coming along, and it’ll spit out a list.

Finally, Travel Independent has a huge huge list of what to and not to bring with you. (FYI, this link may be all you need.)

Photo Credits: inewsfoto