There’s always room for improvement when it comes to packing. Every time I leave for a trip I always think I’ve packed so well and every time I return I always more ways to improve. To get you started on your pre-check packing, here are 101 of my favorite packing tips.

MONEY/DOCUMENTS

1. Always bring USD/cash on hand with you as backup
2. Keep money and credit cards split up between bags so if one is lost you still have funds
3. Hide extra cash rolled up in an empty chapstick tube
4. Store a photocopy of your passport in your second bag
5. If you are nervous about pickpockets, use a money belt for your passport, an extra credit card and cash
6. Save a copy of your credit card contact info and passport on Dropbox or in your email so you have access from anywhere
7. Bring a wallet with a coin pocket or a coin purse for international trips
8. Use a passport wallet that’s tall enough for boarding pass so it doesn’t get bent or lost
9. Carry extra passport size photos and single dollar cash with you for borders and visas
10. Take photos of reservation documents instead of carrying physical ones to save space and take screenshots of email confirmations in case there is no internet at your destination

CARRY ON

11. Use a zippered tote or backpack so it doesn’t spill out in security or going under the seat in front of you
12. Bring a backpack cover in case it rains
13. Don’t forget to luggage tag/label your small carry-on as well as your large bag
14. Keep your day purse packed inside your larger carry-on so you can grab and go when you arrive and don’t have to rearrange items
15. Pack a set of clothes (or just extra underwear) in your carry-on in case your large bag gets lost
16. Use pouches so there is nothing loose in your tote or backpack
17. Pack wet wipes just in case
18. Use flat tissue packs instead of traditional rectangular ones.
19. Pack your toothbrush in your carry on if you are on a long flight

PLANE

20. Pack snacks for the plane that remind you of home
21. Bring a reusable water bottle that you can refill after security or that you can refill with large jugs of water if you can’t drink tap water at your destination so you’re not buying lots of small bottles
22. Bring an eye mask and earplugs
23. Use a blow up neck pillow instead of a stuffed one to save space
24. Buy digital magazines for your iPad instead of physical ones
25. Bring a pen to fill out landing cards
26. Pack a pashmina to use as a blanket on the plane
27. Bring face mist and chapstick for the dry plane air
28. Bring your own headphones for the movies (and if you have AirPods make sure you bring a pair with a cord you can plug in)
29. Bring cozy socks for the plane so you can take off your shoes

SUITCASE

30. Use a packing list so you’re not worried about forgetting something
31. Choose the right suitcase for your kind of trip
32. Use a hard shell case if you are worried about wetness/rain
33. Pack carry-on to save time in baggage claim and prevent lost bags
34. Add a ribbon or tag with a color that stands out at baggage claim
35. Save room in your suitcase for shopping and souvenirs
36. Or pack an extra minimal duffle bag
37. Keep a garbage bag in your suitcase in case something breaks or spills
38. Use a business card in your luggage tag
39. Add a luggage tracking bag tag like this one
40. Add locks to all your suitcases
41. If you are extra worried, plastic wrap your checked bag at the airport but don’t check any valuables
42. Weigh your bag beforehand if its close to the weight limit so you don’t have to rearrange or remove items at the flight desk

CLOTHING

43. Don’t pack your coat, use the coat keeper on the outside of your bag to save space
44. Pack dress clothing in tissue paper
45. Pack outfits by day in labeled large ziplock bags
46. Pack a clutch that doubles as a wallet or as a pouch for other items
47. Roll your clothes to save space and prevent wrinkles
48. Pack with neutrals so you can mix and match
49. Pack anti-wrinkle clothing
50. Use packing cubes to organize your clothing by type
51. Use ziplock bags to contain clothes with odor/wetness
52. Use dryer sheets and perfume samples to keep your clothing fresh
53. Pack a separate bag for dirty laundry
54. Or try the clean/dirty two-sided packing cubes
55. Fold dirty laundry so your bag doesn’t get stuffed
56. Use free hotel shower caps to cover your shoes
57. Or invest in shoe cover bags
58. Store extra socks in your shoes
59. Pack hats in the center of your suitcase with soft items stuffed inside the head and then wrapped around the outside
60. Pack detergent packets so you can hand wash items so you need fewer (especially good for underwear)

ACCESSORIES

61. String necklaces through straws to keep them untangled
62. Keep stud earrings together with buttons
63. Use pill boxes to organize jewelry
64. Use a toothbrush holder to hold makeup brushes

TOILETRIES/BEAUTY

65. Use contact cases to hold small dollops of beauty products
66. Ask for free product samples from Sephora in store
67. Use a potholder as a hot iron case
68. Put cotton in your solid makeup cases to prevent breaking
69. Place saran wrap under the caps of toiletries so they don’t leak
70. Use solid perfumes so nothing can break
71. Buy a quart size permanent hard plastic bag for your liquids
72. Use pill bags instead of hard plastic pill bottles
73. Use a toothbrush head cover instead of a case to save space
74. Use an exfoliating glove instead of a loufa that dries and packs faster
75. Create a separate medicine pouch and don’t carry full size doses
76. Use smaller than travel size bottles, just because you are allowed 3.4oz/100ml of a liquid doesn’t mean you need that much
77. Try shampoo/soap sheets if you are tight on toiletry liquid space
78. Try 2 in 1 products like shampoo/conditioner and soaps
79. Refill travel toothpaste tubes with your full size (end to end the caps are the same size to transfer between)
80. Use empty prescription bottles for liquids or q-tips
81. Pack your liquids quart bag at the top of your suitcase for easy access to remove at security
82. Use daily disposable contacts do you don’t have to carry contact solution
83. Use a comb or travel size hairbrush instead of a full size one to save space

TECH

84. Backup all your devices before you go
85. Clear your phone memory space so you don’t spend time deleting old photos
86. Start with fresh camera memory cards
87. Use rubber bands around each memory card to indicate which ones are new and used
88. Choose an all in one adapter instead of individual country ones
89. Use a double USB wall charger so you can charge multiple devices at once
90. Carry a small portable charger if you will be out all day without an outlet for your phone
91. Consolidate cords and buy shorter versions to save space
92. Store your cords and tech accessories in a zippered pouch altogether
93. Or store cords inside sunglass cases
94. Use cord tacos to keep cords untangled
95. Bring a Kindle instead of a book or travel guide

GENERAL

96. Pack a deck of cards just in case
97. Collect addresses before you go to send postcards
98. Use a ziplock bag to keep your phone dry at the beach
99. You can never have too many extra ziplock bags, sandwich, quart and liter size
100. Pack a dry bag that fits inside your day bag if you will be on a boat or getting wet

And last but not least as the saying goes:

101. “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money” – Susan Heller

SEE MORE: Packing Archives

101 Packing Tips - Look at the World Around You

SEE ALL: Travel Tips Archive