Try These 14 Travel Packing Tips and Avoid Overpacking!

A person sits on the floor next to an open suitcase, writing in a notebook. The room has a couch, stairs, and a kitchen area visible in the background.

If you struggle with overpacking on your trips then jump right in as in this guide you’ll find the best travel packing tips!

This post has lots of golden tricks that me and the whole team at Miss Tourist learned during our many, many years of traveling and packing so many bags for our holidays!

So scroll down and learn how to avoid overpacking, how to pack in a smart way and also why you should always consider packing the right items for your holiday.


1. Make a list of what you need before packing

Open suitcase packed with clothes and a travel checklist notebook. A hat and sunglasses are placed beside the suitcase on a wooden surface.

In my opinion, this is the most important thing to do before you start putting stuff in your luggage!

I would recommend doing it 1 or 2 weeks in advance, that way you’ll know if you need to buy anything or order something online.

By making the list and sticking to it, you’ll avoid shoving unnecessary items in your luggage just for the sake of it. Of course, then you can make slight changes and take things out.

When making the list make sure to consider these things:

  • Weather (you might need waterproof clothing, if it rains a lot or other things depending on the season and location)
  • Location (city, remote island, forest, etc)
  • How long you’ll stay (one of the decisive factors that will influence a big part of your packing process)
  • If you’re traveling solo or with a travel buddy (that way you can talk before, coordinate and each take something that you can share)
  • Baggage weight restrictions (double check your airline’s policy on this to see which is the minimum or maximum weight)
  • Intention of your trip (for example, try not to pack business clothes for a leisure trip or vice versa)

When it comes to making the list, you can write it somewhere if you prefer or just have it in the notes app of your phone, and while you pack your bags you can tick off the items.

2. Check the weight of your bag

A person is holding a yellow luggage scale, measuring the weight of a blue suitcase. The scale shows a reading, while the person stands in casual attire.

I’m sure we all hate the airport fees that we end up paying if our luggage has more weight than we initially paid for when we got the tickets.

That’s why I recommend getting a luggage scale at home and weighing your luggage when you know you’re done packing. By doing this you can check whether you can maybe add more stuff that you know you’ll need or take stuff out if the bag is way too heavy!

3. Pack by outfit

A person with long hair stands in front of an open closet, holding up two pink dresses. The closet is filled with various clothing items and a pink suitcase.

I think this works amazingly, especially when you’re traveling somewhere just for a few days or up to a week!

So, you can plan your outfits by days, at home, when packing your bags and that will prevent adding any unnecessary things that you won’t end up wearing. Definitely consider the shoes you’ll wear with each outfit and my advice is to find a pair or 2 that go with all the outfits.

PRO TIP: When I use this tactic, I always add 1 extra thing, like a t-shirt, blouse, or sweater (depending on the weather) just in case I spill something on my pre-planned outfit!

Another thing that you can do is create a travel capsule wardrobe! These are clothes that you can mix and match to create a variety of different outfits. This way you can look stylish while packing a lot less.

An example for 1 to 2 weeks of travel would be:

  • 5 to 7 tops (or more if they’re not too thick)
  • 4 to 6 bottoms (including shorts, skirts)
  • 2 to 3 dresses (depending on the location)
  • 2 to 3 pairs of shoes (like something elegant & something sporty to casual)
  • 1 bag or 2
  • Destination-specific items (swimsuits, scarves, beanies, hats, etc)

When buying your clothes for your travel capsule wardrobe, I’d recommend choosing neutral colors, that way you can mix and match them easily!

NOTE: You can double check if your accommodation has a washing machine, This is great if you’re staying for a longer period of time and also if you’re thinking of investing in a capsule wardrobe, because then you don’t have to pack so many things, as you can just wash them at your accommodation.

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4. Lay things out first

A woman sits on the floor next to a couch, packing a yellow suitcase with clothes, a neck pillow, and a hat. An inflatable ring is nearby.

I always do this and it really helps!

Before I start putting the clothes in the luggage, I lay them out on the couch or bed just so that I can find smart ways to fit them in the bag or create some outfits if you’re using the method I explained in section #3.

If you have your list then you can take them out of the closet as you’re reading the list, and check off each item, to make sure you didn’t forget anything!

By laying them out first you can easily see if you’re adding way too many things and also you can see if anything is missing!

5. Use the rolling method

Person organizing rolled clothes inside an open suitcase on a bed, with a camera and accessories nearby.

This has been a life-saver!

You might’ve heard of this and even used this method! If you haven’t then I highly recommend it!

I’ve used it a few times and honestly, I did save up space and my clothes didn’t get wrinkles! The way you do it is basically by rolling each item and getting it in a tube-shaped form.

This works especially well with T-shirts, blouses, jeans, skirts and with thicker clothes too but I think with sweaters and bulky clothes you can try both rolling and folding normally and see which one saves more space.

6. Wear the heaviest (& bulkiest) clothes on you

Person packing sweaters, gloves, and earmuffs into a suitcase on a wooden floor.

We’ve all been there, right? I know I have worn a couple of times my bulky sweater or jacket on me (sometimes even both) so that I can save some space in my luggage.

You can do a bit of layering too. This is super useful if you’re traveling somewhere cold and need both a jacket and a bulky sweater. I’d recommend wearing as much as you can (within reason). I often wear a blouse with a vest underneath. It might get a little hot but you can always take off the layers once you’re settled.

Also, make sure you wear your bulkiest shoes, those can take up a lot of unnecessary space in your suitcase and add weight. So rather save that space by putting them on your feet.

7. Leave room for holiday shopping

A person with curly hair, wearing a beige trench coat and blue jeans, smiles while holding a smartphone and carrying multiple shopping bags in a street with store windows.

Always consider this! If you’re planning to do some shopping while on holiday, definitely leave a bit of space.

Of course, we can’t always predict this but if you know yourself to be an avid shopper (like me) then I would consider leaving that extra sweater that you might not even wear at home!

8. Use packing cubes

An open suitcase contains blue packing cubes filled with folded clothes. The right side has four packing cubes, and the left side has zippered compartments. The suitcase has a yellow interior lining.

If you’re an organizational freak, you’re going to love using small packing cubes that usually range in different sizes from small to big!

Packing cubes are a great way to keep your bag tidy while on the road. Also, you can use them to categorize your items and know from the start where you’ve put each thing, so they’re not all chaotically laid around in your bag!

You can find your own way of categorizing or use the following method:

  • Small cube for underwear
  • Medium one for jeans, trousers, etc
  • Largest one for bulky clothes (sweaters, outwear, etc)

Again this can vary a lot and it depends on how many cubes you get. Maybe you want one for accessories, socks and other items that you may carry.

But these packing cubes are really amazing as they’ll prevent you from adding unnecessary stuff, as you’ll have everything put in the luggage by category. It also makes unpacking even easier! And you can always fold them up if you don’t need them coming back.

9. Put things in your carry-on bag

Flight attendant assists a passenger in storing her bag in the overhead compartment on an airplane, while other passengers are seated in the background.

This has always been such a life-saver for me!

The first thing you have to check is the luggage policy and see what type of carry-on bag you can take on board. Watch out for how big the bag can be and the maximum weight.

I put lots of stuff in my carry-on bag from books, sweaters, jewelry, sometimes even shoes if I need multiple pairs. Basically, anything that doesn’t fit in my big luggage.

If you have small 50-100ml bottles you can also add them to the carry-on bag (you just need to transfer them at security in the special bags), and that could also save some space in your big luggage.

10. Consider layering

A person wearing a beanie, scarf, and leather jacket stands on a country road holding a smartphone, with a backpack on their shoulder. The background features misty hills and green fields.

Layering is great for colder destinations or even when you’re traveling somewhere where the weather is unpredictable and one minute it rains and then it’s sunny.

What’s great about layering is that you can pack items that you can mix and match with layering. So for example, you can get a couple of T-shirts, blouses and 2 to 3 thicker sweaters, and then you can mix them, for the entire trip.

Also, you can use layering while you’re on the road and as I mentioned earlier, wear your bulkiest stuff on you (with something underneath), so that you can have more space.

11. Pack shoes that you can wear with multiple outfits

Open suitcase with neatly packed clothes, shoes, sunglasses, and a green passport on a tile floor next to a small table with magazines.

This is an absolute must for me when I’m traveling!

I think this is such a smart way to avoid packing multiple pairs of shoes that you might not even wear!

What I do is a mental rundown of what shoes I have, which types of clothes I’m mostly packing and find a pair that will sort of work with most of those outfits.

I typically have 2 pairs of shoes, maybe 3, but the 3rd one is always something like flip flops, sandals or some sort of flats that I can fit in my carry on bag. One I wear and the other ones I pack in my bags.

Don’t forget to clean your shoes. That way you won’t dirty your clothes and you can try putting stuff in the shoes, like small things that can fit!

12. Use vacuum bags

A person uses a vacuum cleaner to compress a green puffer jacket inside a clear vacuum storage bag on the floor.

If you’re packing bags for a long trip I think these vacuum bags can really help you!

I’ve used them a couple of times and they really helped me fit all the clothes I had (especially after an impromptu Europe shopping spree!). The only thing you have to be careful about is ensuring that you have a vacuum at accommodation, so you can pack them back when you’re leaving.

Another thing I’d recommend is, to maybe avoid putting clothes that are easily wrinkled in these bags. I would mostly put sweaters, jeans, and outerwear.

13. Add the essential clothes first

A person packs clothes into a suitcase on a bed, while a camera, small globe, hat, sunglasses, and a watch lie nearby.

As a rule of thumb, I first lay out my essentials from my closet! For me, these are things that I know 100% I’ll need on the trip!

Usually, this includes T-shirts, blouses, jeans that I can wear under jackets, or whatever item of outwear I own. I never go on a trip without these as I can use them pretty much anywhere!

Once I have a baseline, I start with the other categories like sweaters, shirts, dresses, etc.

14. Find the right packing formula for you

An open suitcase on a wooden floor contains neatly folded clothes, a pair of sneakers, a straw handbag with sunglasses, a wristwatch, and travel documents.

Although all the information I added in this post is super helpful, my advice is to use your discernment when applying these tips and only take what you feel resonates with you.

I think the best way to go about it, if you’re someone who overpacks or buys tons of things before a trip that you might end up not needing, is to develop your own packing formula!

You may not be a fan of packing by outfits, or bringing only clothes that don’t wrinkle. If so, you can set up some rules for yourself, write them out and have them in mind or in your phone when you start packing.

These will differ, depending on whether you’re traveling for business or leisure. But just be honest with yourself and think about comfort, especially if it’s leisure!

Final thoughts on travel packing tips

A person walks down a narrow cobblestone street with a blue suitcase, wearing a green jacket, jeans, tan boots, a brown backpack, and a beige hat. Stone buildings line both sides of the street.

I hope everyone enjoyed reading this guide on the best travel packing tips!

I’ve included lots of practical packing tips for travel in this post but as I mentioned, it’s important to use your discernment and see what works for you and what doesn’t!

If you have any other travel packing tips, definitely let us know in the comment section, I’d love to read all your tips too!

Have fun applying these tips and if you’ve got any other questions, I’m always around!

Happy exploring,


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