Master the Art of Packing: Genius Packing Hacks for Stress-Free Travel

Traveling is often a double-edged sword—meaning it’s both an incredible, fulfilling experience, as well as a major stresspoint. After all, you have the excitement of new cultures, food, and people, while also dealing with the headache of packing, flying, and checking off a long list of to-dos.

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Among this list, packing ranks as one of the worst parts of travel for most people. 

How do you know what to take? What’s the right number of bags to bring? How do you maximize efficiency and minimize the money you spend on checked luggage?

For this and more, read on to learn all the packing tips and tricks you need to save space, organize your luggage, and transform the packing process into a stress-free and efficient part of your travel experience. 

First Up, Deciding What to Pack

The best time to save on packing space is before you even start packing. Ask yourself some questions before you begin. If you’re taking a checked bag with you, what is the maximum weight limit for the airline you’re flying? How easy is it to maneuver a big suitcase where you’re going?

Generally speaking, you want to minimize the amount of luggage you’ll have to babysit during your trip, and you don’t want to bog yourself down with a cumbersome, large, heavy suitcase.

When you’re choosing what to pack, think about what’s essential versus simple wants. Reuse clothing items in multiple outfits. Think about every item’s worth once more before sealing it away in its bag. Will you really need it? Asking yourself this simple question a few times throughout the packing process can save you more space than you realize.

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Experiment With these Travel Packing Hacks

Spending a little extra time figuring out how to fit your clothes and travel sundries into your suitcase is well worth it. Once you have an idea of what works best, you can easily copy that formula any time you pack in the future. Take a look at our favorite packing hacks below:

Folding vs Rolling Clothes

As you’re packing for your trip, you’ll have to ask yourself the age-old question: should you roll or fold your clothes? Surprisingly, the method may not matter.1

Anecdotal evidence from the traveling community seems to say that the pros and cons of both packing methods even out, so you should go with what works best for you. Some even roll and fold—it all depends on what comes easiest to you and what suits your bags and travel items best.

Use Packing Cubes

Compression packing cubes can help you keep your items organized and sorted with ease. On top of that, it’s easy to push the air out of compression packing cubes, saving you space where it matters.

Bring a Laundry Bag for Dirty Clothes

An often overlooked travel hack is to bring a small laundry bag for the dirty laundry  you accumulate as you travel. Using something as simple as a small plastic bag, keep your clean clothes and dirty clothes separate while saving on luggage space. Not only does a small plastic bag confine the smells and potential mess, but it also compresses easily, allowing you to optimize the space within your suitcase.

Maximize Suitcase Space

Use every inch of spare suitcase space you have. A good tip is to use the “matryoshka doll” technique with your items: i.e., pack one thing inside of another. For example, you can roll your socks up and stick them inside of your shoes, saving a little more space for other sundries.

Carry-on vs. Checked Luggage

Everyone has their own opinions on how to divide items up between carry-on bags vs. checked bags.2 Generally speaking, you’ll want to keep  flying essentials near you and in your carry-on. This can include:

  • Electronics like headphones, laptops, tablets, and phones
  • Important documents, such as your ID, passport, boarding pass and wallet
  • Delicate items or anything particularly valuable, like jewelry or sentimental items
  • Medications, conveniently organized in a pill container
  • A small toiletry bag 
  • Water and snacks
  • Items to help you sleep, like a neck pillow
  • Items to keep you entertained, like books or portable gaming devices

You’ll also want to bring chargers for your electronics so you’re never without power. It’s best practice to prepare an international travel checklist for longer trips so that nothing falls through the cracks. And if you have a SIM card for international travel, keep them with you. An eSIM card, like the ones you can purchase through Maya Mobile, can also help—you can skip having to carry a tiny card with you and download it directly to your phone. 

The chance of your checked bag getting lost is pretty low, but you still want to pack as though it could get lost. Never pack anything you can’t stand to lose in your checked bag.

As for your checked luggage, what should your packing list be?

  • The clothes you’ll be wearing during the trip
  • Extra shoes packed in a space-saving shoe bag
  • Non-essential toiletries
  • Makeup and accessories
  • Any bulky item you’re bringing that wouldn’t fit in a carry-on

And of course, you have to abide by the TSA’s prohibited items list.3 There are some items that you can only pack in your checked luggage and not your carry-on bags, including liquid or gel food items over 3.4 oz, corkscrews with blade attachments, and self-defense sprays.

Check with your airline before flying to see what specific items they allow for checked versus carry-on bags, and what items are completely prohibited.

Start Your Trip on the Right Foot

When you don’t have to worry about the stress of packing, you’re already setting the tone for a great vacation. Instead of scrambling at the last minute or creating inefficient, bulky suitcases to lug around, focus on a few key tips for securing efficient, well-organized bags.

Know what your travel essentials are and how to pack them in a light carry-on. Keep the bulk to a minimum by only packing what you need. Maximize the amount of space you can use in a bag or suitcase by understanding innovative packing techniques.

With this, you can save space, pack more, and not have to worry about your bag being over the weight limits. 

And with Maya Mobile, you’ll never spend time and energy fretting over travel again. Start off every vacation on the right foot with a downloadable eSIM card from Maya Mobile that makes you mobile from the moment you touch down at your destination. No extra packing required.


  1. Travel+Leisure. How to Pack a Suitcase Like an Expert.
  2. The Belle Voyage. What To Pack In Carry On Vs Checked Bags.
  3. Transport Security Administration. What Can I Bring?