I didn’t always travel this much, but between my semi-recent move to NY (with the bulk of my family still residing in L.A.), an unusual number of destination weddings, the occasional vacation or work trip and more, I’ve somehow managed to rack up quite the number of frequent flyer miles. While my sinuses may hate me for it, but there are some definite upsides to having taken that many flights in recent years—including but not limited to all the lessons I’ve learned in packing ever since.
From the best way to pack your clothes to the one major mistake I spent most of my life making to today’s topic, the best and worst things to pack in general, I’m always game to share my tips because, well, I guess it’s kind of my job. Just keep scrolling to read about the things you should never pack and, of course, shop what should make it into your suitcase instead.
One of the first changes I made when I started traveling more was to pack in outfits. I think it cut my items by almost half, but beyond reducing the number of things I’d bring on a trip, it also saved me from wasting time at my destination by eliminating the need to decide what to wear.
With the exception of special occasions such as a destination wedding, if a shoe only goes with one outfit in your suitcase, you should probably find an alternative. Instead pack footwear that works across multiple outfits, such as workout sneakers that you can also wear to sightsee, sandals that look good with both jeans and dresses or block heels that work for day or night. Additionally, leave anything uncomfortable behind because odds are you won’t end up wearing them.
I used to use all my extra luggage space for backup tops, pants, dresses and more that I didn’t actually have a use for but wanted to bring just in case. It usually caused me to leave my workout clothes or even proper pajamas behind in the name of space-saving. Every time I got to a hotel, I’d then get annoyed that I had no leggings and had to sleep in one of my regular tees. I’ve learned that it’s much more important to pack those things you actually will use.
The main reason for this one is that jeans are very heavy. You pack three or four pairs and suddenly you’re left wondering why your suitcase is overweight. Most times, you don’t even need all of them because at the end of the day the same pair can usually work with many outfits. As a denim junkie, I’ve finally started editing down the ones I pack and it saves so much space.
That full-sized dry shampoo and toothpaste tube may not look like much on their own, but when you end up packing four, five, or even more of those types of things, they start to take up a lot of space and also add up in weight. I finally invested in a travel size of almost all the products I use regularly and just leave them in my travel toiletry bag permanently so they’re ready to go when I need to pack.
That clutch that only goes with one night-out look or the beach bag that can’t really be used anywhere else are prime examples of impractical bags because they aren’t versatile. Instead pack bags that serve multiple purposes, such as a shoulder bag that works for day and night, or a tote that you can use on the flight but also at the beach.
Up next? Trust me—buy these 22 things.