In a little over a month, I will be tasked with packing for three months in Europe. While the challenge is one I will gladly accept, it does come with its own set of problems. Whether you are packing for two weeks or two months, you have to evaluate what you are placing in your bag. Some items are known space hoarders, always cumbersome and greedy in the amount of room they demand. However, travelers need to prevent these items from taking over their suitcases. Here are a few common space hoarders and how you can make them shrivel up and give you more room in your bag.
Shoes: Shoes are one of the worst culprits for taking up an obscene amount of space in a bag. I have often thrown my hands in the air and just accepted that they will be space hoarders. However, your shoes don’t have to take up your whole suitcase. Travelers can begin packing their shoes by elimination. You will most likely need a good walking shoe and another shoe for nighttime. If you pack 10 pairs of shoes, there is virtually no way to combat this space hoarder. Also, travelers should consider foldable shoe options. For women, foldable flats can help you save space and also bring more shoes if you can’t seem to pare down.
Hair Dryers, Straighteners and Curling Irons: Hair appliances are incredibly cumbersome for the traveler. They can’t be folded into little pockets. They make for awkward shapes in one’s bag. And mostly, they are large and heavy. Travelers should first check in with their accommodations to see if they have a hair dryer in the room. You can often eliminate a hair dryer if you are staying at chain hotels that supply them. If your accommodations don’t have a hair dryer, you should pack a travel sized option instead to save space versus a normal sized hair dryer. With straighteners, there are loads of travel size options on the market, which can in turn act as a quick iron if you need it to as you travel. Travel sized curling irons are a bit trickier. They can be hard to use if you have long hair. Travelers should look for curling irons with removable barrels so that you can cut back on the length of your curling iron.
Toiletries: Once you add up all of the toiletries you will need for your trip, your bag might weigh a great deal more and also have very little wiggle room. One of the best ways to pare down your toiletries is by eliminating any big bottles. You should only pack what you will use. Liquids can be transferred into smaller travel sized bottles. If you just need a little moisturizer or shampoo, contact cases make for fine space saving containers. Also, you should try to pack solid forms of your toiletries such as a bar of soap instead of shower gel. Soaps will only shrink down as you travel, making your toiletry collection smaller and smaller with each use.
Bulky Clothing Items: Your jeans, that jacket or maybe even just your clothing in general can be lording over your suitcase. Rather than throwing all of your items into your bag loosely, the only way you will save on space is by using packing cubes. You should look for packing cubes that compress clothing. If you don’t have packing cubes, you can use larger plastic bags to at least compress your bulkier pieces down somewhat. And if your bag is completely stuffed, wearing that jacket and jeans on the plane can help with a lack of space.
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