6 Packing Mistakes to Avoid

Jon Fesmire | Nov 08, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

When you’re preparing to move, one of the most important things to do is pack a suitcase of essentials—especially if your move is taking you to another state or even another country. You’d think that would be easy, but it’s all too easy to make mistakes while packing that can cause headaches later.

Not Making Make a Plan

Before you start packing, write down what you think you’ll need on your trip. We’ll get into more detail in this article, but by taking that extra time to plan what to bring, you’ll reduce your mistakes right from the start.

Packing Too Much

Perhaps the easiest, and most common, mistake is over-packing your suitcases. The thing is, when you start packing without a plan, it’s easy to think that you need more on your trip than you actually do.

Here’s what we suggest bringing:

  • Three shirts

  • Two pairs of pants

  • One skirt or dress if you’re a woman

  • Three pairs of socks

  • Two pairs of shoes

  • Three sets of underwear

  • Bathing suit for warm weather or jacket and other warm items for cold weather

  • Toothbrush/toothpaste

  • Travel shampoo and soap

  • Medications

  • Book and other entertainment

  • Tablet or laptop

If you do laundry every few days on your trip, the above list will be just about everything you need.

There are several problems with packing too much in a suitcase. First, if you’re flying, it might be over the weight limit, and you’ll have to pay extra. Another is that you’ll be hauling around more weight than you have to. Why tire yourself out just to carry around items you’re not going to need?

Forgetting The Rules of Liquids

You know how when flying in an airplane, your ears will pop at high altitudes, and how they’ll adjust again when you land? That’s due to pressurization, and it can change rapidly during flight. Our bodies know how to adjust to it, but it can cause a big problem with containers of liquids.

First, remember that you can’t bring large amounts of liquids onto a plane. Those belong in your check-in suitcase, not your carry-on. (You can bring liquid items under 3.4 ounces in your carry-on, but make sure they’re each in a one-quart plastic bag.)

In your suitcase, keep your shampoo and other liquids in a separate section from your clothes, and put each into a separate plastic bag with a zip top. You can also place each in a plastic grocery bag and tie it tight, but those are more prone to leaks.

Ignoring the Weather

Wherever you live, you’re used to one type of weather. What’s it like where you’re heading? Are you driving, taking a train, or flying? Basically, you need to consider the weather anywhere you’re going to be during your trip, and while you should pack light in terms of clothes, you should also pack the sorts of clothing you’ll need.

Of course, if you live in a hot area and are going somewhere cold, you may not have much in terms of jackets. Your area might not even have good cold-weather attire. Consider ordering what you need online in advance of your trip.

Not Rolling Your Clothes

We’re all used to folding our clothes when at home. Did you know that when packing a suitcase, you can fit more inside by rolling them? This goes for almost everything from pants to shirts to underwear. Rolling keeps the cloth tighter and allows you to fit more, which may even allow you to use a smaller suitcase.

Forgetting Souvenirs

If you’re planning a long distance move where you’ll be taking some touristy diversions along the way, don’t forget to leave a little extra room in your suitcase for souvenirs! You’ll probably want to purchase a t-shirt or two, plus maybe some art or a coffee mug.

With your bags packed right, you’ll be ready for a great trip. Have fun!