Compression Tips for the Effective and Efficient Traveler


Packing is stressful sometimes. Between worrying about forgetting something, not having enough room, and being disorganized, packing is one of life’s most frustrating experiences and can take the fun out of taking a vacation.

These space-saving packing hacks ensure you make room for essentials and then some. You may even have souvenir space to spare! Don’t fret about your upcoming trip. Focus on how to pack efficiently, and you won’t have any problems.

Roll Your Clothes

People who have experience packing for months at a time agree that the most efficient way to pack your clothes is to roll them. Rolling your clothes tightly saves space over folding them, and they won’t get wrinkles from fold creases.

This comes in handy when packing a carry-on, packing for long trips, or packing for multiple people. Camping packs and camping compression bags also help save space.

Make a List

Procrastination is a recipe for disaster. If you wait until the last minute to pack, you’re bound to forget something. Making a list combats this by ensuring you know exactly what you need, even if you haven’t packed it yet.

Start early and craft your list to make sure it’s complete. As you think of new things you might need, add them to the list. Before packing, review the list to check for duplicates or to identify ways in which you may be able to save space.

Know the Rules

Does the airline you’re flying have any baggage fees? You may want to find out. A lot of airlines charge quite a bit of money to check bags, so for the budget minded individual, knowing this upfront can eliminate a source of stress.

You can make an educated decision ahead of time about how many bags you want to check, if any. That way, you don’t have to add to your stress at the airport making a spontaneous, unexpected decision.

Even if the airline doesn’t charge a checked bag fee, there may be other restrictions, like weight. This is where knowing the rules ahead of time makes for an easier, more seamless experience on the day of travel.

The 3-1-1 Rule

The 3-1-1 rule states that any carry on liquids or gels must be in a 3.4-ounce bottle or smaller, inside of a single, clear, quart-size bag with a zip-top. Anything larger may be confiscated. It also helps to understand what constitutes a liquid or a gel.

For instance, peanut butter is a gel. However, liquid prescription medication is exempt as long as it’s clearly marked. Restricted substances will also be confiscated, so familiarize yourself with the regulations beforehand.

It’s easier to abide by this rule if you stay in a hotel that provides certain toiletries, eliminating the need for you to pack things like shampoo, conditioner, soap, or lotion.

One Personal Item

Using your personal item wisely also comes in handy when attempting to save space. Standard practice is to allow one carry on and one personal item, meaning you can maximize space in your checked bag by using one of these two things to pack things you’re allowed to carry on.

You can leverage your personal allowance by bringing a large purse instead of a small one. You may also choose to bring a larger tote or diaper bag if you’re traveling with a child, to give yourself extra storage space.

Wash and Wear

You may consider staying in a place where you can wash your clothes on the road. You won’t need to pack as much if you can wear all of the clothes you bring twice, or perhaps more. There are plenty of options for free laundry facilities, like AIRBNB.

Many extended stay hotels also have laundry facilities, although they may not be free. Hotels and cruises also provide laundry services. If these options aren’t available, consider washing your clothes in the sink and hanging them to dry.

Also come up with some items you can wear in layers, giving you multiple looks with the same essential pieces. You’ll feel fresh, even though you’ve worn it already.

Dual-Purpose or Throw-Away

As you make your packing list, attempt to pick things that serve two or more purposes. Pants that zip off into shorts, jackets that turn into travel pillows, or anything you can wear more than once conserves space.

You may also want to consider bringing things you can throw away as you use them, freeing up space for your return home. Especially if you enjoy purchasing souvenirs, consider bringing disposable toothbrushes, old clothes you were thinking about giving to Goodwill, or samples of things like makeup that you know will only last for as long as you’re gone.

Packing Aids

You may enlist the help of things like camping compression bags. Even if you’re not camping, they help shrivel your clothes into vacuum-sealed bundles, taking up minimal space in your suitcase. Packing envelopes and packing cubes will do the same. There are infinite options.

Use all of these space-saving tips, or a combination of them to suit your travel needs. There’s no need to stress about packing. Experiment to find which techniques work for you or tailor your packing system to your destination or the type of vacation you’re taking. Happy travels!