Top 10 Travel Tips and Packing Hacks

Top 10 Travel Tips and Packing Hacks

How to Organize for a Stress-Free Summer Vacation

It’s summer, 2021 —we’re wearing a striped shirt, a red scarf, and a beret set at a jaunty angle. We’ve got a baguette, a bottle of wine, and a big smile on our face as we stroll along the Seine with a handsome Frenchman we met in a café. Shh —don’t wake us up!

Sigh. That’s right, we’re dreaming. Of Paris. Or the beach. Or anywhere that isn’t here: in the same house, in the same city we’ve been locked down and cooped up in since the pandemic put a pin in our travel plans.

empty beach with ocean waves coming in below a blue sky with light clouds

But things are looking up: popular travel destinations at home and abroad are opening for business. 57 percent of leisure travelers plan to resume their jet-setting ways in 2021. An informal mDesign office poll has Japan as the #1 dream vacation destination, with the Maldives and Prague close behind.

Travel experts predict most of us will vacation domestically, opting to see the U.S.A. in our Chevrolets rather than navigate different countries’ Covid-19 protocols. They also expect an uptick in outdoorsy destinations that allow for social distancing, like the beach or the mountains. And while many of us will book flights, we’ll also journey by car and RV (road trip!).

With more than half of Americans defining themselves as “vacation deprived,” our collective wanderlust isn’t likely to abate any time soon. So, go ahead, decide on your dream getaway, dust off your TSA-approved carry-on, and check out these top 10 packing tips guaranteed to take the hassle out of your next trip.

Tip #1: Make a List

Even if you’re a frequent traveler with an excellent memory, travel packing comes with plenty of opportunities to forget something you need. Start writing your list a week in advance and add to it every time you think of something new. Or try a packing app, like Easy Pack, which comes with your own personal assistant, or The Vane, which helps you pack for the weather where you’re going.

Tip #2: Grab a Reusable Water Bottle

Water is a traveler’s best friend. It relieves jet lag and counters the dehydrating effects of being in a controlled climate (like an airplane or car) for extended periods of time. And because the bottle’s reusable, you’ll save money and the environment. When you’re not travelling, storage is a breeze with mDesign’s Plastic Water Bottle Holder Storage / Organizer Rack.

Tip #3: Use Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are the travel gods’ gift to humankind. We were skeptical, too, and then we tried them. Best. Packing. Hack. Ever. Our minds were blown by how easy they make organizing our suitcase and protecting our clothes from wrinkles.

We like mDesign’s Travel Storage Cubes with Contrasting Zipper for durability and size selection. Rolling clothes instead of folding them is also a great space saver.

Multiple gray and teal mesh travel storage cubes containing clothing placed in an open suitcase

Tip #4: Keep It Fresh

Ever tossed your running shoes into your luggage only to arrive at your destination and discover all your clothes smell like feet? (Good, we’re not the only ones with our hands up.) First of all, shoes are bulky, so wear a pair and pack a spare in mDesign’s Fabric Travel Shoe Bag Organizer. It protects your clothes from shoes’ dirt and grime and has a convenient pouch for socks.

And the hack of all travel hacks? Slip a dryer sheet in your suitcase; it’ll absorb odors and keep your clothes smelling fresh as a mountain stream. Or a field of lavender. Or whatever your favorite dryer sheets smell like.

gray travel packing storage cube with tan booties shoes open on white bed comforter with blue suitcase in background

Tip #5: Fix a Mini First Aid Kit

Let’s face it, migraines and tummy aches never take a vacation. You don’t need to bring your whole medicine cabinet; just grab a small organizer. Toss in essentials like adhesive bandages, ibuprofen, antacids, antihistamines, motion sickness pills, and cough drops.

Tip #6: Put a Bag in your Bag

No one goes on vacation to do laundry. That means you’re going to have dirty clothes —clothes you need to keep away from your fancy cruise/beach/club wear. A mesh laundry bag, like mDesign’s Mesh Laundry Wash Bag, lets you separate clean and dirty clothes and doubles as a wash bag for your delicates when you’re back home.

open orange suitcase on wooden floor containing clothing and white mesh laundry travel packing bag

Tip #7: Pack a Snack

Back in the 50s, airline food meant white tablecloths, fine china, and gourmet beef and chicken dishes. Nowadays, you pull out your credit card for a pack of pretzels. And road trip options are more fast food than fine dining.

Don’t travel hangry —fill an Insulated Travel Lunch Bag with healthy, yummy snacks to save money. And if you’re travelling with kids (see Tip #10), a bag of snacks goes a long way toward putting the kibosh on meltdowns.

gray fabric lunchbox bag on tabletop surround by food and silverware

Tip #8: Bring the Beauty

It never fails —you’re on vacation, getting ready for a night of dinner and dancing. You reach for your makeup bag only to find your blush and eye shadow have been pulverized into powder.

Try the travel hack professional make-up artists use: place a cotton ball in your compact. It’ll absorb shock and keep your make-up in one piece. For extra protection, use a padded cosmetic bag, like mDesign’s 4 Compartment Travel Toiletry and Cosmetic Bag.

Bonus Beauty Tip: Thread your necklaces through a straw. It stops tangling and you save space when you toss the straws in your make-up bag.

Bonus Bonus Beauty Tip: Pack a silicone pouch for flat irons and curling wands. The pouch’s silicone is heat resistant, so you won’t have to wait for styling tools to cool down before tossing them in your bag.

hand placing hot hair styling tool within light gray silicone pouch into burgundy purple overnight travel bag

Tip #9: Don’t Overpack

You say you won’t. You swear you won’t. You’ve even made a list (see Tip #1)! Despite the best intentions, 62% of Americans admit to overpacking their suitcases.

Travel blogs estimate we wear an average of two outfits a day on vacation. Lay all your vacation clothes out before the final pack —and leave half of what you’ve laid out at home. That’s right, HALF. Choose outfits that can go from day to night and neutrals you can accent with color.

Don’t forget, you can shop where you’re going. Leave room for vacation swag like one-of-a-kind finds and “My aunt went to the Grand Canyon and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” t-shirts.

Tip #10: Kids!

Don’t forget the kids when you go on vacation (hey —what a great idea for a movie!). Get ready for the question vacationing parents dread — “Are we therrrrre yet?” One study calculated kids asked that question a whopping nine times on a weeklong family vacation! The number went up to thirteen times for parents of children under six.

That’s motivation to keep kids healthy, hydrated, and happy on the way to your destination. You’ve already got first aid kit (Tip #5), water (Tip #2), and snacks (Tip #7), now all you need is a backseat organizer to keep kids entertained. Good ones hold everything from tablets and e-readers, to coloring books and crayons.

Two young siblings riding in the back of a car holding a ukulele

Well, what are you waiting for? Time to book that trip and take a much-needed vacation while you travel like a pro. Bon Voyage! (Now where’s that French guy…)

Listical of top 10 travel tips and packing hacks

Lisa Langford is a Senior Copywriter at mDesign

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Posted: May 25, 2021