As mentioned in last week’s post about the iGrill, Memorial Day—thus, summertime—is just about upon us. With the kids out of school and the climate luring us from beneath our down comforters and out our doors, summertime is peak season for a lot of people’s favorite pastimes: vacations!

Almost everyone has at least one (if not several) fond memories of vacations from childhood to present. My most memorable ones from my wee days were of road trips to southern California to visit family. I grew up an only child, so my cousins were the closest thing I had to siblings. We would hang blankets from the top bunk and force the youngest to go through our “haunted house.” We’d play with Barbie dolls or lip sync and dance to the VHS tape of Madonna’s Like A Virgin tour. In my adulthood, some favorite vacations include my backpacking through western Europe the summer after I graduated college, our honeymoon to Paris and Barcelona, and my two trips to Japan. If backpacking has taught me anything, it’s how to pack light and efficiently.

Nowadays, I travel so often for work that packing well has taken on new meaning. A couple of weeks ago, I made a 24-hour trip to Dallas for the Reading and Radio Resource Sushi, Sake, and Samurai event. As my title denotes, yes, I really did pack three pairs of shoes (and two outfits, pajamas, toiletries, not to mention the unmentionables) into one tiny Tumi tote.

I hate to overpack, especially now that I’m vision impaired: the less things I take along, the less things I’m likely to lose. And all the better if everything is tucked away neatly in its own space within manageably sized bags. Ever since traveling has become such a frequent part of my life, I’ve been a little obsessed with luggage. (The hubs would say “a lot obsessed.”) I’m always on the lookout for suitcase sales (just bought a set of carry-on roller and check-in suitcase at Costco for $150); weekend, overnight, and tote bags with lots of pockets to stash snacks, zippers to contain contents, and made of light material; and smaller bags to put within bigger bags that can hold toiletries, cosmetics, shoes, underwear, dirty laundry, etc.

But how do I get all of these things into one bag or suitcase? Apparently, I’m also the collector of efficient packing methods. My latest thing is to use the bundle wrap method, which utilizes space most efficiently while incurring the least wrinkles to your clothing. This One Bag website is a great place to start if you plan to travel this summer and want to know how to make the most of your packing technique. There’s just something satisfying about being able to fit everything you need into manageable luggage. It’s like you’ve conquered the duffel dilemma.

Read this article from One Bag about how to pack efficiently using the bundle wrapping method, and streamline your next vacation prep.

What are some of your favorite vacation memories? Where do you plan to go this summer? How do you pack? Are you like me who is all about organization, or like my hubs who throws everything into a bag and is done with it? Do you strategize your different outfits to make sure you can mix and match the tops, bottoms, and shoes you plan to bring along (me)? Or do you pack so quickly, you often forget a belt and end up tugging at your belt loops all the time (him)? Have you applied bundle wrapping? What are some good tips for efficient packing? I admit I could still learn a lot about efficient packing, plus I’m about to do four back-to-back trips that will take me to varying climates, so any advice on packing or just general travel tips would be helpful.

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14 Discussion to this post

  1. Christine, when I travel, I always throw a couple of plastic grocery bags in my suitcase for dirty shoes or anything else that needs dirt containment. When I get to the hotel, I hang all my clothes. If anything is wrinkled, I hang it in the bathroom so that when I shower, it gets the benefit of steam so I don't have to iron it. I just shake it a few times on the hanger while it's steamy and the wrinkles just fall out. I bought myself a roller backpack as a carry on so that if I have to pick it up and carry it, I can just sling it on my back and go hands free. This is important because of my balance and vision (No depth perception on stairs when the edges aren't painted) when I am going up and down stairs. I need my hands free to use the rails.

    • Christine Ha says:

      Good tips. 🙂 I also unpack upon arrival to my hotel room, hanging clothes in the closet and folding other items in the dresser. I used to just live out of my luggage, but it's more easily accessible and organized (and thus, less stressful) if I have all my things laid out. It also helps to make the hotel room feel more like home, and that's important if I'm constantly on the go.

    • Hanging the clothes in the bathroom is a better idea because it really works and your cloth wrinkle shall fade away. And as far as i think you can not take all of the important things with you. I always shall forgot some important things left at home.

  2. TLEE says:

    random tips:
    1. sometimes i roll my clothes up to save space instead of folding them
    2. if you are bringing a floppy hat, stuff the head part with underwear or swim suit and lay it at the bottom of the suitcase so the hat doesn't lose it's shape
    3. stuff socks into shoes or boots so they don't lose their shape

    • Christine Ha says:

      I used to do the roll method, but the bundle method is supposed to be more efficient. That One Bag website discusses this. Good points about the stuffing socks in shoes, etc.

  3. @JeffD503 says:

    You are the master packer.

    Usually, when it comes to travel, I don't handle clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc. I just handle packing the things I need to help pass the time. But I imagine I would be like you, since I'm pretty organized, boarding on OCD, I think.

    We don't get to do much traveling anymore, so we haven't made any summer plans. When I was a kid, the place to be was always Disneyland. There were a lot of fond memories of those vacations, and one that wasn't so fond, but it was sure memorable. One year, we go for a six day vacation. Five out of those six days, it rained, and it rained, and it rained. At least there was no line for the water rides, although we couldn't get much wetter. Then day six, the day we had to leave, it was nice and sunny, the lines were packed, and the roller coaster we wanted to ride broke down. So, that was one of our more interesting vacations. For a change of pace, one year, we went down to Florida, and I got to pet a dolphin at Sea World. That was really fun, although some kid pushed my hand out of the way once. The dolphin got him back though. Those were two of my most memorable vacation experiences.

    • Christine Ha says:

      I have fond memories of Disneyland and Disneyworld, too. My favorite rides were the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. My least favorite was It's a Small World. Never understood the long lines for that one.

  4. Jason says:

    I do the roll method, but I roll all the like items together. I will have a T-shirt burrito, a jeans burrito, an underwear wad, and a sockpile. Then at the hotel I unroll each burrito on a convenient flat surface and the suitcase becomes the dirty clothes hamper. No packing when it's time to go home, just toss in the unused clothes and ditty bag, and head out. Of course, being a guy who has no qualms about doing laundry in a hotel room sink, I can travel indefinitely on four T-shirts, pairs of socks and underwear, two pairs of jeans, and one pair of boots.

    My duffel bag, bought in the mid '90s at a Target in Panama City, FL, has a nifty bottom compartment that zips open and is perfect for laptops and books and things. It was something like $40, and is the most durable suitcase I've ever used. I've long since lost the shoulder strap, but a cheap cotton belt that came with a pair of cargo shorts works perfectly.

    I remember driving to Florida in the late '80s before danger was invented. We had a cargo van with only two seats, so the third passenger rode in a folding lawn chair. Dad used to delight in braking hard so the chair-rider rocked forward, then accelerating hard to rock him backward. Timed right, you'd fall over backward and the chair would fold up around you like a taco.

    • Christine Ha says:

      Your comment made me chuckle, especially about the folding chair in the van. Funny how car safety was less of an issue back then. My husband said he and his brother used to play around on a mattress in the back of their dad's van on road trips.Your comment is full of Tex-Mex allusions.

      • Jason says:

        That's funny, I'm actually from Kansas City. I read back through the comment looking for the allusions, and yeah, there are a lot of references to Mexican food. What can I say, it's delicious. I guess the boots count, and maybe the van as well. Did I miss anything?

  5. Planning a vacation soon and will give the bundle wrap method a shot!

  6. sam says:

    Nice post

  7. Sara Smith says:

    If you have boot that is made up of leather it is easy to pack it efficiently as they are fold and adjust in any bag.

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