Essential Packing Tips For Crossing Country (Or Any) Travel

We all have baggage ...

This Barrie 360 content is brought to you by Canadian Tire

You’ve booked your tickets, planned the trip, and all that’s left is to pack the bags. If you’re like me, packing hasn’t always been your strong suit. I am still far from perfect, but I have picked up a lot of packing tips from my years of travel mistakes.

So whether you’re getting it done a week in advance or throwing it all together an hour before you leave … here are some need-to-know packing tips to make life a little easier.

1. Make A List (Maybe Even 2)

Get some paper and a pen and write out everything you will need for your trip!

Google is your friend for this one. Use it to search for the best things to pack for whatever type of trip you’re taking. Write it all out, adding a checkbox to the side of each item so you can go through everything when you need to.

If you’re the forgetful type, make a copy of your packing list so you can go through it again when you pack to go home. It’s a great way to make sure you haven’t forgotten a thing!

2. Stick Dryer Sheets In Your Bag

You may smell like an angel, but your used clothes, worn shoes, and wet towels sure won’t after spending a few days in your suitcase!

Keep things smelling fresh by putting a dryer sheet in between the layers of your bag and inside your shoes.

Pro Tip: Transfer this hack to your everyday life by sticking a couple in your gym bag.

3. Put The Heavy Stuff On The Bottom

Keep things from getting broken or misplaced by putting your heaviest items at the bottom of a suitcase, and saving the top for the lighter things.

The exception to the rule is with traveller backpacks.

How To Pack A Traveller Backpack

Proper weight distribution is key if you’re carrying a traveller backpack. It may even be the difference between keeping your balance and falling if you stumble (I’ll explain this in just a second).

When packing your backpack, the bottom will have medium-weight items, and the top to have light items that you need regular access to such as snacks, first aid, rain covers, etc.

The middle of the bag is divided into two. The half closest to your back will have the heaviest items. This will help stabilize your center of gravity and stop your bag from pulling you down if you lose your balance. The half that’s facing away will have your lightest items like towels and lightweight clothes.

4. Wrap It Up

Any item that you’re worried may break or get scratched should be protected. But don’t waste space bringing anything you wouldn’t have already packed.

Small items like perfume bottles and portable cameras can be held in thick socks, while larger items like tablets can be wrapped in sweaters. If your socks are small and thin, double up for some extra protection.

5. Get Rollin’

Rolling your clothes is one of the best ways to prevent wrinkles. It’s also much more space efficient than folding!

Apart from collared shirts and creased pants, fold your clothes in half and roll them into a nice little yule log shape. If you are prone to overpacking or want to be extra organized, use an elastic to bundle outfits together.

Dividing everything like this will make sure you know exactly how many outfits you have packed. And makes it easier to get ready on the go!

6. Prep For Plan B

Regardless of how you’ll be travelling, be prepared in case your luggage gets lost.

Put a few extra toiletries in a carry-on bag so you don’t have to go a day without feeling clean. You’ll also want an extra outfit or two (or at the very least some spare underwear.) If you’re going somewhere warm, don’t forget a bathing suit! Chances are you won’t want to wait to jump in, but you also won’t want to soak your only outfit!

These packing tips are even more important if you travel by train. It’s not uncommon to spend days without access to your main bag as you travel between destinations.

7. Wrap Up Your Shoes

The last time I used my old running shoes was for a hike in the woods, and I was dreading having to clean them up before packing them with my white shirts.

So instead I took the lazy way out and wrapped them up in a grocery bag! Now I always make sure to have a couple of basic drawstring bags in my suitcase to store my shoes and other dirty items.

In a pinch, a plastic bag or even a shower cap works to keep the dirt and smell away from your clean clothes underneath.

8. Don’t Overpack

No one wants to be the person falling behind because their bag is too heavy to pull or carry. But even worse is having to walk away from the perfect souvenir because you don’t have enough room for it or spending half your pocket money on extra baggage fees.

So take a bit of time and pack light.

Save space by getting miniature versions of all your toiletries. If you do plan on buying souvenirs, make sure you have space for them before you even leave your house. Otherwise, you may want to pack less or get a bigger bag. You may even want to skip packing that extra shirt or backup hat if you know you’re going to buy one when you arrive at your destination.

These travel packing tips are just the start. Some may work for you … and others may not. That’s okay! There are tons of great packing hacks out there for every kind of traveller. So find the ones you love and add them to your arsenal for your next great adventure!

RELATED: Check out more Crossing Canada content …